There are endless options when shopping for new tires. Tires are offered in a wide variety of types and sizes, and it goes well beyond truck-tire vs. car-tire. Among others, there are performance tires, all-terrain tires, all-season tires, low-profile tires, winter tires, and summer tires - and all of them are offered in a wide variety of speed ratings.
Shopping for regular tires involves a list of requirements. Focus on tires that have good ratings for braking performance and handling, as well as hydroplaning resistance. If there are several models that fit the bill, use rolling resistance as the determining factor.
Before replacing tires, figure out if that step really needs to be taken. If the car is pulling to one side, slipping around, or not confidently stopping when you brake, it might not be the tires – or it may be a simple fix like filling underinflated tires.
Insert a penny with Abraham Lincoln’s image head first into the most worn part of the tire. If you can see the top of Abe’s head, it’s time to buy new tires. Some tire experts suggest you do the test with a quarter.
It is good to buy new tires before they become so worn that it is an emergency. You can save money when there is time to shop for the right tires, rather than having to take whatever the shop has in stock because of a blowout.
Are Your Current Tires Too Old?
Tires are only considered safe for a certain number of years. In most cases, tires will wear out well before they get too old, but if the car isn't driven much and still has good tire tread, check the production date on the side of the tires to see if they are still good. Tires do not have an expiration date, but the compounds in synthetic rubber break down over time. A tire older than five years they should be carefully inspected and tires older than ten years should probably be replaced.
Choose the Right Tire Type
There's more to selecting the right tires than finding some that fit. It is important to consider a vehicle's minimum requirements and the general climate and road conditions in which the vehicle will be driven. The placard on the door pillar behind the driver and the owners manual will spell out the minimum tire requirements as well as the air pressures that the tires should contain. Other requirements are more subjective based on which attributes are most important.
Finding the Right Type
A lot of money can be wasted by putting the wrong tires on your vehicle. Automakers generally do a good job of matching the tires that they install at the factory to the car’s engineering. If in doubt about what tires to buy, the same type that was installed as original equipment on your vehicle is a safe choice. It is best to be a bit conservative when changing from one tire type to another.
Consult the owner’s manual or the placard on the door jamb behind the driver to find the appropriate size and specifications for the vehicle. Don’t look at the sidewall of the existing tires as they may not be the same size as originally came with the car or truck.
If a car is fitted with mismatched tires, it can seriously impact its performance. In the case of an all-wheel-drive car, mismatched tires can even damage the powertrain.
Putting the right size tire on your car ensures that the speedometer will be accurate, the proper loads will be placed on the transmission and other driveline components, and they won’t rub on suspension or body parts.
Find a trustworthy shop that will provide a good deal in a timely manner without cutting corners.
To get new tires fast and inexpensively, there may be a tradeoff on getting specific brands or types. For special or unique tires, there will likely be a wait and premium price. Before accepting any tire deal, look at online reviews, especially from owners of the same vehicle the tires are being bought for. While it is easy to find low prices on cheap tires, they might wear quickly, ride poorly, or have other performance issues that explain their low cost.
When buying tires, some costly extras can add up to an unwelcome surprise. Some are necessary; some are not. Remember to account for installation charges, disposal fees for the old tires, taxes, and the cost of new tire stems (which should be replaced when you buy new tires).
- Depending on the car’s age, a charge for rebuilding or resetting the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) is likely. These are the devices in the tire that send a warning to the dashboard if a tire is low.
- Some tire retailers include a separate charge to fill your tires with nitrogen, which stays in your tire longer. Others include it for free. If it is just a couple bucks per tire, it's might be worth it depending on the type of car and personal driving habits. But the average driver does not need nitrogen and if the service is tens or hundreds of dollars, you should likely decline politely.
- Some tire retailers charge for road hazard warranties (which are different from tread life warranties) as part of the installation cost. Road hazard warranties typically cover things like flat tires and other failures unrelated to tire wear. Some include roadside assistance.
- If a warranty is an additional cost option, tread carefully and read the fine print about what is and is not covered, how long the warranty is good for, and how and where to make a claim. If the policy requires coverage at a specific shop, consider the chances of being nearby when you need service.
- Think about the local road conditions and the potential costs for tire replacement or repair if a tire is damaged. The policies often run about $10 to $20 per tire.
- You can protect your expensive new tire purchase by getting a four-wheel alignment around the time you get your tires. Wheel misalignment is a common cause of improper tire wear. Most tire shops and auto dealership service departments have the equipment to perform the service.
Take a look at each of your wheels and new tires before you leave the shop. Sometimes wheels can be damaged in the installation process. And if the new tires have a directional tread pattern, make sure that they are all oriented the right way. It is better to catch any mistakes before you drive away.
When purchasing new tires, take your time and do your research. This will ensure that you’ll get wheels with excellent handling, limited rolling resistance, and overall great driving experience.
Do Electric Vehicles Require Special Tires?
There are different things to consider when buying tires for an electric vehicle (EV) because EVs go through tires faster than gas-powered vehicles. There are many reasons for this.
Heavy, Man. Heavy!
Currently, the average EV is much heavier than a similar gas-powered car. The weight difference can vary, but it all comes down to the batteries. One area where gas has the advantage over batteries is energy density – it takes less gas to get the same amount of energy as a battery. As a result, automakers that want to add more range to their EV will need to increase the size of the battery. This, in turn, adds more weight to the car overall. The extra mass of EVs puts the tires under more strain, which leads to those tires getting worn down faster. Electric vehicle tires need to have stronger sidewalls to cope with this weight. Manufacturers must design the tire cavity’s shape to help the tread remain in contact with the road. The tread is even more vital since it determines the vehicle’s grip and rolling resistance.
Silence is Golden
The tread is also responsible for making EV tires quieter than those used with regular cars. The lack of an engine means electric vehicles are virtually silent. The absence of engine noise means you can hear more road noise.
First Off the Finishing Line
One advantage of EVs is that they get great acceleration times because electric motors generate more torque, and that torque is delivered instantly. However, the result is that when a driver puts their foot down, the motors immediately put a lot of heavy pressure on the EV’s tires. That large amount of pressure creates a lot of friction, which in turn creates a lot of wear and tear.
You Will Go Far
The right wheels can help provide better fuel economy. For EV drivers this better fuel economy means better range. Range is crucial with EVs, and the right wheels may help alleviate range anxiety that some new EV drivers may have.
EV Tire Conclusions
These differences mean electric vehicle tires will likely cost more than regular ones. To achieve all these requirements individual block and groove sizes must be analyzed to ensure they deliver the best compromise. To help them offer more range and a quieter ride, wheels are made from different materials. They also will likely be larger, wider, or narrower, depending on the vehicle configuration.
These issues shouldn’t turn drivers off from owning an EV, however, as getting the correct tires solves these issues. There are EV tires that are designed to handle the instant torque of electric motors, reduce the noise level that drivers and passengers hear inside the cabin due to the quietness of EVs, and are more durable than regular tires. When replacing your wheels, it’s best to replace them with a make similar to the ones you bought your electric vehicle with. While these special EV tires are also more expensive, opting for cheaper tires will likely make you replace them more frequently.
With a combination of making good tire choices and performing the proper maintenance – especially routine air pressure checks, rotations, alignments - the fuel efficiency and life of tires and engine can be extended, and the carbon footprint of driving lowered.
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