Tires can be a frustrating and costly part of owning a vehicle, but it’s one of the most important purchases you’ll make for your vehicle. Knowing what’s right for your vehicle and taking into consideration all factors prior to making this costly purchase can seem a little daunting. You will easily spend over $500 for new tires, so you want to make sure you’re getting the right ones! With winter right about the corner, we’re here to give you some guidance, or maybe a refresher, on the different styles of tires, how to determine what’s best for you, and why keeping them in good shape is important.
Before buying any tires for your vehicle, make sure to check your owner’s manual for the recommended tire measurements. The measurements should look something like the following: P215/60R16 94T. If you have any questions or concerns, consult with a professional prior to purchasing anything.
So what are the different types of tires?
- All-season tires: These are the most common tires you’ll find on the road. All-season tires are popular because of their reputation for good mileage and reliable weather grip. If you live in an area with minimal changes in weather conditions year-round, these tires will do the trick. However, if you live in a high elevation or mountainous area that experiences weather like heavy snowfall or ice, consider switching to a different tire during those months. All-season tires are equipped with grooves and tread that can handle minor rain or snow but aren’t as effective as other weather-specific tires.
- Summer Tires: Summer tires are perfect for regions that don’t experience temperatures lower than 45℉ for the majority of the year. The tread is designed to handle wet and dry conditions, excluding heavy rains or snow, in addition to dry roads and summertime temperatures. These tires, when in the right climate or environment, can be used as all-season options with the advantages of withstanding summer conditions.
- Winter Tires/Snow Tires: Winter tires, as implied by the name, are the opposite of summer tires. Even at a quick glance, you can quickly see the difference between the two in the tread and grip found on winter tires but not summer tires. Even if you experience minor snowfalls frequently, or heavy snowfall periodically, these tires will get you where you need to go safely. Winter tires also react differently to temperature, staying softer and more pliable than other seasonal tires. This provides better grip and reliable braking ability, even in poor winter conditions.
- Performance Tires: Whether you dry a sports car, or just want to feel like you do, performance tires are designed to handle like a dream when your inner Speed Racer comes out. The shallow treads are modest but provide substantial traction and contact with the road. Just like summer tires, these tires are not designed for cold temperatures or harsh weather conditions.
- Truck Tires: Do you like to take your truck off the beaten path? Do you keep it to the pavement? Either way, there’s a type of tire that’s made for you. The tread between the different truck tires will vary depending on what terrain you’ll be driving on. If you live in an area that deals with deep snow or heavy mud, these may be a better choice than typical winter tires.
There are a variety of things to consider when faced with all the different tires in each of these categories. Account for the weather conditions of where you live. Does it snow or rain a lot? Is it mild year-round or does the temperature fluctuate drastically between the seasons? What kind of driving are you doing? Are you a modest driver who sticks to highways, do you race your vehicle at the track, or do you go off-roading in the woods? All these factors will decide what tire is best for you, and when.
Also, your make and model has a big impact on the type of tire that comes stock. For example, BMW M5 performance tires are notoriously bad at driving in the snow. That’s because they aren’t designed for it. If you own an M5, plan on not driving it if you get more than an inch or two of snowfall. Or if it’s your everyday driver, then consider getting a set of Winter Tires.
Tires have a job to do, but so do you. There are numerous things to do to make sure you’re getting the most out of your tires and also keeping the rest of your vehicle in tip-top shape. One of those things is to check your tire pressure, at least once a month. Don’t know how to check your tire pressure, or aren’t sure what your tire pressure is? Check out our video here! In addition to checking tire pressure and keeping your tires properly inflated, make sure to also rotate your tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles. Many places will do tire rotations with oil changes since the two happen close together.
Another important thing to do is keep an eye on the tread and look of your tires. Bald tires are not only detrimental to how your vehicle handles and your gas mileage, but tires with little or no tread can be extremely dangerous. Even if perfect weather conditions, tires in poor condition can prove troublesome. In addition to keeping an eye on the inflation and tread on your tires, also be mindful of how much weight your vehicle is carrying. Believe it or not, the sticker on your door will tell you how much weight your vehicle can safely handle. While we feel like we can stuff as much as physically possible in our seats and trunks, overloading your vehicle can cause tire failures.
Lastly, and possibly the most annoying aspect financially, do NOT install mismatched tires. It might seem easier to only replace the tire that’s damaged or past its prime, but not for the long term. Mismatched tires can impact the handling of your car, and cause unwanted wear and tear on the other tires. At the very least, tires should be purchased in pairs, but ideally as a full set of 4. While this definitely hurts our wallets, it’s the safest and smartest option when it comes to needing to replace or buy new tires.
For all your vehicle needs and questions, reach out to The Shop today! Whether it’s putting on seasonal tires, or guiding you in your purchase of new ones, we’ve got you covered.