Individual tires can cost anywhere from $50 to well over $100 depending on the type you’re looking for and the type of vehicle you drive. Just multiply that by four, and you’re not exactly looking at a drop in the bucket when it comes to acquiring a new set of tires for your automobile. And that’s exactly why it’s important to do your homework and know when it’s getting to be time to replace your existing tires, as well as what tires you should target with your next purchase. To give you an idea of what questions you should be asking yourself to determine when it’s time to replace your tires, and what new tires might be the best fit for your situation, we’ve put together this list:
Question 1: How much tread do I have left?
Aside from a situation involving tire damage that cannot be repaired, or the overall age of the tire, the decision to replace a vehicle’s existing tires is almost always dictated by how much tread the current tires have. Testing the tread is simple to do yourself – just grab a penny and place the top of Abraham Lincoln’s head into the tread grooves. If you can see above ole’ Honest Abe’s head, your tread life is at its end and it’s time to think about new tires. Be sure to check the tread in various locations of the tire.
Question 2: What type of tire should I buy?
The five most common types of tires are all-season tires, winter tires, summer tires, truck tires and performance tires. Where you live – and what you drive – will largely dictate what type of tire is best for your vehicle. For example, if you live in the southwest U.S. where snow and ice are rare and dry, hot weather is a staple, summer tires might be best as they are ideal for warm weather conditions. If you live in a state that offers four seasons, all-season tires may be the best fit. You get the picture – just be sure to carefully analyze your situation. Aside from selecting the type of tire you want to buy, be sure to also pay attention to other ratings, such as how well it brakes and handles, how well it reduces driving noise and rolling resistance data.
Question 3: What are my dimensions and vehicle type?
Do you know your tire size? If you’ve answered “no,” don’t fret – it’s not difficult to find. Tire size is commonly found either in the owner’s manual (though the glove box and somewhere within your gas tank hatch are also common places where this information is located). If worst comes to worst, you can even find this combination of letters and numbers on the sidewall of your current tires.
Question 4: Should cargo or towing capacity be considered when purchasing new tires?
If you drive an SUV or truck and regularly haul heavy loads or tow the likes of campers and boats, then you need to consider other factors when purchasing new tires. For instance, make sure you find out the tongue weight, or downward force that the trailer applies to the hitch. Depending on the tongue weight, you may need to purchase a heavier ply tire. Additionally, you may also have to upgrade to a larger stock size and tires with more advanced tread patterns. For example, if you frequently tow a speed boat, mostly on highway roads to and from the launch site, then you’ll likely need a heavier ply tire with highway tread.
Question 5: How old is my spare tire?
This is an important question to ask yourself, even if you’ve never used the spare tire. Why? Because as we said back up in Question 2 – even unused tires or tires still in seemingly good condition have a shelf life, and this applies to spares too. So if your spare is approaching 10 years in age (or 6 years in age, per some tire makers), you’ll need to replace it as well.
Question 6: Is it better to purchase tires in pairs or all four at once?
While the answer to this question is based on your particular vehicle situation, generally speaking it is always best to purchase tires in sets of four. That’s because all four tires on a car should have a similar tread pattern and be of the same type of tire. This also ensures that all tires usually have the same amount of wear, which therefore enables more even tread wear and a smoother and more comfortable all-around ride. For some people, however, financial circumstances or other situations may lead to the purchase of only two tires at a time. If this is the case, be sure that the new tires are installed on the rear axle. However, different sizes and tire types should not be mixed and matched.
We sell tires in sets of four, two, and even single tires. You can start shopping here.