Learning Center / Quick Tips for Buying New Tires


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If you have tires that are worn or underinflated, you put yourself, your vehicle and others at risk. It’s time for you to buy new tires. However, most drivers don’t know enough about tires to make an informed purchase. For many, it comes down to an affordable price, availability, appearance and reputation. But if you’re looking to save money and find quality tires that will last, at TreadHunter we developed a list that can help you understand which tires are right for your vehicle.

Tips for Buying Tires

1. Learning Tire Basics

Understanding the tire basics is essential to picking the right tire. Did you know there are different tread patterns for different types of tires? Or that the sidewall of a tire gives it ride characteristics? This is basic information you need to learn to determine which tires are right for your particular car. For example, if you want your tires to absorb more bumps, then a taller, softer sidewall is a better choice for you. But if you want enhanced cornering ability and a better steering response, then you want a shorter, stiffer sidewall. Also, keep in mind that your replacement tires should be a balance between ride quality, fuel economy, wear, load capability and cost.

2. Selecting the Right Tire

Generally, the biggest mistake people make when buying new tires is not using the correct tire size. You can find out the size by looking at the alphanumeric code on the sidewall of every tire. This code describes the tire’s dimensions, and helps you understand the size and the tire’s capabilities. For most tires, this code starts with a “P,” for passenger cars. Some may start with an “LT” to indicate the type of tire. “LT” stands for light-truck tires, which are designed to have higher load-carrying capacities and are usually found on pickups and SUVs.

The code also indicates the speed rating of the tire. The speed rating interprets the tire’s ability to dissipate heat, or how it prevents heat buildup. Heat is not a tire’s friend. The more heat, the faster the tire wears and might break down. If you’re driving on the highway most of your days, you’ll want a tire with a higher speed rating. A tire with a higher speed rating can dissipate more heat and give you better control and handling at higher speeds on the highway.

Another important factor in selecting the right tires is the load rating. The code on the sidewall also indicates the load-carrying capacity of that particular tire. When selecting brand new tires, you have to be careful not to select a tire with a lower load-carrying capacity. The load rating should be at least as high as the tire you are replacing.

3. Determine How Many Tires You Need to Replace

In most cases, people replace either two tires at a time or all four. But it is possible for you to just replace one tire, or even three at time. It all depends on your tire needs. If you’re only replacing one tire, you can find the exact match or find a new tire of the same brand, model, speed rating and load capacity. If you’re replacing two tires, replace the worn-out tires with a matched set for even wear and better performance.

For three new tires, find new tires that are the same or better quality, but be sure to check the wear on the used tire you chose not to replace. If there is not much tread life, you may just want to replace it anyway for better performance. If you are replacing all four of your vehicle’s tires at one time, there is no need for you to replace your used tires with the same brand or model. At TreadHunter, there are a variety of new tire options you can choose from online that are appropriate for your vehicle.

4. Do Your Research

Reading reviews are a great way to determine which tires you want to buy and get exactly what you want. You want to look for reviews that explain how long the tires lasted, the performance of the tire and how well it handles, information on the fuel economy and if there are any known issues or potential recalls. This information helps you get a better perspective of the quality of tires you think you want to purchase. By comparing several types of tires, you can make an informed decision and find the one that matches your exact needs, as well as your budget. You may also find that the most expensive tire may not be the best one to purchase.

5. Know Where to Buy Your Tires

When it comes to getting new tires, there are a lot of options to choose from. But which option is the best? You could purchase new tires at your dealership, but it could cost you twice as much as you originally intended to spend. Another option is purchasing new tires at your local shop, which offer reasonable prices and a service manager that can help you pick out the right tire for your car. However, you might have to shop around for a while to compare different prices and installation fees.

At TreadHunter, we make finding new tires quick and easy. We connect you to tire stores in your area to find the tires that you want, at the price you want. You can conveniently compare hundreds of new and used tires all at once, making your new tire search as stress-free as possible. If you’re looking for quality tires at an affordable price, register today to find the best local tire deals.