Tire shopping isn’t like stepping into the grocery store and picking out the things you like. When it comes to tire shopping, there are numerous things you have to consider. You have to consider brand, price, style, construction and many other factors as these can affect not just how much you’ll spend now, but how much you’ll spend in the long run and how safe and fuel efficient your drives will be.
A well-chosen and maintained tire can mean better handling and performance, which results in better safety, longer use and more value for your money. To guide you in selecting the right wheels for your vehicle, here are some tried and tested shopping tips:
- Make sure you really need new tires.
Before heading to the showroom be sure that you really need new tires. Inspect all your tires for excessive tread wear, discolouration, bulging or cracking. If you spot any of these signs, then it’s definitely time for a change. Also, if your wheels are more than a decade old- even if they look okay or have never been used like a spare- consider changing them. Most manufacturers advise changing your tires every 10 years as constant exposure to oxygen deteriorates the rubber.
- Check your car’s condition through the used tires.
If your current tires show signs of uneven wear, such as more wear on the inside than the outside of the tire, there may be something wrong with your car’s alignment or suspension.
- Refer to the owner’s manual or information placard.
Each car comes with an owner’s manual and an information placard placed somewhere inside the car. If it doesn’t have one, you can purchase a new one from the manufacturer. You need these to determine the car maker’s recommended size and type of tires for your vehicle.
- Read your tire.
Each tire is imprinted with a code: a series of numbers and letters that indicate what type of tire it is, its exact size, speed rating, load capacity and other important information. Decipher this code (you can learn how online or from your tire center) to ensure that you have the right replacement tires, or know what type of tires may be more suited for you.
- Buy a full, matching set.
It may be tempting to buy just enough to replace the most worn ones, but car suspension technology is designed to work better with a full set of matching tires. By getting a full set you’ll be able to spot and repair suspension issues and get the best level of performance and handling.
- Consider buying over the internet.
You can save a lot by shopping online and using price and product comparison sites to get the best deals on wheels.
- Break new tires carefully.
New tires often have release agent residue left on their treads from the manufacturing process. Because of this, new tires can have less grip until the residue wears off. So before you push your new tires to the limit, give it a good 500 miles or so to burn off that residue.
- Maintain your tires.
To get the most out of your new tires, make sure you keep them clean, maintain proper air pressure and rotate them as often as you would change your oil.