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A Comprehensive Guide: Car Tires 101

A Comprehensive Guide: Car Tires 101

When it comes to taking care of your vehicle, tires are one of the most important components to consider. Not only do they keep you safe on the road, but they also contribute to the car's overall performance. But we'll answer some important questions, like what exactly do I need to know about car tires, how do I keep them in the best condition, what size tires fit my car, how long do car tires last, and more. GoodCar is here to help!

The Different Types of Tires

Several types of car tires are available on the market, each of which is designed for a specific purpose. Here is a rundown of the most common types of car tires:

  • Performance Car Tires: These tires are designed for tight handling and maximum grip and are typically used on sports cars.
  • Winter Car Tires: These tires are designed to provide drivers with excellent traction if they have to drive in snow or ice and are considered a must-have for anyone who lives in a cold climate.
  • All Terrain Car Tires: These tires are designed for use on both paved and unpaved roads and offer good traction in all kinds of weather conditions.
  • All-Season Car Tires: These tires are a good option for those who don't want to switch between winter and summer tires. They provide good traction in all kinds of weather conditions.

How to Read Tire Sizes and Ratings

When you're ready to purchase new tires, you'll need to know how to read tire sizes and ratings in order to find the right ones for your vehicle. Here's a quick guide:

Tire Size

The first thing you'll need to look for is the tire size. You can find this on the sidewall of the current tires on your vehicle. The size will be listed as a series of numbers and letters, such as 225/50R17.

The first number in that series (225) is how many millimeters wide the tire is. The second number in that series (50) is the tire's aspect ratio, which is the height of the sidewall of the tire as compared to how wide the tire is. The final number in that series (17) is how many inches across the tire is, or its diameter.

Tire Rating

Once you've determined the right size tires for your vehicle, you'll need to decide on a rating. Tire ratings are assigned by the U.S. Department of Transportation and indicate how well a tire performs in certain areas, such as treadwear, traction, and temperature resistance.

The most important rating to pay attention to is treadwear. This is indicated by a number followed by an "A" (e.g., 400 A). The higher the number, the longer the tire is expected to last under normal driving conditions. For comparison purposes, a passenger car tire with a treadwear rating of 400 should last about twice as long as a tire with a treadwear rating of 200.

Once you know how to read tire sizes and ratings, you can be sure that the tires you select are the best ones for your vehicle and driving needs.

Tire Maintenance Tips and Techniques

Tire maintenance is essential for ensuring the longevity and performance of your car tires. Here are some tips and techniques to help you keep your tires in tip-top shape:

  • Check your tire pressure regularly. Underinflated tires can lead to premature wear and tear and can even cause a blowout. Monitor your tire pressure and inflate to the recommended level when necessary.
  • Inspect your tires regularly for any signs of damage or wear. If you notice any cracks, cuts, or bald spots, have the tire repaired or replaced as soon as possible.
  • Rotate your tires regularly. This helps to distribute wear and tear evenly and can significantly extend your tires' life.
  • Have your alignment checked periodically. Misaligned wheels can cause premature tire wear, so keeping them in check is important.
  • Store your car in a cool, dry place when not in use. Extreme heat or cold can accelerate tire deterioration, so it's best to keep your car out of extreme temperatures when possible.

Important Considerations When Choosing Tires

Important Considerations When Choosing Tires

When you are ready to purchase new tires, there are a few things you should consider to ensure you make the best decision for your car. Here are four important factors to keep in mind:

1. Size

The first thing you need to know is what size tires your car requires. You can find this information in your car's owner's manual or by looking at the placard on the doorjamb or inside the fuel door. Once you know the size, you can begin shopping for tires.

2. Type

Several types of tires are available, each designed for specific purposes. For instance, all-season tires are a good choice for most drivers, providing good traction in various conditions. However, if you live where winter weather is harshs, you may need to get a set of winter tires. These tires are designed to provide better traction and grip on icy and snowy roads.

3. Brand

Many tire brands are on the market, so it's important to research to find one that suits your needs and budget. Reviews from other drivers can be helpful in this process. Once you narrow down your choices, it's also a good idea to consult a tire professional to get their expert opinion before purchasing.

4. Budget

Tires can range in price from $50-$200 or more per tire, so it's important to know your budget before you start shopping. It can also be beneficial to compare prices from different tire shops to find the best deal. If you need help determining a budget, your tire professional can also assist with this.

Benefits of Investing in High-Quality Tires

When it comes to your car, one of the most important things you can invest in is high-quality tires. Tires are what keep your car moving, so it's important to have ones that are in good condition and will last a long time. Here are some benefits of investing in high-quality tires:

  • They Provide Better Handling
  • They're More Durable
  • You Won't Have to Replace Them as Often
  • They Improve Fuel Efficiency
  • They Offer a Smoother Ride

Disadvantages of Low-Quality Tires

Discounted tires or used car tires may seem like a budget-friendly option, but there are several disadvantages to consider before making your purchase. Low-quality tires can negatively impact your vehicle's performance and fuel efficiency and can also be more prone to blowouts and flats. In addition, they may not provide adequate traction in all weather conditions, which can put you and your passengers at risk. If you're looking to save money on tires, be sure to do your research and purchase from a reputable source.

Popular Tire Brands and Tire Centers

There are many different brands of car tires on the market, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. However, some tire brands are more popular than others, and many people have their preferred brand or tire center.

The most popular tire brand is Walmart Tires, followed by Firestone Tires, Mavis Tires, Costco Tires, Michelin Tires, and Goodyear Tires. Each of these brands has its own strengths and weaknesses, but all are popular choices for many drivers.

Popular Tire Brands and Tire Centers
  • Walmart Tires is the largest retailer of tires in the United States and offers a wide selection of both budget and premium tires. However, some customers complain that Walmart's customer service is not always up to par and that it can be difficult to get help if you have a problem with your purchase.
  • Firestone Tires is another large tire retailer that offers a good selection of both budget and premium tires. Firestone also has a reputation for good customer service and is often able to help customers with problems they have with their tires.
  • Mavis Tires is a smaller tire retailer than Walmart or Firestone, but it still offers a good selection of both budget and premium tires. Mavis also has a good reputation for customer service, but some customers find that the prices at Mavis are higher than at other retailers.
  • Costco Tires come from the US club known to be open to members-only, Costco. They offer a very wide selection of budget and premium tires at discounted prices. Many customers appreciate that Costco's prices are lower than other retailers, but some customers also find that the selection at Costco is more limited than at other retailers.
  • Michelin Tires is one of the most well-known tire brands in the world, and many drivers prefer Michelin tires due to their quality and performance. However, Michelin tires can be expensive, so they may not be the best choice for some drivers.
  • Goodyear Tires is another well-known brand and offers both budget and premium tires. Goodyear also has a good reputation for customer service and typically offers competitive prices compared to other tire brands.

Car tires are like shoes for your car – they need to be properly maintained and replaced when necessary. With the information from this article, you now know all about what the best car tires are for you and how to choose the right one based on your needs. As long as you follow these tips from GoodCar and keep a regular check on the wear-and-tear of your tires, you can ensure safe driving with optimal performance all year round.