FEATURE 23 November 2012

How to Examine Tires When Purchasing

As if maintaining your vehicle is not challenging enough, you also have to routinely buy new tires for it. Asking your mechanic which tires to buy is an easy way to go but it may not always get you the best bargain. Besides, there isn't a lot of intricacy in the matter, and once you have the knowledge, it will serve you until you are too old to drive. Getting the best tires for your car is the difference between a good driving experience and a great one. And considering you need to replace your tires when they age, knowing how to buy the not only the right, but the best tires, is primarily important.

The first thing to do when buying tires for your car is to understand your needs. Some crucial questions to ask include the kind of car you drive, your frequency of driving and the amount you drive, and the types of roads you drive on. Those are the basic things you need to know before you begin to get into the technical details. If you have a compact car, then you should go for passenger tires. A ‘P' on the sidewall this indicates that they are meant for use on passenger cars. As for the different mileage ratings of tires, obviously you have to have a good idea of your driving frequency to select the ones that are sufficient. If you like how your present tires drive, replace one with identical ones, making sure you match the most important specifications, which is about all of them.

For every tire manufactured, there is usually a code that indicates the specification of the tire. The most essential thing to do is match your vehicle's needs to the code specs of the tires. It's essential to get the tires with the correct load index. This tells you what amount of weight the tires can comfortably handle. Err on the side of caution and overestimate this number, and make certain you never underestimate it. It's also very crucial to know the speed rating for the tire. Your split between city and highway driving will shape this to some extent. Check the tires temperature resistance, which is its capacity to dissipate heat. This is particularly important for those who regularly drive long distances or have long commutes. Tread pattern is another essential consideration. Some treads are better situated for winter conditions, while others are for wet surfaces, and still others are highly targeted for off-road driving.

Tire manufacturers imprint all of these crucial specs on the sidewalls of the tires. Your task is to learn how to interpret this information, and you will know exactly how to go about buying the best tires for your car. Of course, the starting point to all this is to first learn the needs of your car, and by extension yours.


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