Improving Your Car

« Back to Home

Tire Buying Tips for the Newbie

Posted on

Tires remain one of the most important safety feature on your vehicle. It doesn't matter how good a driver you are; if your tires are in bad shape or poor quality, you've got less control over your car. If this is your first time buying tires, you may not know what you should be looking for or what to avoid. Read on to learn the top four tire-buying tips for the newbie.

The Right Size

Most people don't know what size tire they need, but it's easy to find out. Consult your manual, the inside panel of the driver's side door, the gas tank hatch, or do an internet search for your car's make, model, and year. Also, if you look on the existing tires, you'll see a series of letters and numbers which can be given to the sales rep that orders your tires.

Some drivers prefer oversized tires on their car or trucks, and these do have a lot of benefits when it comes to gripping the road and increasing the car's ground clearance. But there are disadvantages, too, like ending up with an inaccurate odometer reading, decreased turning radius, and a greater likelihood of hydroplaning.

Saving a Few Bucks

Don't sacrifice quality just to save a few bucks. Going with the cheapest tire can leave you with a set of wheels made with subpar rubber which simply isn't safe. They also tend to ride a little rough and can wear out unevenly. You don't have to go broke, but take the recommendations of the tire shop when it comes to standards you should be looking for.

Get 2 or 4 Tires

Say you have rear-wheel drive, and the back tires are the only ones worn down enough to need replacing. It may be tempting to leave the front tires alone, but unless your car's manufacturer clearly states it's okay to use mismatched tires, you're better off getting all four at once.

Matched tires give you better control on the road, and they wear down more uniformly, ultimately extending their life. If you absolutely can't afford four new tires, buy two of the same brand, size, and style of the ones you're leaving in place.

Consider Online Buying

Once you know exactly what tires you need, consider looking for them online. A lot of online retailers might offer discounts to first-time buyers, and many of those will send them to a local mechanic or tire shop who will put them on for a good price. To start comparing your options, visit resources like