First Time Tire Buyer? It Is Easier Than You Think

Just because someone owns a car it does not mean they know anything about them. It is intimidating for an owner to consider repairing a vehicle when their knowledge is basically restricted to operating the vehicle and adding fuel. Purchasing tires may seem overwhelming because there are so many brands, sizes and types available. Luckily, it is not as difficult as it seems and there are ways to ensure that the right tire is found for the right price. 

Get Your Own

Avoid taking it to a garage and allowing them to choose and install the tires.  A garage is usually not the most affordable resource for purchasing the tires and they do not always offer the greatest selection. Instead, look for a tire store. Some of these shops even do the mounting and balancing at a discounted rate along with the sale. Using one of these specialty shops will help to save money on the best quality tire available for each specific model. 

Know the Size

Determining the correct size the vehicle needs is very important for price comparisons. The size is found on the outer edge of the tire and using this as a guide is acceptable for a newer vehicle. However, it is not uncommon for older vehicles purchased directly from an individual to have a slightly inaccurate size. Some sellers do this when they need an inexpensive but road worthy tire on the vehicle for the sale. For the most accurate sizing information look on the inside edge of the driver side door. Manufacturers apply a label in this location that states the manufacturing date, the vehicle weight and tire size along with other important information. It will typically say something like P 225/65 R16 91S. All of this information is important. 

Understanding the Number

It is not necessary to know what the number means but it is not a bad idea for drivers to be familiar with the formula. The "P" basically means it is designed for passenger vehicles. Trucks that are made to haul heavy loads may have an "LT" instead. The next set of numbers is the width and the height ratios of the tire. The "R" means it is a radial tire and it relates to its interior construction. This is what the majority of all tires in the country are today. The next number is the rim size of the vehicle. The additional letter/number combination at the end is the load and speed ratings. 

Choosing the Type

Take the advice of the tire shop staff when it comes to brands that are best. Certain name brands are better at producing a specific type of tire and it is difficult for the average consumer to research them all. Instead, know the type that is preferred. Touring tires generally provide the smoothest ride. All-season tires are good for drivers that want adequate traction all year and do not need the added gripping power of winter tires. If winter tires are a necessity it is possible to purchase summer tires that offer excellent traction in rainy conditions but are not as reliable in the snow. Be ready to answer questions about how the vehicle is used. The may want to know about highway versus city driving, if the vehicle is used for towing, common weather conditions and hilly or other difficult terrains the vehicle is used on regularly. All of these are valid questions that help people to get the best tire possible. 

It is always best to purchase a full set of tires from the tire store and even consider adding a fifth in order to have a full-size spare. This will provide the most comfortable ride and the greatest amount of traction. Having the vehicles balanced and rotated twice a year will ensure the tires wear evenly and will help to extend the life of the tires.