As a driver, buying new tires is something you'll usually encounter on a couple of occasions during the life of your vehicle and is one of the most important investments you'll make as a car owner. Your vehicle's safety largely depends on the quality of the tires.
But with so many different options available for tire types and brands, it can be a somewhat overwhelming experience to visit your local tire shop and select the best one for your car, truck, or SUV.
The good news is this process doesn't have to be difficult. Arming yourself with a little more information can help make tire buying a much easier endeavor. So we've put together some tips in this article, straight from your top local tire shop, to keep in mind when buying new tires.
Confirm the Proper Tire Size for Your Vehicle
The first thing to double-check when shopping for new tires is the manufacturer-specified tire size for your vehicle. The owner's manual and the driver's side door jamb sticker will show your vehicle's appropriate tire size and specifications.
Putting the correct size new tire on your vehicle will ensure that the proper weight load will be placed on the driveline components (specifically the transmission), that the speedometer will be accurate, and that the tires won't rub on the vehicle's body or suspension.
One of the few times you can safely shift away from your vehicle manufacturer's specification is if you're putting on wheels with different diameters than the stock wheels. Increasing the size is called plus sizing. In this scenario, you need to confirm a couple of important things:
- The new tire and wheel are approved for use on the vehicle.
- The overall diameter of the tire/wheel unit is as close as possible to the original setup. It should be within 3% (plus or minus) of the original tire diameter.
- The new tire width doesn't cause it to rub when turning the vehicle tightly or when the suspension is compressed.
- The new tire has the same load capacity.
Think About What You Need in Replacement Tires
Think about your experience driving on your current tires, especially what they were like when they were new. Is there an aspect of the tires that's not quite up to par? Would you like a smoother, more comfortable ride? Better handling on turns? Less road noise? Longer tread wear?
If the tires don't corner confidently, you might want to look for more high-performance tires. Has winter traction been an issue? You may need higher-quality all-season tires. Consider these things when narrowing down the available options at your Vancouver tire store.
And remember that the standard tires on a new car are usually one-size-fits-most. So if you feel that a different tire type or brand may be better, don't be afraid to ask your tire technician for other compatible options when buying tires.
Consider the Average Tread Wear
The lifespan of tires depends on various factors, including your driving habits, the local climate, if your local environment is hilly or mountainous, road conditions, etc. For example, the more challenging the road conditions, the faster the tires will wear.
Potholes, dirt roads, and curvy roads will lessen tire treadwear. And if you're frequently doing burnouts on the road, we probably don't have to tell you that your tires won't last nearly as long as they're supposed to.
Generally, the average treadwear for all-season tires is between 40,000 and 100,000 miles. Other tire types usually won't last as long. For example, higher-performance all-season tires typically have 40,000 to 70,000 miles of treadwear, while top-performance tires found on racing cars usually don't last more than 25,000 miles.
Remember that the manufacturer's estimate of how long a tire should last is based on their testing and not always on real-world driving conditions. To more accurately determine how the new tires you're considering will wear, look for the Uniform Tire Quality Grading (UTQG). Allocated by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the UTQG is the labeling system for tire treadwear, traction, and temperature resistance. For example, a tire with a UTQG treadwear rating of 300 is predicted to last three times longer than one with a rating of 100.
Look at the Tires' Reviews
Once you've narrowed down the new tire options you're interested in, look at the reviews. Read what auto experts say about the tires. Remember, expensive doesn't always equal the best. Mid-range tires sometimes perform as well as their premium competitors. But, at times, you do get what you pay for.
Look for information about how long the tire has lasted for other drivers, how it affects the fuel economy, how well it handles, how much road noise it makes, and if there are any known issues or potential recalls.
Subscription review sites like Consumer Reports will break vehicle tire options into categories, such as tread life, dry braking, wet braking, hydroplaning, ride comfort, etc. With this information, you can get a good perspective on the quality of the tires you are considering. Compare several tire options to zero in on the one that meets your needs and fits your budget.
Reading what expert reviews say and what others have experienced with a specific tire will help you make a more confident and informed decision when you buy your new tires.
If You Can, Replace All Four Tires Together
The tires keep your vehicle directly connected to the road, so having an even surface is crucial. Since the tires directly affect your vehicle's handling and performance, they must be as similar as possible. So for optimal safety and performance, replace all four tires at the same time if you can.
If you can only replace one or two tires, make sure you do the following:
- Select tires that are identical or as close as possible to the current tires.
- Only purchase tires within the same category as the current tires.
- Have the new tires installed in the back for the most stability.
The Tire Shop Experts at Gaynors Automotive Can Help!
With the information above, you'll be able to visit your local tire store more confidently, knowing what to look for in new tires and how to zero in on the best option for you and your vehicle.
When you need a top tire shop in Vancouver, Gaynors Automotive is your answer! At each of our convenient locations, you'll find tire experts who can help you narrow down the options, answer any questions, and help you determine the best new tires for your needs.
Plus, you can count on our expert mechanics for all your vehicle's tire service needs, including wheel balancing, tire rotation, flat tire repair, and wheel alignment. We can help determine your vehicle's best tire maintenance schedule based on tire type and driving habits. Our ASE-certified master mechanics use state-of-the-art equipment and high-quality tools to help ensure you get optimum performance and longevity from the new tires.