Guide to buying tires
It is important to take into account that even the tires produced by the same company offer very different tire models, which have different types of tread pattern, plus some do not have a protector, while others do. Because of this, we have decided to prepare a guide to buying the best tires today to help you choose the model that suits your needs, making a tire comparison. Also, if you are looking for the cheapest tire, you should know how much it costs before choosing.
It is important that you know a number of main factors, which you should take into account before buying your next tires, so that we can ensure safe driving.
First of all, it is advisable to know the type of road on which you travel regularly, taking into account that, if you usually drive on motorways, you will need a high-performance tire. On the contrary, if you use the car only to circulate around the city, you can choose a tire with lower rolling resistance. In addition, the way you drive directly influences your choice, since if your driving is sporty, then you will undoubtedly need a model with a higher level of stability and grip.
Determine the number of tires to change
Before running to buy the tire you need, it is important to see if it is necessary to change all of them or not, always taking into account that it is recommended to have the four tires as similar to each other , which will prevent you from having problems with maneuverability and control of the vehicle .
Know the tire number for your car
It must be borne in mind that, regularly, manufacturers recommend that users use tires with the same serial number as those that come with the car by default, but without a doubt, many times we will be able to install those of our choice. However, we must pay close attention to the code on the side of the tires to find out which models are supported. These numbers indicated on all tires refer to a code of three sets of numbers and two letters, which indicate the width of the tire in millimeters, the relationship between the height and width of the profile, the structure, the inner diameter in inches and the speed code.
You need to learn to read the numbers on the tires so that you can choose the correct model for your vehicle. Taking into account the following example, you will be able to learn to understand the numbering of the tires. For a numbering 135 46 67 89W, it would read as follows:
- 135: This value refers to the nominal sectional width of the tires and is expressed in millimeters. Keep in mind that the greater the width of the tire, the greater the contact surface.
- 46: This number represents the ratio between the height and width of the tire, expressed in percentage, therefore, the height of this model is 46% the size of the width.
- 67: This value refers to the diameter of the inner circumference of the tire in inches, so it is a reference when mounting the rim.
- 89: The load index is represented in the fourth value and a table is used that has the equivalents in kilograms of each number and refers to the amount of maximum weight that the tire supports.
- W: Lastly, the letter represents the speed index. As with the load index, this value is listed in a table that shows the maximum speeds this tire can reach without breaking down or breaking.
Types of tires
Regarding climate and temperature, it is important to take into account that, for each weather station, the characteristics of the tires vary a bit, so you should be sure which model you should choose if we take into account that there are models of summer tires , for winter or for the whole year. Each of these types of tires vary in size, while each offers a number of differences in terms of safety and performance, depending on the prevailing climate. For example, a summer tire will not have the same durability and grip in cold weather.
On the other hand, regarding the type of driving or vehicle model, we must know that wearing inappropriate tires can cause the car not to respond correctly to your maneuvers. On the one hand, we have tires for passenger cars, indicated for driving around the city or in case of using sports cars. On the other hand, there are 4 × 4 tires, which are ideal for driving in the mountains, on the highway or in the city and are used above all by off-road vehicles.
Frequently asked questions
Q1: How to read the tires?
It is important to know how the tires should be read so that you do not make any mistakes when choosing. The first number corresponds to the width in millimeters of the tire. The second value indicates the relationship between the height of the flank and the width of the section. Then follow the letter that indicates the internal construction of the tire. This is followed by another number indicating the inner diameter of the tire, followed by the number that continues to indicate the load index. Finally, the last letter refers to the speed index.
Q2: Why do tires wear faster in summer?
Tire wear generally has a lot to do with temperature, so it is important to know that winter tires wear 15% faster in warm months, as they are made of flexible materials that burn out quickly over hot asphalt. On the other hand, the summer tire has its least wear from 25 degrees Celsius, but has less endurance in temperatures below 10 degrees. In conclusion, depending on the type of tire, it will last more or less time in summer.
Q3: What tires can I put on my car?
The ideal way to find out which tires are compatible with your car is to look at the original tires, if you still have them fitted. On the side of the tire, you can find several printed numbers that indicate the characteristics of the tire and its performance.
Another place where you can find the codes is near the driver’s door, and finally, you can find the vehicle identification number near the base of the windshield, on the driver’s side, or even on the engine block.
Q4: When should I put winter tires?
Keep in mind that, for the purposes of the tires, winter is taken into account below 7 degrees Celsius. A summer tire running below this temperature is less efficient than a winter tire, therefore the right time to put on a winter tire is when the temperature drops below the minimum level.
Q5: Why do the tires crystallize?
Over time, tires tend to gradually lose their chemical properties, losing their elasticity, thus starting the process known as crystallization. The main causes of tire crystallization are when the vehicle spends a lot of time outdoors, enduring solar radiation and high temperatures. Moisture can also be a reason for crystallization and aging of the tire.
Q6: When do the tires expire?
It is important to bear in mind that, at present, very few drivers know exactly when their tires expire, since, when they need to renew their tires , they ensure that the date that indicates the beginning of the tire’s useful life is the one that appears in the DOT code that is engraved on the sidewall of the tire. This is nothing more than a mistake, since tires are not a perishable product, so that date is only a professional indication and does not indicate an expiration date .
Q7: What to do when the tires wear more in the center?
Sometimes we notice that the tires are worn all over the center , leaving the shoulders intact. This is due to the fact that the internal pressure of the tire is at excessive levels, causing a notable deformation in the tire and forcing it to rest mainly on the central part. The indicated solution for this problem is to adjust the tire pressure to the level recommended by the manufacturer.
Q8: How are tires measured?
Knowing how to measure your tires is a very important task that you must know to the letter to avoid any problems when you have to change the tire. It is important to know that each tire has a different size specially designed to perfectly fit the width of the rim that your car uses. However, you can find tires with other characteristics that will also fit the width of your rim.
On the sidewall of the tire you have installed on your car, you will be able to find a combination of numbers and letters that corresponds to the measurements and indexes related to the rim, the load and the tire itself.
How to maintain your tires
We already know how important tires are when driving, therefore, we must make every effort to take care of them in the best way to ensure that they work optimally. In the next section, we will briefly explain how you can perform optimal maintenance on your tires , so that they can provide you with all the security you need at the wheel.
The area of the tire that is always in contact with the road is called the contact area and the approximate measurement, in most cases, should be the size of the palm of your hand. However, there are many different models and sizes that may vary a bit and each car has its own specifications. To take care of the contact area of the tire, it is necessary to use the tire indicated on our vehicle.
Periodically, it is highly recommended to take a few minutes to check that the tire pressure is within the normal values recommended by the manufacturer. Otherwise, the tire contact surface will suffer further wear. Having an incorrect pressure level in our tires will significantly reduce their useful life, in addition to reducing the quality of adherence to the track, which represents a greater risk for everyone.
The correct pressure can be found on the back of the driver’s door, on the fuel tank hatch or in the car’s owner’s manual. To correct the pressure of your tires, you can go to a service station and fill the necessary amount of air.
Another characteristic that you must take into account is the depth of the tires, since, when the tires wear more than necessary, the vehicle notably loses its stability, so you can lose control of your car more easily , increasing the danger on the road significantly, especially on rainy days. If the grooves of the tire studs do not exceed 1.6 millimeters, then you should start considering making a replacement, since that value is considered the legal limit that the depth tires must have.
Check the valves
The next point you should consider is to check the condition of the valves and the caps of the tire, since they are responsible for keeping the tires hermetically closed. On the other hand, they help protect them against dirt and dust. If the valves or plugs have a problem, it is very likely that the tire has an air leak. Both the valve and the cap have rubber in their composition, so it is very common that, due to the high temperatures and speeds that a car reaches, these parts deteriorate. If you see the valve a little crooked, you should check its operation.
Align and balance the tires
The tires need to be properly balanced to ensure a safe and risk-free ride, so it is highly recommended to balance and align the tires each time you change or remove them from your car.