Finding The Right Tire…
First off, look at what you have on the car now. If you like the way the car drove and how long the tires lasted, buy the same size and brand. If you want different tires, there are lots of brands out there and they are all basically good tires. Some last longer, some wear better. Some are better in rain or snow, and others are better at higher speeds. The most important thing is to buy tires to fit your requirements and type of driving. Don’t let someone sell you a tire that you don’t need. Find a tire that is in the same price range that you wish to spend, and examine the numbers on the tires. They will tell you how well and how long they will last.
Understanding Your Tire…
For example, the number may read P225/70-R15, 89H:
• P = Passenger Tire (LT = Light Truck)
• 225 = Overall width of the tire in millimeters
• 70 = Sidewall height (distance from rim to tread) as a percentage of the thread width (known as aspect ratio)
• R = Tire construction, this one is Radial (also, B = Belted Bias, D = Diagonal Bias
• 15 = Represents the size of the wheel in inches
• In this example, the tire has the number 89H. This is the weight capacity of the tire. However, in most cases, you will not see this heading on the sidewall.
• A speed rating is sometimes put in front of the R (or B or D). A straight R rating means that it is rated for speeds of up to 100mph. The manufacturer does not recommended this tire for speeds greater than 100 mph. Other speed ratings are: S=112mph, T=118mph, U=124mph, H=130mph, V=149mph, & a Z rated tire is for speeds in excess of 149mph.
• The V and Z rated tires have excellent dry pavement grip/traction but due to their soft rubber compounds, do not have a long life.
• A tread rating indicates how long a tire should last. This figure is written in small letters on the sidewall of your tire. The higher the number, the longer the tire should last. 100 is the basic tread wear rating.
• The traction rating works just like grading – ‘A’ being the best, ‘B’ is good, and ‘C’ is acceptable. This number is also found on the sidewall.
• Temperature ratings work the same – ‘A’ best, ‘B’ good, ‘C’ acceptable. If you drive your car very hard, you want a temperature rating of ‘A’ because a ‘C’ would fail faster under these conditions. Again, look for this number on the sidewall.
If you’re thinking about buying new wheels with new tires, think about buying the same size for the front and the back (unless the vehicle came equipped with different size wheels). So when it comes time to rotate your tires, you can.
• If you want wider tires, anything over 225, go down in height size. For example, a change from 225 to 255 will widen your tires, but it will also be higher.
• Minimum tire tread depth recommendations: 2/32″=Legally worn out in most states, 4/32″=Minimum for driving in rain, 6/32″=Minumum for driving in snow
• Replacement tires for any vehicle must be of load range and load capacity (by inflation) that are capable of supporting the load of the vehicle’s originally installed (O.E.) tires. Failure to install tires with adequate load capacity will result in tire fatigue and sudden tire failure leading to possible loss of control or an accident.
• Replacement tires must have a speed rating equal to or greater than the original equipment tire. Failure to do so may increase braking distances, significant changes in maneuverability and alter handling characterstics.
• Allways refer to the tire information “placard” for data on the vehicle’s orginal equipment wheels and tires.
• When ever new tires are installed it is recommended to have the alignment of the vehicle inspected for proper settings to ensure proper tire wear.
Horizon Auto Center has dozens of top-of-the-line brands in-stock. Call Heath for details and pricing.
Most people are well aware that tire failures can be fatal. With this in mind, get in the habit of visually inspecting daily for sidewall bulges and checking air pressure at every gas stop. After all, a tire pressure gauge is a lot cheaper than a new set of tires or an accident.
Proper inflation pressure makes tires last longer and it improves the vehicle’s fuel economy. Assuming that the wheels are properly aligned, under-inflation causes the tires’ shoulders to wear faster than the centers, and over-inflation makes the center strips go bald earlier than the shoulders. Your owner’s manual will recommend the correct pressure for your vehicle.
Worn tires may work okay in dry weather, but they can become downright dangerous in the rain. Periodically inspect the sidewalls for cracking or splitting. Old tires, even with low mileage, can be dangerous because the rubber cracks and hardens over time. Any tire over five years old should be changed. Bottom line: Blowouts can be fatal!
The image below shows a vehicle that suffered rapid air pressure loss in a single tire that lead to a blow-out which in turn caused the vehicle to overturn and rollover.
Please check your tire pressure and the condition of your tires often so this does not happen to you.