Best Tire Buying Guide – 2021


Tires are one of the most important parts of a vehicle. They provide traction and make driving possible. Buying tires can be confusing, but it is not difficult to do when you know what to look for and how to avoid scams. Here is a handy guide that will take the mystery out of shopping for new tires!

What is a good tire and what does it do for my car

A good tire improves your vehicle’s safety, comfort and performance. It helps the car grip the road by providing traction and it ensures that your car moves forward smoothly. A good tire also offers a quiet ride and reduces fuel consumption as well as greenhouse gas emissions. The average person does not know how to tell if his tires are in good condition. A visual inspection of the tire will not tell you if your tires are in top condition. However, a visual inspection can help you identify some of the most obvious problems and this is important because it allows you to avoid buying used or fake tires. An experienced wheel repair technician can do more than just examine your tires. He can actually test them to help you determine whether they are capable of handling the wear and tear that your vehicle will be subjected to from everyday use.

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How do I know if my tires need to be replaced?

If your tires have become scuffed, cracked or deformed in any way, this means that they have been overused and it is time for them to be replaced. Looking at the tread on your tires is a good way to tell if it is time for a new one or not. The tread should completely cover the entire visible part of your tire, without any large gaps showing through between it and the rubber material beneath. At least 2/32″ (1 mm) of tread should remain before you need to replace the tire.

When should I get new tires?

The best time to buy replacement tires is before you really need them, which is usually when they begin to show stress and damage due to excessive use or very high mileage. Most experts recommend that you replace your tires whenever they reach 6/32″ (4 mm) of remaining tread. This is easy to do using a simple penny test. All you need is a quarter and any coin that has Lincoln’s head on the front, which means it’s at least 1982 or older! Flip both coins and look at the lower rim of each one. The top rim is where the two rims touch when they are in use on a tire. One rim should be slightly larger than the other because it is the top of Lincoln’s head.

The penny will show the same amount of remaining tread as your tires, and if you compare this measurement to one of your coins, you can keep an easy tally on how much tread you have left each time it rains. When the tread on your tires is down to approximately 2/32″ (1 mm) you need new ones.

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What about depth?

Tires are measured by their original thickness, but they have actually become thinner over time due to wear and tear from driving. A tire that was originally 8/32″ (5 mm) thick is now down to approximately 6/32″ (4 mm) after driving on it for some time. Some tires are even thinner than this! Tire depth is important because when your car hits a bump while you are driving, your body will absorb some of the shock and vibration that comes from hitting the road. The tire’s thickness should be able to absorb some of the impact and keep your body in place. When the tire’s thickness is too low, this will not happen as well.

How do I buy new tires?

The best way to buy replacement tires for your vehicle is by finding an online retailer that has a large selection to choose from. Make sure you are looking at tires with the same tread pattern, wheel size and speed rating as your current tires. It is also best to buy four of the exact same tire.

What should I look for when buying new tires?

Tires that are the right size, have a good brand and type (such as all-season or snow), and are rated for your vehicle are most important. Also, look for tires that have a speed rating of R (103 mph), S (112 mph) or T (118 mph). These will give you good gas mileage if your vehicle is not equipped with speed-sensing devices. You should never take the vehicle to an inspection station that does not have a speed rating posted on it.

The tire shop selling you the tires must be licensed and have a state certification label on it. Some states require an additional local license, so ask. If the seller does not have a state certificate, they are operating illegally and may be trying to scam you.

What is the most common tire scam?

The most commonly seen tire scam is over-inflation of tires. People often pump up their tires when they notice that they are low on air. This can cause trouble if it is not done properly. Overly inflated tires are usually the result of an illegal air compressor, which can cause tire damage and can be unsafe for your vehicle. If you notice that the tire pressure sent to you by a seller looks suspicious, be sure to investigate further by checking with your local inspection station before making a purchase.

Tips for buying tires :

One thing that makes buying tires difficult is the vast amount of information out there and the many retailers, salesmen and manufacturers claiming to have the best product. However, if you know what to look for, tire shopping can be simple. There are several things you should keep in mind when purchasing new tires:

-Always keep the tires on your vehicle inflated to the correct pressure for maximum efficiency.

-It is always best to use a tire that has been tested and approved by an independent agency like the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA).

-Be vigilant about finding any damages or defects in your new tires before you leave the dealership.

-There are some older vehicles not require airbags and will only have one set of bolts holding each wheel onto its hub at all four corners; these should be removed with a lug wrench, but if you do not possess this tool, contact a mechanic.

-If you have a question regarding the proper size or type of tire needed for your vehicle, check with an expert like a mechanic before purchasing tires.

-Check all prices and brands before buying tires to avoid getting ripped off. You should also compare warranties in case anything goes wrong after you purchase them.

-Always make sure that any used tires you buy are in good condition.

-Be certain to equip your vehicle with a jack and lug wrench in case of flats or other emergencies.

-To extend your tires’ lifespan, rotate them every 5,000 miles at a speed of around 20 mph for 10 minutes per tire on a level ground; never exceed 25 miles per hour during rotation.

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Tire Size

All tires have a size code, which is usually molded into the sidewall of the tire. This is known as the aspect ratio and should always begin with P followed by numbers and possibly letters (as in P215/60 R16). The second set of numbers is always in inches, so if you see a tire size written as 215/60R16, it is referring to a tire with an aspect ratio of 215 and a width of 60 inches.

P-Metric Tires are manufactured to standards set forth by the United States Department Of Transportation (DOT) and European Tyre and Rim Technical Organisation (ETRTO). They conform to those standards and are identical in size, regardless of manufacturer. Sizes begin with a letter to denote the wheel diameter, followed by three numbers which represent tire width in millimeters (for example 215 is 2150mm wide), an additional number for the tire aspect ratio (which is height to width ratio) and lastly another set of numbers for tire diameter in inches. For example, a tire with an aspect ratio of 60 would be 2150mm wide and 60mm high. The final number in the size designation is always the diameter expressed as a fraction of one inch.

Classic example: P225/60R16 [size code] First letter: P = passenger car tireSecond letter: Lower number denotes wheel diameter in inches. In this case it is a 17″ rim.Third number: 60 = aspect ratio (height divided by width)Fourth number: 225 = tire width in millimetersFifth number 16 = tire diameter expressed as a fraction of one inch

European-metric tires, which include all sizes that are not labeled “P” have a different sizing scheme. The metric designation begins with the sidewall diameter in millimeters, which is followed by aspect ratio (height divided by width) and then rim diameter expressed as a fraction of one inch. In our example above, if we were to convert this tire to Euro-metric sizing, it would be labeled 195/60-R16 94V. The first number in the size designation is always the sidewall diameter of 195mm, and the second set of numbers 60 is our aspect ratio (height divided by width) and 16 represents a rim diameter expressed as a fraction of one inch at 94.

Tips for Buying Tires

Buying tires from Walmart is usually not a good idea. The price is often low, but they are not fitted by a specialist and the quality is almost always poor. Buying tires from places like Walmart can cost you more in the long run, as they will have to be replaced constantly, because they wear down so quickly.

If you want to buy tires online, the best place to do it is through a reputable tire dealer. Make sure that your tires come with a warranty and be prepared to ask questions about the product if you are buying something you need for your vehicle but are unfamiliar with.

How Much do Tires Cost?

The price of tires will vary, depending on brand, type and the size of the vehicle. This means that it can be hard to get an accurate price, but you should not buy tires from a dealer who is trying to tell you something else. Prices start at around $60 and go up into the thousands. Be sure to check out prices online before making purchases in order to ensure that you are getting a good deal.

The Right Size

Tires come in all different sizes and you should not rush the selection process, no matter how much money you want to save! Before buying tires, ensure that they are the correct size for your car or truck and that there is still some tread on them. Worn out tires do not provide good traction and can cause you to be in an accident.

How to Tell if Tires are Worn Out

There are two ways to tell if tires are worn out. The first is visually, by examining the tread and checking for cracks or uneven wear. If your tires have bald spots that are larger than a quarter or do not have any tread left at all, then they need to be replaced. The other method of telling if your tires are too worn out is with a tire tread depth gauge, which can be purchased from most automotive parts stores and usually costs around $15. It can help keep you safe on the road while also helping you save money in the long run! Put it in your glove box today!

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Where Should You Buy Your Tires?

You should always buy your tires from a dealer who knows what they are doing and will install them correctly. If you try to save money by buying cheap tires, you could be putting yourself in danger, as the poor quality could cause issues with traction or other safety-related problems. Never buy used tires unless someone has personally recommended them!

Buy New Tires Online to Save Money:

Online tire stores are a great place to find affordable new tires. These include inexpensive options that are often more cost effective than purchasing similar products at a mall or dealership. You can even choose what kind of tread pattern you want and have it installed on your wheels so that everything matches! It’s like getting a custom, luxury product, except the quality is just as good and you do not have to pay a premium to get it!

Types of Tires

The two main types of tires are all-season and winter. When determining which kind of tire is best for you, consider several factors such as your location, the climate in the area where you drive most often, how hard your vehicle will be driving on most roads, and how much traction you need.

Tires are available in a wide range of sizes from 8 inches up to 33 inches wide. The bigger the tire size, the wider it is.

Most passenger cars use tires that are between 16 and 20 inches wide. Light trucks can use up to 285 mm (11 inch) tires on their rear wheels or 315mm (12 inch) on their front wheels. Larger trucks may require even larger tires! Tires come with tread patterns that are designed to work best in specific applications.

When buying tires, be sure to match the tire with your vehicle’s load rating and recommended pressure limits. These ratings can be found on most tires.

Rim Diameter

The diameter of a wheel is measured from one side of the rim flange to the other side of the opposite flange. The diameter indicates how wide a tire would need to be mounted on this rim in order for it to run true without wobbling or rubbing against surrounding parts. The proper way to measure the size of a tire you want to replace is by measuring its circumference which is obtained by multiplying its section width by its section height. For example, if you have an 18″ tire with a section width of 11″, the circumference would be: 18″ x 11″ = 186″. Now, look at its sidewall and find the rim diameter. In this case it says 22″. This means that for this tire to run true on this rim, its section height must not exceed 62 mm (22/11).

Tire Terminology

Section Width – The width of a tire’s tread including any grooves but excluding spaces between tread ribs or lugs. Often referred to as “tread width.”

Section Height – The maximum height from one side of a tire’s bead seat to the other bead seat when measured perpendicular to the centerline of the wheel. Sidewall– The outer portion of a tire between the bead-seat and tread.

Bead Seat – The narrow strip of a tire, which can be made of steel or fiberglass, that fits around the wheel’s rim flange.

Tread– The portion of a tyre that contacts the road surface.

Groove or channel – A groove in the tread pattern, generally at angles to each other, providing pathways for water to escape from under the edges of the tyre on wet roads. Also called “water channels.”

Rotation Speed (or revolution speed) – The speed at which a vehicle should turn when one tire passes directly over another for even wear and maximum safety and performance.

Expiration Dates

The date code will appear as 3 numbers that are separated by dashes on your tire’s sidewall. Each number represents a different digit of the year. The first digit is the last number of the calendar year that your tire was built. For example, if it says 30709, this means that the tire was manufactured in 2009 during the 7th week (09). An exception to this rule is tires with letters or digits following their date code. These tires were made prior to 2000 and may have compatibility problems with some vehicles’ TPMS (tire-pressure monitoring system) sensors.

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Different Sizes of Tires

4×4 Tires

Most standard vehicles have tires in the following size ranges: 14-15 inch, 15-16 inch, 16.5-18 inch, and 18.5+ inch. If you drive a 4×4 truck or SUV, your tires are probably larger than this range. Larger tires have more traction, and can carry heavier loads.

All Terrain Tires

All terrain tires are designed for rugged off-road use and are intended to be used with a vehicle that has the ground clearance necessary to traverse rocks, mud, sand, dirt, and other obstacles. They can also be used on pavement as well as dry land.

Tractor Set Tires

These are tires that have been designed to be used in tractors and other farm equipment. They tend to be hard, heavy duty wheels with thick tread meant for use on equipment, and not as passenger vehicle tires. However, many individuals put them on their trucks because they are much more durable than the factory installed options.

Light Truck/Van All Season tires

Also known as all-season or multi-purpose tires, these are a good choice for light trucks and vans. They can handle both wet weather and dry conditions well. The tread provides traction in most road conditions including gravel, snow, rain, and dirt roads. Light truck and van tires help save money on gas mileage because they do not need to use four-wheel drive as often as tires from other categories.

Light Truck/Van Summer Tires

Summer tires are ideal for light trucks and vans because they have very little tread, which makes them more suitable for dry roads during warm weather. They do not handle wet weather well, however.

Commercial Vehicle Radial tires

These are the best tires for big trucks and larger vans. They have treads that will help you drive through deep snow, slush, mud, dirt roads. Some even have special siping on their tread to channel water off the tire to prevent hydroplaning.

Tips For Buying used or recycled Tires

Buying used or recycled tires can be a great way to save some money. However, there are many factors that you should consider before purchasing used tires.

  • Make sure that the tires are not worn out
  • Check for previous repairs or a damaged sidewall as they may lead to future problems.
  • Consider the age of the tire to make sure it will last long enough.
  • You also need to consider the tread depth.
  • Inspect the tire for damage like bulges or cracks in the sidewall.
  • Make sure that there are no cuts in the tread and no damage to the sidewall.
  • Don’t buy tires with bulges on the sidewalls or any cuts in the treads, those are signs of a dangerous condition called “blowout”.
  • Check the wheel rim for cracks or bulges that could indicate hidden problems.

All of these things need to be considered when purchasing used tires. However, if you purchase them from a trustworthy source and have it checked by a professional, then it can be worthwhile to do so.

Tire Maintenance tips from an expert mechanic

.A quality tire can actually increase your miles per gallon by 10 percent. Some vehicle owners are unaware of how important tires really are in maintaining their car’s performance. Good tires maintained correctly will in turn make your car have better fuel efficiency and a longer life span. It is easy to say that tires are not as expensive as they used to be a decade ago. In fact, a lot of people buy their tires in sets and that is good because then you can have two spares lying around just in case your tire has an emergency flat. However, buying those spare tires can cost you up to half the price or more compared to when you were buying original branded tires from a dealer.

Most of the time, your car dealer will usually have some offers or discount rates for original branded tires. Just make sure that they apply those discounts when you are buying more than one tire and not just a single tire. Second hand tires can sometimes be good if it is from someone who had just recently purchased a vehicle with brand new tires.

When it comes to replacing your tires, opting for new ones is not the only option you have. However, in order to get a good deal on good quality used tires, you must first take into consideration: 1) how old they are 2) how many miles were driven 3) what the tread and condition of the tire are 4) and what the price is.

If you are looking for a specific type of used tire, rare sizes will be more expensive than common-size tires. Tires that have been driven less than 10,000 miles will also cost you more compared to those with over 20,000 miles on it because the tread has already started to flatten out.

Tires that are in good condition with even treads and less than two years old will give you a good deal. Do not forget to ask the owner how he/she took care of the tires and if they have any records of tire replacement or maintenance before buying them. If these used tires are not at your choice, see if you can haggle with the owner. A tire that is in bad condition will cost about half of a new one at a dealer.

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Tire-Safety Tips from NHTSA

1. Choose the right tire size based on weight and type of vehicle

(a) Cars – All passenger cars, including sport utility vehicles (SUVs), should use tires labeled as “P” or “S,” accommodated by the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended wheel size. Tires with these designations typically have higher speed ratings that allow them to perform safely at higher speeds.

2. Check tire condition regularly

(a) At every fuel stop, check tires for signs of damage (such as bulges in the sidewalls or tread separation), which could be caused by under-inflation or overloading. Poorly maintained tires not only affect your gas mileage, they can also make it dangerous to drive.

3. Maintain correct tire pressure

(a) Under-inflated tires can overheat and fail, increasing the risk of a crash. Over-inflation increases rolling resistance, which reduces fuel efficiency. Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual or the tire information placard for the recommended tire pressures for your vehicle at all four wheels.

4. Replace tires on time

(a) Under-inflated tires are more likely to fail and are less forgiving if they are subjected to sudden changes in road conditions, such as when traveling over a pothole or encountering standing water.

5. Don’t mix radial and bias-ply tires 

(a) Using radial and bias-ply tires together may lead to handling or traction problems, such as a loose steering feel or loss of steering control.

6. Learn about your vehicle’s tire warranty 

(a) Some vehicles come with an original equipment tire (OEM) warranty. If there is a problem with the tires related to materials or workmanship, the warranty may require the vehicle manufacturer to replace all affected tires. Check your owner’s manual or ask a tire professional for more information on your vehicle’s specific warranty.

7. Read and understand your vehicle’s owner’s manual section about tires

(a) The owner’s manual will tell you what kind of tires are recommended for your vehicle, how much tire pressure to maintain and information on the need for regular tire rotation.

8. Rotate your tires every 5,000 miles

(a) While few vehicles require a specific tire rotation pattern, rotating your tires will even out wear-and-tear on all of them and help provide better traction and handling – not to mention better gas mileage.

9. Avoid driving on damaged, cracked or warped tires

(a) Even if the tread depth is still legal, these tires are no match for wet roads and may fail suddenly while driving. If you suspect a tire problem, have it inspected before further driving or replace it immediately. Be sure to use a tire repair kit only on punctures that are less than 1/4-inch in diameter.

10. Maintain at least 1/16 inch of tread depth for all tires on a vehicle driven on public roads

(a) Tires can develop cracks or be punctured in as little as 2/32 inch of remaining tread thickness, so it’s important to keep tires in good shape.

(b) For tires with remaining tread depths of 1/8 inch or less, it’s illegal for any vehicle to be driven on public roads. Such a tire could fail without warning and cause a crash.

11. Avoid trailer sway , which is caused by mismatched loads, poor tire maintenance or incorrect tire inflation pressure

(a) Trailer sway can be dangerous to other drivers and may even cause a crash. Before you haul cargo using your vehicle, have the trailer’s hitch and its tires inspected by a professional. Make sure that all trailer load carrying components are in good condition and properly secured. Refer to your owner’s manual for information on how to determine the proper tire pressure for trailers.

12. Check tires periodically for leaks (checking tire wear indicators is not enough) 

(a) A leaky valve or tube may cause a large amount of air to escape, which can affect your vehicle’s handling and gas mileage. Replace defective valves or tubes immediately.

How to check tire pressure yourself

To check your tire pressure, you will need a handheld air gauge. It is available at any auto parts store for less than $10.

Take your vehicle to a safe place where the tire can be properly inflated and deflated without causing damage or injury to yourself or others. Safety first!

Get an assistant for safety reasons; have them hold one end of the air hose, and you hold the other.

Turn your wheels so that they are straight up and down. Fluid or gas will shoot out of any hole in the tire.

Stick the tip of the air gauge into a hole in your tire and begin to pump it full of air. Check for leaks by looking for air bubbles. If there are any, find the hole and patch it with a tire plug kit or call for emergency assistance.

Find the recommended pressure for your tires on the inside of your driver’s door. The recommended pressure is displayed in two different ways: as a company recommendation and as a maximum limit. Be sure to use the one that states the maximum limit. The recommended pressure is for a tire when it’s cold. Driving will cause your tires to heat up, so adjust them accordingly by adding 1 pound less pressure than what’s shown on the door of your vehicle if you drive more than 10 minutes at a time.

The max pressure is listed as pounds per square inch (PSI). When you get to your recommended pressure, stop pumping! Do not exceed the maximum limit.

Use a pencil or permanent marker to make a mark on the tire where the air hose punctured it. You can use this mark as a reference point for future checks. Your tires lose pressure over time; check them every month.

CONCLUSION

Tires are one of the most important parts of a vehicle. They provide traction and make driving possible. Buying tires can be confusing, but it is not difficult to do when you know what to look for and how to avoid scams. Here is a handy guide that will take the mystery out of shopping for new tires!

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