How do I know which tires to buy?

June 07, 2018

There are very few things that people hate more than buying new tires. Some can be expensive, most aren’t conspicuous enough to show off, all the sizes are way too complicated to understand, and in the end, a wrong decision can really affect your driving. Really, it’s a decision I never wanted to make. In reality, it’s far easier to send someone else to the shop to pick a set out. But, how could I decide which tires I need? Is there a simple way to tell the shop all the random traits you’re looking for?

Tires come in a variety of sizes. The sizes just look like a confusing collection of numbers, but they explain the exact shape and size of your tire. Within each size, there are various models and sub-models of tires that might work with your vehicle. How do you decide which tires to put on your vehicle? For me, it was easiest to think about what I already knew.

I knew my old tires worked fine. They were a little loud, and didn’t last as long as I wanted them to, but I was pretty happy with the handling and the traction that they had. Telling the salesman at the desk helped him figure out what I needed. He was able to look up the tires I got last time, and recommend something that would work a little better in the areas I thought needed improvement.

So, think about the tires you have right now. Are you happy with them? It’s likely that the tires you got from the dealer with your car were chosen to work well with your vehicle. Most tires that come stock on vehicles from the dealer are only installed because they will help your car have the performance the dealer promised. In fact, Popular Mechanics says car manufacturers spend almost a million dollars developing the tires that will make you like your car even more. Tires are chosen that highlight the performance of your car and that help you overlook your car’s shortcomings. If you like the tires you have right now, read the name off the side of the tire, and ask for those! The mechanic shop will install the same tires on your car, and you can leave with confidence that those tires are the ones you want on your vehicle. Sometimes the tires that come on the car are pretty expensive. If they end up being too pricey, you can tell the salesperson what specific traits you liked about those tires, and they can tell you what other options might be comparable while still falling in the price range you want.

If you’re unhappy with the tires you have now, what didn’t you like about them? If they didn’t last long enough, ask for a tire with a good mileage warranty. If they were too loud on the freeway, then ask for a set of tires that’s rated for its quiet, comfortable ride. If you’re unhappy with the way they took corners and handled on the road, ask for a more performance-oriented tire.

If you didn’t like your old tires at all, think about what you want in a tire. Do you value performance? Do you put your family’s safety before everything else? Do you want tires that will last you tens of thousands of miles? Do you want tires that will be comfortable and quiet on the road? Use these questions to outline what traits you want in your tires. If you’re still shopping around, most websites have a sorting feature that allows you to sort the tires based on the traits they carry. If you’d rather just walk into the shop, let them know what you’re looking for, and they’ll help you out!

If you bought your car used, you can look up the tire that came stock on your vehicle, and look into buying that tire. Since it was put on the car to make the sale, you can be assured that it will work well with your vehicle, and you’ll be happy with the results you see from these tires.

It’s hard to choose a set of tires from the vast number of options. I learned it’s easiest just to compare the options with what you already know, and what tires do you know more about than your own? Make sure you know what you like about your tires, and what you dislike. Let the shop know when you come in, and they’ll help you choose the exact tires that will work best with your vehicle and driving habits.