Know Your Options
Knowing how to buy tires is an important skill to have. The first thing you want to know is what types of tires are available to you and the specific advantages each type can provide. Here is a quick breakdown of the common types:
All Season:All-season tires are the kind that most drivers have, and that your vehicle likely came with. They’re designed to perform adequately in any type of road conditions. However, these are all-encompassing designs that aren’t meant to deliver exceptional performance in either extreme. Meaning, if the road conditions you face swing drastically from one extreme to another, you may want to consider having a specialty set for each season.
Snow or Mud Tires:
These tires have a soft tread compound to ensure good grip on road surfaces, whatever the conditions may be. Mud and off road tires feature chunky tread patterns, while snow tires will often have metal studs in the tread. While they function wonderfully on hazardous roads, the soft tread is easily eaten away on normal hot roads and shouldn’t be used out of season (unless, for some reason, you are keen on replacing your tires annually).
High Performance Tires:Also called summer tires, these tires are made of a softer, rubber compound that offers better traction control. Unlike snow or mud tires, the tread on these tires is much shallower, allowing for increased road contact for greater speed. High performance tires are also what you typically want on a sports car.
Buy a Complete Set
Part of buying tires is knowing whether or not you should replace all four tires at once, or if it’s okay to replace just one. If you only have one or two tires going bald, it’s recommended to always at least replace them as a pair, and you want them to be on the same axle. It’s important to remember that your vehicle’s suspension system is designed to work with a matching set of tires. In order to achieve the highest degree of safety and predictable handling, it’s recommended that you change all four at once.
Consult Your Owner’s Manual
- Armed with this new information, head to your vehicle owner’s manual. Inside, you can find your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation on what tires to buy for your specific vehicle. These recommendations are based upon:
- Load capacity
When you know how to buy tires, you know that a good set is your vehicle’s best friend. While you might find that a high-quality set of tires means spending a little more up-front, it saves you more in the long run in terms of fuel efficiency, vehicle performance, accident prevention and avoiding pre-mature deterioration.