How to Buy Tires: A Step-by-Step Guide

Buying new tires is one of the most important maintenance steps for your vehicle. Balding, worn-out tires not only reduce your traction, but can also lead to a blown tire. Keep your vehicle safely on the ride and improve your fuel economy with the latest wheels and tires. Use this step-by-step guide to find the ideal tire option for your vehicle and driving habits.

Compare Tire Types

Consider the type of tire you’re currently using and what additional features you may want out of your new tires. Look at your OEM tires to find the speed and weight ratings. Your vehicle may be compatible with a range of tire sizes, but it’s typically best to stick with your OEM specifications. Look for the best tire type that fits your needs from these common options:

  • All-season tires: These dynamic tires are ideal for vehicles that won’t swap out their summer tires for winter-weather options. Reasonable traction is balanced with affordable prices and good fuel economy on pavement.
  • Ultra-high-performance tires: These premier tires are typically reserved for sports cars and upscale rides. These elegant tires are all-season options that offer superior handling in wet conditions while still providing a comfortable highway drive.
  • All-terrain tires: Choose all-terrain truck or car tires for the rugged grip you need. Navigate dirt roads, off-road trails and snowy conditions with these reliable tires.
  • Snow tires: For even more specialized drives through the snow, snow tires, or winter tires, are the best option for your vehicle. While not ideal for all-year use, the specialized rubber used in snow tires stays pliable in freezing temperatures.

There are many sub-categories and ranges of styles within these types, but these categories offer the most common features and styles you need for typical driving habits. Many drivers invest in a set of snow tires for the winter and all-season tires for the remainder of the year, so consider this alternative if you live in an area with heavy snowfall.

Consider Treadwear Ratings

The latest tire options come with a treadwear rating. This number helps you compare the longevity of one set of treads with another, but isn’t an exact measurement. You won’t be able to find out how many miles your tires are good for, as this number ranges with use.

Select Tires Based on Your Make and Model of Vehicle

Tires come in a range of sizes. Most tires will have a string of numbers and letters, which detail the tire width, aspect ratio, construction and wheel diameter. Look for the speed rating and load index, and be sure your tires comply with DOT safety standards.

Because of the wide range of factors to consider, it’s best to choose car and truck tires that match your OEM specifications. Once you get a handle on all the specifics of tire sizing, you can consider upgrading to a different size, speed rating or wheel diameter.

Find the Best Tires Online

Now that you’re ready to pick out the best tires for your vehicle, it’s time to find the best prices. Shop for truck wheels online to compare leading brands and discover how you can save money on a brand-new set.