Tires are the point of contact between you and the road. Your tires are your first line of defense against a loose, slippery or icy surface. Thus it’s important to do some research prior to buying your next set.
Assess Your Terrain
How do you drive? Does it rain where you live? Snow? Or is Mother Nature not much of a concern? This is important because tires come with different situations in mind. There are tires that are good for rain. Good for people who live in Seattle. You can buy knobby snow tires as well if perhaps you live in Colorado. Or, if weather isn’t a concern, you can buy high performance racing tires or tires formulating at offering the most miles per gallon.
What’s popular to do in snowy states like Colorado is to buy two sets of wheels and tires: a summer set and a winter set. The summer tires are quiet on the highway, offer good MPG and provide great handling around corners on a clean road surface. Snow tires are the complete opposite. Those tires provide grip in snow and help even low powered cars dig their way through a snowy mountain pass. So when considering tire options for your car, it’s wise to get two sets if you live in a place that receives a lot of snow.
If you live in an area that gets every season like Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, etc. then consider getting all-season tires. It’s a ‘catch all’ category. Some people call it a ‘no season’ tire but honestly this is the type of tire nearly everyone gets. It covers you no matter what.
Assess Your Priorities
What kind of driving do you enjoy most? Do you occasionally go off-road (whether on purpose or not)? Do you drive a sports car and want the maximum amount of grip possible? Or do you drive a Prius where your primary concern is miles per gallon? Perhaps you are a busy mom and don’t want to deal with road flats. There are some tires that can run for miles even after a puncture.
Where to Buy
When getting a new set of tires, it’s important to shop around prices vary wildly. Like everything I buy, I prefer to buy tires online. There are many online stores that’ll ship tires directly to the tire shop. Give it a quick Google.
You can also buy tires used (online or otherwise). This can be a good option for someone who only needs a set of winter wheels for a few months out of the year. Or someone who needs new tires but was just laid off of work. Used tires go for just a fraction of what they cost new.
Before buying used tires, understand that tires have an expiration date essentially. Tires get dangerous after time. It’s debated how long a tire is safe but generally the number is 10 years after the manufacture date. The manufacture date is printed on the side wall of every tire.
Other Things to Remember
Mounting tires can be an ugly process when done wrong. The main problem is a tire shop can damaged the rim of your wheel. Make sure your tire shop won’t do that. Get a guarantee. Or at minimum, take pictures of your wheels before the tires get mounted. That way, you have proof if the shop damages your wheel.
Also keep any warranty information. Sometimes tires don’t last as long as they should. Make sure to rotate your tires regularly or else your warranty may not apply.
You’re smart for taking the time to appreciate the importance of choosing a tire. Good luck choosing!
I’m a personal finance freelance writer and webmaster. I welcome you to visit me at www.thefrugalpreneur.com