I need new tires. How do I know which ones to get?
The most important factors to consider are: Function, Fit, and Value.
Function: This gets at what your needs are for new tires: weather conditions, terrain, temperatures, etc.
Most new family vehicles come with all-season tires. They can be used all year long and do pretty well in most road conditions – but they aren’t ideal at the extremes.
Winter tires have a more aggressive tread for handling snow and ice on highways and they have a rubber compound that helps them have better traction as temperatures drop below 45 degrees. Definitely better stopping and road-holding characteristics for drivers than all-season tires in winter weather. Dedicated summer tires enhance warm weather performance driving for auto owners.
If you drive off-road, there is a spectrum of tires from all-terrain (a good mix of highway and off-road capability) to dedicated off-road tires.
The key is to talk to your tire professional and consider the function you need to get the type of tire, load rating, speed rating and wear rating you need.
Fit: The easiest thing is to select tires in the same size that were installed by the auto maker. If you want a different size wheel or tire profile, be sure to work with your service advisor so you can make sure that your new wheels and tires fit properly and don’t rub in bumps or turns. It’s also essential to make sure that important safety systems like anti-lock brakes, stability control and traction control aren’t adversely affected by the new tire size (the computer may need to be recalibrated to make necessary critical adjustments).
Value: Note, I didn’t say price. The tire that meets all your needs AND has the warranty and tread life you expect will often not be the least costly option – but it may well return the best value for your tire dollar.
Until next time…