The loss of control when a car removes itself from your grip is a frightening thing. To feel the back wheels shift in a direction you have no bearing on is a moment of real fear. If you have never felt this, well done, you probably picked the right tires.
For the rest of us, the reality is that tires can often be an afterthought. They are an essential safety measure on a car and need selecting correctly. In this article, we will guide you on how to choose the right tires for your vehicle.
What are the Main Considerations?
Choosing new tires comes down to two main factors. These are weather conditions and the location you will be driving in. How they look should come last on the priorities list.
How to Choose the Right Tires for Weather
Firstly, the climate and environment you drive in will depend on how many sets of tires you need to purchase. If you are in a temperate location that does not drop below freezing, even in winter, then you will only need one set of good, all year round tires.
Should you live in a place that drops below freezing and has harsh snowfall, then consider getting a set of winter tires. They can be changed over when the bad weather starts to roll in. When everyone else is stuck in parking lots trying to get out, you will be thankful you bought them.
It is also a false economy to think that you can get away with summer tires in Winter. Grit from the roads will corrode the lighter summer tires quicker regardless. If you really must go for one set, then order a set of tire chains to give you more grip.
Location and Distance
This can be dropped into three main areas;
Firstly, are you going to be driving in a city? This will mainly be low speed with lots of stopping, starting, and braking. Choose a tire that is durable and robust, with a low resistance to help maximize your fuel efficiency.
The second choice is for long-distance driving, where you will be at high speed but with less stopping, braking, and slowing down. For this you need tires that grip the road tightly, but also offer some cushioning and noise protection.
The third option is off-road or unpaved driving. For this, you will need specific off-road tires that are highly durable.
Choosing a Brand
Choosing the brand of the tire can be tough, especially if you do not have much experience in automotives. Ask around with knowledgeable friends and family and see what they recommend.
If you bought your car brand new, a good place to start is by adding the same brand of tire that the car came with. These tires will have been rigorously tested by the manufacturer and will be on there for a reason. They should have been designed or chosen because they complement your vehicle.
Getting the Correct Size
On the inside of the driver’s door should be a small placard. It will contain a series of numbers and letters, and these indicate what size tire your car needs. The number represents the width, height compared to the width and tire diameter.
When Should I Change My Tires?
A balding and worn tire is very easy to spot. The rubber bristles will be gone and the tire will have a smooth shine to it.
You can also try a coin test, by putting a quarter into the tread and checking Lincoln’s head. If it is showing, then you need to replace your tires. Never leave this until the last minute, and always make sure you change them as they are approaching wear down.
Fitting the Tires
It is perfectly acceptable to fit the tires yourself. However, you must make sure you have tightened all the bolts and followed all safety advice.
If you do not want to take the risk, then you can often get them fitted quickly and at a low cost from a garage or dealership. This will alleviate some worry. Before you leave, check they have all fitted the tires with all treads going in the right direction.
While at the dealership, it may be beneficial to get a wheel alignment. Misaligned wheels can cause excess wear on the inner of the tires. You may also want to ask them to check your suspension so the car is the perfect balance.
Once you have bought the tires, you may incur some extra costs. As well as fitting (if you chose this) you may have to pay for disposal of your old tires and new stems. Never forget that you also need a spare!
It may also be possible that your tires are filled with a little nitrogen, which sometimes costs more. This is worth doing as the nitrogen keeps your tires inflated for longer.
Maintaining Healthy Tires
Once your tires are installed, they will require some maintenance. Use a tire pressure gauge to see what the pressure should be in each tire and inflate them regularly at a garage.
Check them regularly for slow punctures. These are minor punctures that deflate the tire slowly, as opposed to a quick burst. Slow punctures can be repaired quite easily by a garage.
Hitting the Road
Well done! Our article on how to choose the right tires should have helped increase the control of your vehicle and enhanced its safety. Hopefully, it should not have cost as much as you expected. You are now ready for those dry summer highways and winding snow-covered tracks.
If you are looking for other ways to increase the performance and safety of your vehicle, pay a visit to our extensive collection of articles. We can help maximize your vehicle potential and even guide you through home mechanics. Drive-by today and see what we can do for you!