Yesterday my daughter turned 21 (Happy Birthday, Monica!) and one of the ways she’s decided to celebrate this milestone is to buy new tires. I don’t exactly know how it all transpired, but because she’s taking a trip to St. Louis next week, she decided now would be the perfect time to do it. Besides, she told me that she’s noticed a lot of tread wear on the side of each tire, which of course, is a good indication that it’s time for replacements.
So, with that, she’s certainly got some tire choices ahead of her and she’s been looking into different manufacturers, prices and availability.
Tire wear depends on several factors, which includes your personal driving style and tire maintenance habits. One way to know if it’s time to replace tires is when tread-wear indicators appear, such as “wear bars” that look like narrow strips of smooth rubber across the tread and will appear when it’s time to replace the tire.
There are other ways to know when it’s time to replace the tires on your ride:
• The indicators at three or more places around the tire are visible.
• Cord or fabric is showing through the tire’s rubber.
• The tread or sidewall is cracked, cut or snagged deep enough to show cord or fabric.
• The tire has a bulge or split.
• The tire has a puncture, cut or other damage that can’t be repaired well because of the size or location of the damage.
Now that you know your car needs new tires, here’s how to buy them:
• Consider where you live. You’ll want to choose your tires based on worst case driving conditions for your area. All season tires are a good choice if weather conditions consist of light snow in winter, a little rain in the spring and a mildly warm summer.
• Manufacturers design different tires for specific results, For example, if you live in an area where you have summer and winter, you may want to have two sets of performance tires; one set for the fall/winter seasons and one for the spring/summer seasons.
• On the other hand, if you live where the weather basically stays the same all year, you can get by with one set.
• Generally, it’s a good idea to replace tires with the same brand, design and size.
• Look for the letter ‘P’ (which means “Passenger Vehicle”) and the tire’s width, height, ‘R’ (for Radial) and the last number – which is the diameter of the wheel the tire fits – all imprinted on the tire itself.
• Choose where you’ll buy your new tires. You can find new tires at car dealerships, service garages, stores like Sears and Farm and Fleet, or even the Internet.
• Remember that tires need special equipment for installation, so I think it’s handy to buy tires at the same place you’ll have them installed. They will also dispose of the old tires for you.
• Shop around for the best price. Tires are available in almost all price ranges, so be sure to get tires that fit into your budget. You can purchase a good set of tires at an affordable price.
• Keep tire wear to a minimum by rotating them as the manufacturer suggests.