Tire Buying Tips

When you think about a car's safety features, what comes to mind?  Most people would say seat belts, airbags, anti-lock braking systems, traction control, and even more recent, technology advanced features like accident avoidance systems and rearview cameras.  Well every vehicle on the road today has a safety feature that predates all of them, in fact it has four; they're your car's tires.  Only one part of your car comes in contact with the road, is affected by what you do with the steering wheel, gas pedal and brakes and can easily be assessed for wear and those are the tires.

Sadly, it's probably the one that most drivers dread having to replace more than anything.  This is due to a couple of factors: First, most people aren't sure exactly when they need new tires; second, unlike a muffler, brakes, or other replacement parts, there is a seemingly endless amount of tire brands and models to choose from for any standard production vehicle.  Additionally, in any reasonably built up area, there are more than likely a good number of vendors to buy tires from as well.  Both of these facts sound positive but can be daunting to average consumer. 

When it comes time to picking the actual tires, there are several things to consider which tires will be rated, graded or reviewed for that you can analyze for your research purposes.  These include cost, load capability, wear, fuel economy, noise suppression and ride quality.  Don't buy too much or too little tire.  What this means is if your SUV calls for a light truck tire, don't put a passenger tire of the same size on it to save money.  On the other end, if your make and model came with touring tires as part of an original equipment upgrade or package, you may only need passenger tires when you replace them. 

When it comes to thinking about all of the tire aspects mentioned here, think about your current tires.  Did you feel the ride was too hard or too soft?  Did you think there was a lot of what you might call road noise coming from your tires?  Are you a gas mileage hawk?  Pose these, and any other questions about tire attributes, to the tire expert at your local shop.  A set of four new tires is going to set you back hundreds of dollars so there's no reason you shouldn't feel like you did everything you could to find the right fit for you and your vehicle.  Of course, this works the other way, too.  If you loved the ride, got good gas mileage and didn't find them noisy, the original equipment tires, or a very close alternative, may be the way to go. 

Another option is to buy used tires.  This might seem like you're not getting very far because you're replacing used tires, but there are factors to consider.  People usually buy two or four tires even if they really need only one or three.  This means the tire store gets handed over at least one reasonably good tire, and when you buy from a used tire dealer, this is what you're getting.  So explore every option, do your research, and buy with confidence.

Categories: Parts, Service, Body Shop
Tags: tire, savings, tips

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