How you buy new tires for your car will depend on where you live and what kind of vehicle you drive. In most cases, however, it’s a matter of conducting a little brand research and understanding the features that are available.
The first thing you need to know in order to buy new tires is the width of the tire required for your specific vehicle. This information is included in your car’s owner’s manual as well as on the side of the tire itself. It is represented as a P (for “passenger vehicle), followed by a three-digit number. For example, by Mazda B3000 is a P225, which means that the tire is 225 millimeters wide.
Some truck and SUV tires have an LT instead of a P, which stands for Light Truck. These tires can support more weight and are often used on vehicles that haul trailers or heavy materials.
Once you know the width of the tires you need, you will also need to write down the aspect ratio. This is the percentage ratio of the tire’s height to its width. My truck is a 70, which means that the tire’s height is 70 percent of its width.
The third important number needed to buy new tires for your car is the wheel diameter. My Mazda’s tires are manufactured to fit on a 15-inch wheel diameter. This is usually the last of the three numbers recorded in a row in your manual and on the tire. It is often written as: Width/Aspect Ratio ‘” Wheel Diameter (e.g. P225/70 ‘” 15).
The average driver will not be concerned with the speed rating, but it’s nice to know anyway. The speed rating indicates the maximum speed at which a tire can perform. The number is actually represented by a letter between A and Z, with A being the lowest speed.
If you are buying new tires for a car that will be driven in either mud or snow, you might look for the M/S or M&S designation on the tire. This indicates that the tires are manufactured for driving in all types of weather, including snow and mud. You can also buy studded winter tires for areas that experience heavy snow and ice. These have special tread designed to help you navigate snowy roads safely.
Before buying new tires for a car, conduct a little brand research. Find out which tires are used most effectively in your geographical area, and make sure you know of any recalls or other problems certain manufacturers might have had.
I never buy new tires that don’t come with some type of warranty. The specific warranty period will vary, and you might have to purchase an extra warranty to protect yourself from having to replace the tires again just a few months down the road. Ask the sales associate what types of warranties are offered and whether they vary depending on the brand you buy.
Buying a set of new tires is just the beginning. You have to get them mounted and have the old tires disposed of. When getting a quote at your local tire shop, make sure you ask what’s included in the price. That way you can accurately compare prices around town. The best way to do it, as Edmunds suggests, is to ask for the “out the door” price. In other words, what will it cost me to get on the road?
It can be stressful to buy new tires for your car, especially if it’s a new vehicle whose specs you aren’t yet familiar with. The good news is that, once you know what you want, it becomes much easier in the future.