If you own a motor vehicle there’s a good chance at some point you’ll need to buy some new tires. But which tires would best suit your needs? Start by familiarizing yourself with four major aspects you need to consider:
Type: Car, 4 wheel drive, minivan; on-road, off-road, performance. Consider manufacturer recommendations for your vehicle, climate and driving environment.
Size: These are marked don the tire. You need to know the size of your wheel rims to get the proper size tire.
Specifications: Car type, aspect ratio, sidewall width, rim diameter; again, consider the requirements of your individual vehicle.
Cost: Product range is very broad, and there is a tire to suit almost any budget.
Now there are some specifics to think about. You need to match the tires to your needs, the driving conditions, climate and the manufacturer recommendations for the type of vehicle you own. Make sure you check the tire codes (Passenger – P, Light Truck – LT, Special Trailer – ST, Temporary – T, & the Date Code) to ensure you have the correct tire.
The next step is to match tire features to your needs. If you live in an area with large temperature fluctuations between seasons you should consider purchasing two distinct sets of tires, winter tires for the cold months and performance tires for the warmer months. All season tires are designed to work year round, but they will generally wear out faster and do not perform as well as the tires created for the specific seasons. Winter tires cannot be used during warmer months; in order to increase traction with the road they use a very soft hydrophilic rubber compound that begins to disintegrate quickly in heat.
The width of the tire determines the stability the wheel will have going around a corner. Wider tires will have wider cross patches, which means more traction with the road. As a result, the driver maintains more control during a turn.
Match the type of tire carefully to your needs, and apart from all season tires, usually don’t operate very well except within a fairly limited set of conditions. Winter tires have a deep and aggressive tread pattern and use hydrophilic rubber whereas all season tires have medium tread patterns. Tires made for driving in mud have wide, irregular treads.
Performance tires have shallow treads and are a soft rubber compound.True performance tires, or slick tires, do away with treads altogether in order to increase the total traction available. These tires are no good at all when the weather is damp, as they do not allow water to escape and thus will cause the vehicle to hydroplane. Although it might appeal to car enthusiasts to fit these tires to their car, they should onl be used under very controlled conditions and aren’t actually suitable for general use.