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Wesley Gomez
Wesley Gomez

Tire Buying Guide



As a general rule, we recommend replacing all four tires at the same time. However, sometimes you may only need to replace two of your tires. If this is the case, we recommend mounting the new tires on the rear axle. This will add traction and increase the overall safety of your vehicle.




tire buying guide


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A first glance, it might seem like the best value tire is the one that costs less. But instead of looking at up-front costs, it might be worth looking at the cost over time. When we break down the cost-per-mile, a higher quality tire might end up being the better value. Not to mention improved ride quality, superior handling and enhanced safety. Depending on your driving habits, spending a bit more now could save you money down the road.


Winter tires are generally used when the temperature remains consistently near freezing. Winter tires can provide improved grip on icy and snowy surfaces, and are one way you can prepare your car for driving in the snow.


Choosing the right tires and knowing how to care for them is critical to safe driving. Be prepared for a flat tire, find out how to fix a flat tire without a spare and make sure your car insurance provider offers roadside assistance.


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Yes, tires can all look alike. They are round. They are made of rubber. They have treads. And they are perhaps THE most important safety feature of your vehicle. Just like shoes, tires are made by multiple companies including Bridgestone, Continental, Goodyear, Michelin, Hercules, Dunlop, Yokohama, and more. And like designer shoes, choosing the right tire brand depends on so many facets of your vehicle and driving habits.


Perhaps the biggest mistake consumers make is choosing the right tire. And this is as easy as getting down and dirty to look at the code on the sidewall of your tire, a combination of letters and numbers. These indicate the size, type, and performance of the tire.


When you do finally take the step to shop around (see below), most tire dealers will ask the make, model, and year of your car. But you may still have different size options as well. Your choices may include bigger tires fill the wheel well, or smaller less expensive tires.


Or, you can order your tires through Amazon or a third party supplier like Tire Rack or Tirebuyer; these sites promise the lowest possible price and are great for people who have a favorite mechanic or can handle the installation themselves.


Replacing worn tires is a great way to help your vehicle to achieve optimum traction, handling and braking. If you're having problems deciding when to start shopping, follow these two simple tips to see if it's time for new tires:


It is impossible to predict when a tire should be replaced based on its calendar age alone. Although no widely accepted scientific research exists to show that chronological aging alone adversely affects a tire, and if so, how those effects occur, over what time period, etc., the longer a tire is in service, the more opportunities there are for it to be exposed to adverse environmental or service conditions. Therefore, the older a tire the greater the chance that it will need to be replaced due to service-related or storage conditions.


Simply provide the year, make and model of your vehicle, and our advanced Tire Finder will match your car to the right tires for you. You may also use our Tire Finder to search for tires with your tires size. You can find your tire size on your tire's sidewall, on the placard inside your driver's side door or in your owner's manual.


How you use the vehicle, is also important to selecting the right tire. Your tire choice may be different if you just drive around town versus if you take frequent long trips or are driving both on- and off-road.


You should also consider what tire benefits are most important to you. You may want a smoother, quieter daily commute. Or, you may want enhanced traction for control in winter months. If you take your vehicle off road, you may want a more durable tire for increased stability. The more specific you are, the better tire choice you can make.


You may have several tire options to choose from. Our tire selector can help you narrow down your options based on your needs and preferences. Our experts are also available in-store and via online chat to answer anyquestions you have. Once you've settled on a set of tires, it's time for your installation.


Brake fluid is to your brakes what oil is to your engine. When it gets low or contaminated, it can compromise your entire braking system. Our service experts will check your brake fluid for free and replace it with high-quality fluid if necessary.


Some premium designs include raised stone ejectors to prevent stones from embedding in the tire and causing flats. Other features include raised bars to eject mud, interlocking tread blocks to increase traction on dry pavement, serrated shoulders to enhance maneuverability in sand and snow, and threedimensional sipes to provide more biting edges to increase traction in snow.


But switching does provide at least one benefit-better ride quality. Passenger tires are smoother and quieter at highway speeds. If you use your truck or SUV more like a family car than a hauling vehicle and you drive it on paved roads, check out passenger tires. But rely on a tire pro to find the right tire for your vehicle.


Starting in September 2007, all carmakers were required to install a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) that warns you when tire pressure falls to 75 percent of the recommended pressure. The TPMS sensors are either part of the valve stem assembly or strapped around the rim inside the tire.


With a quick google search you can see how to do it yourself. In general, your vehicle either has a spare tire and changing tools, or a tire inflation kit with an aerosol spray tire sealer, and a compressor. If you don't feel comfortable doing it yourself, or if you need a new tire installed, see our article on choosing a mobile tire repair service so you can locate someone to do this cost effectively and quickly.


All of that information is contained in the information on the sidewall of your tire. The Tire Industry Association provides an excellent guide to finding the tire size, the UTQG rating and the date code of your current tires at its website.


Tires are an important, significant investment. The experts at Car Talk are serious about top tire recommendations because your safety on the road depends on them. We took tire rating a step further and launched our Golden Wrench Awards for excellence in the tires space.


Michelin has been a leader in the tire industry for over 100 years. They are a very well known option for consumers, as they maintain positive reviews and ratings with mechanics and owners alike. The company is one of the top-selling tire companies in the world. It also owns BF Goodrich, which is focused on SUV and performance tires, and the more budget-friendly Uniroyal brand. Michelin is known for its long history of innovation and receives consistently high marks for quality, and has a strong environmental ethic. Michelin has won multiple awards in our Golden Wrench Awards this year.


Michelin's Pilot Sport 4S is our Golden Wrench winner and top pick for Best Performance Tire on the market today. This superior tire scored the highest marks for flexibility, grip and traction. The Pilot Sport 4S is a precision tool that offers spectacular performance. The unique asymmetric tread pattern and innovative, durable rubber compound used in the creation of this tire make for superior handling and wet braking performance. This tire maintains excellent reviews and ratings for performance and traction. This excellent performance tire was developed and designed with care for the serious sport driver.


The Michelin Defender LTX M/S is an all-season tire that combines true all season capabilities with durability and long treadlife. This tire offers a smooth, quiet ride with traction in dry, wet, and winter conditions, including light snow. The rubber compound used for the Defender series holds up better in tough situations with a tread pattern to manage a variety of road conditions. Its four-channel pattern has multiple grooves to help push water away from the contact patch and improve traction. There are also twin steel belts to provide strength and durability for handling heavy loads.


The CrossClimate2 is our Golden Wrench winner and top pick for Best Car/Sedan Tire as well as Best All Season Tire. This tire was designed with stunning innovation and a thermal adaptive all-season tread compound. The CrossClimate2 has superior dry, wet and winter handling with a tread compound that stays flexible in low temperatures. It also has a three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) rating. In addition to specially formulated rubber, the tread pattern has steep angles that funnel water away from the contact patch to reduce hydroplaning and increase traction. Michelin employs its PIANO noise reduction tuning, which has a tread pattern that reduces airborne noise.


The CrossContact LX25 from Continental is our Golden Wrench winner for Best SUV/Crossover tire due to its impressive all-season capabilities as well as great handling and traction in dry, wet and light snow conditions. The CrossContact LX25 employs multiple technologies to provide a luxurious ride quality while providing true all-season traction. From sound deadening integrated directly below the tread layer, continuous ribs to minimize the noise, and a tread compound designed to maximize fuel economy and tread life, Continental has achieved an elusive combination of excellent traction, stunning handling and enduring, quiet tread. 041b061a72