Navigating the Differences in Tire Types
Walking into a tire store is quite the experience. Although most automotive shops showcase tires with bright colors and brand name posters, there’s something that hits most tire shoppers before any of these advertisements – the smell of rubber. Buying a new set of tires is unlike any other shopping experience for many reasons. Nowhere do you get quite the same awakening of your senses than you do surrounded by the smells, sounds, and sights of a store that sells tires.
That being said, the sensations of tire purchase often lead up to another feeling. Once buyers start browsing the warehouse, they come to realize that they’ve got a massive selection of tires to choose from. This lack of understanding leads to feelings of anxiety. What if they make a terrible decision? What if the tires don’t work well in the snow? What if they pick tires that are more expensive than they budgeted for?
If you’re reading this and feel like you need help with your tire selection, you’re not alone.
Join Zeck Ford in considering tire types and find out which ones are right for you.
Consider Your Environment
Environmental factors are a big reason why people pick the tires they do. If you know you’re going to be driving on slick roads most of the year, it’s imperative to take precautions so you always drive safe. Chains and winter tires are great ways to secure your safety if you live in heavily snowy areas.
But what about people who live in areas with occasional snow and ice only? The fact that they only get these conditions every once and a while doesn’t negate the fact that they still drive in dangerous situations. However, it might be hard to convince themselves to buy a set of snow tires if they only really need them a few days out of the year.
Think of it this way. If you’re in a part of the country that only sees occasional snow, like the south, you might be better off investing in all-season tires, which are useful in both the snow and the rain. If you live somewhere with frequent snowfall, get a set of winter tires and be sure to get them on as soon as the snow flies.
Consider Your Car & What You Use It For
What you use your car for, who drives it, and other factors are also essential to consider when it comes to purchasing tires for your vehicle. These are some common environmental factors tire customers have to think about.
- If you use your truck or car for driving over rough terrain, you might want to consider nobbier, thicker tires. This will help your car get traction on rocky ground and will also make it easier to drive in rough situations.
- If you’re choosing tires for a daily driver that makes its way through cityscapes, you can generally pick any tire. That is, of course, if your city is good at maintaining their roads. If not, you might want to think about getting a sturdier tire that can handle bumps.
- Is your teenager going to be driving this car? If so, you’ll want durable tires. Not all teenage drivers are reckless – in fact, most err on the side of caution. But that doesn’t make up for the fact that they are largely inexperienced. Not knowing the local potholes, not checking the tire pressure regularly, and taking one too many turns over the curb can wear on tires. If you have a teenager, discuss tire durability with your local tire shop. They’ll be able to show you the most durable tires, and we highly recommend that you budget for the best tires for a car your teen will be driving. Additionally, consider safety. Always buy snow tires for your teen’s car if you live in a climate diverse area of the country.
- Do you like a fast car? Different types of tires get different speed ratings. Discuss those ratings with a tire expert and see whether they might be a good fit for your vehicle.
Consider Whether You Need a Pair or a Set
Sometimes when you buy tires, you only need two of them rather than four. Typically, this happens when you still have tread life left on two of your tires. Test your tread depth by placing a penny into the tread. If your tire’s tread hides Abe Lincoln’s head above his browline, then your tires still have some life left in them. If they don’t hide any of his head, then you need new tires.
If two of your tires are fine, purchase two tires based on the other factors you’re considering and have your auto technician rotate the two remaining tires.
Find Out Your Load Index and Speed Ratings
Of course, when you know what type, tread, and season of tires you need to purchase, you will then need to find out your load index and speed ratings for your car.
The Load Index is one of the ways that tire manufacturers, car manufacturers, and consumers can all calculate the amount of weight the car can handle. Factory-installed tires will have the minimum load-bearing capacity, so if you are replacing the tires on your vehicle for the first time since buying it, buy a tire with a load index number the same or higher.
One of the most influential parts of tire buying is your purchase budget. Before you even think about buying tires, do some research on the best tires for your car. Then, research the average tire costs for the best tires for your vehicle. If they are an expensive buy, like a set of snow tires, start setting aside money for their purchase. The more extended the amount of time you have to plan for your tire purchase, the less frantic you’ll be when the time comes to purchase them.
Still not sure you’ve got the hang of tire purchase? Stop by Zeck Ford in Leavenworth, Kansas, to speak with one of our automotive specialists. We’ll help you understand the best tires for your car so you can make the right purchase when the time comes. For more information or to schedule a visit, click here.