Just like getting your oil changed or wiper blades replaced; changing your tires every three to four years is part of keeping your car safe and in good condition. But when it’s time to buy new tires, it can be totally overwhelming looking at all the different types of tires, with different sizes, traction options and more. Here are some aspects to look for in your new tires:
- Think about the climate you live in and the weather that occurs there. There are three types of weather tires: Summer, winter, and all season.
Summer tires: Summer tires are built to drive on primarily dry roads and are good at breaking in rainy or wet conditions. However, they are not so great in the snow, and tend to have poor traction in icy or snowy conditions. These might be good for you if you live in a warm climate where snow rarely or never occurs, or if you are planning on using them in the summer and switching over to winter tires when once the season changes.
Winter Tires: Winter tires are great at braking and maintaining control on icy or snow-covered roads. However, they’re just okay on wet or completely dry roads. They also can adversely affect your gas consumption because the chunky tread makes your car work harder. These should only be used in the winter (unless you live in Antarctica or if you're someone who hangs out in a red suit near the North Pole).
All season-tires: These are the easiest and most cost effective option if you live in an area that experiences all four seasons. They brake well on both dry/wet roads and snowy and icy roads, and prevent you from having to change your tires out at every change of the season.
- Size: You can find the size of the wheels that are right for your vehicle in your owner’s manual. You must match your tires to your vehicle size, but you can be a bit flexible with the load your tires can carry and the maximum speed your tires can reach. Talk to your mechanic about your needs and which size would be the best choice for you.
- Mileage Rating: This is basically how long your tires can last, or how much wear they can take take before they need to be replaced. For example, tires that have a grade of 200 will take twice as long to wear as tires that have 100 grade. The good news is that tires that last longer don’t always cost more, but the longevity of a tire is important to consider if you want to get a good value. However, the rating scale for different brands of tires are done by the manufacturer, so keep that in mind. Many of today’s tires last 50,000 miles or more before they wear out but heat, weather conditions, potholes, and not properly inflating your tires can also weaken them reducing their lifespans.