To a layman driver, which is the title that can be awarded to pretty much 95% of the drivers, a tyre is a rubber thing that is put on a wheel in order to minimize the impact of the road imperfections. However, although this definition applies to the tires of old, today’s modern tire is anything but simple. As a matter of fact, tires usually consist from 20 to 25 different components – they are as complex as it gets, and this means that in order to choose the right one for your car, you need to pick carefully. Here are a couple of tips which might help you become better informed and make up your mind.
The size matters (we know it’s an old joke)
787993_66672293Picking the correct size of tires is of the primary importance. Tires that do not fit properly can reduce the performance of your car, damage the vehicle and be downright dangerous. Fortunately, tire manufacturers realize this and they are making our lives easier by placing a code on each tire stating its dimensions and other related things. All you need to do is take that code to the shop and they will be able to give you the right set of tires for you. However, if you are curious, here’s the breakdown for you:
Example code: P215/65R15 95H
The letter ‘P’ stands for ‘passenger’ tire. ‘ST’ is ‘special trailer’, ‘LT’ is ‘light truck’ and ‘T’ is for ‘temporary’.
‘215’ – when the tire is inflated to its proper size, this is its section width, that is the longest width of the tire, side-to-side.
‘65’ this is the tire’s ‘aspect ratio’, the number representing the relation between the height and width of the tire. If the number is omitted, it is assumed to be 82.
‘R’ signifies that the tire is radial, but it can also be diagonal (‘D’) and bias belt (‘B’). Cross ply tires omit this letter in the code.
‘15’ – the diameter of the wheel.
‘95’ – load index
‘H’ – speed rating. Can be either a letter or a number
Know where to buy
Although the logical choice for when you want to fit your car with a new set of tires is to go to the dealership, the fact is, this is probably the most expensive option. The dealers will give you the original tires for your car and while this sounds like it should be the best possible thing to do, the price is so high it often simply does not justify the luxury. Many people are unsure if it is risky to buy tires anywhere else but in the dealerships. This is simply a misconception – if you pick the size properly, you can get the tires of the same quality anywhere, you don’t need to search too far away from your neighborhood.
Things to consider
Choosing the right tire is not just about your car, it is about you and your habits, too. Your driving style should be taken into consideration, as well as the type of driving you usually practice. Are you on the slow or on the fast side? Do you take long trips across the country or use your car mostly for short city rides? Are you planning to carry heavy loads in your car? Think carefully and choose accordingly.
Ask yourself what type of weather conditions you are likely to encounter on your trips. If you are in the region of the world in which you get to see all four seasons in their glory, you should definitely buy two sets of tires – one for winter, the other for summer conditions. If, on the other side, the weather tends to be more or less uniform throughout the year, you can go with all-season tires.
When purchasing a new set of tires, consider how long you will be driving the car you are purchasing for. If, by your estimation, your car has only a couple of thousand miles left in it, then it might be reasonable to go with used tires. Which brings us to the last thing…
Let us bust one more myth. There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying used tires, as long as you buy them at a trusted tire dealer. People tend to avoid this because they do not like to take risks, however, the truth is – if you are a careful shopper and inspect goods before the purchase, you are likely to save a lot while getting the same quality tires.
This article is brought to you by Tyre King Seven Hills staff