What to Look for When Buying New Tires
At Terry’s Ford, we hope to be your trusted Ford service center in Peotone, and we like to offer some helpful tips for when you need to maintain or repair your vehicle. Buying a new set of tires is a lot like buying a new pair of shoes. Ideally you are looking for a balance of comfort, performance, and durability with either shopping scenario. Are you looking for fashion or function? Comfort or control? Most importantly, how much are you prepared to spend and how long do you expect them to last? Here are a few tips that can help make your tire purchase as easy as possible.
What’s Your Size?
First of all, let’s take a look at size. Determining the right size of tire for your vehicle is a little more complex than it is for your foot. Tire manufacturers provide a code with all of the relevant size information on the outside of the tire, so let’s break it down. Here’s an example of what you can expect to find:
- The first letter indicates the intended use: P for passenger cars, LT for light trucks, ST for special trailer, or T for temporary.
- The first two sets of numbers indicate the tread width and sidewall height ratio as a percentage.
- The following 2-digit number indicates the diameter of the wheel the tires are designed to fit.
- The next 2 or 3-digit alphanumeric code indicates the load capacity of the tire. Codes range from 60 to 125, supporting 550 lb to 3,600 lb respectively.
- Finally the last 2 or 3-digit alphanumeric code indicates the speed rating. A higher speed rating corresponds to a higher maximum speed and higher durability.
These last three criteria are the most important components of the tire code and will always be present, whereas some others may be omitted. Now that you can decipher the tire code, examine your current tires or consult your owner’s manual to determine what size tires you need.
Track or Trail?
Next, think about the conditions your vehicle will be encountering. If you make a lot of long hauls at highway speeds, a high-performance tire with a short stiff sidewall and a higher speed rating might be right for you. If comfort and low road noise are more important to you, then a taller and softer sidewall will give you a smoother, quieter ride with better cornering ability and steering responsiveness. It’s important to consider weather conditions as well. If you expect to encounter rain and snow for a good part of the year, snow tires will be a good investment. If you rarely encounter adverse road conditions, then summer tires will be a better purchase. As the name suggests, all-season tires can get the job done year-round but don’t perform as well in questionable conditions.
Let Us Help!
Come visit us at Terry’s Ford of Peotone for all of your tire needs. Our expert team of service technicians can answer all of your questions and simplify your shopping experience. View our entire selection online or come visit in person. We’re committed to your safety and satisfaction. Let us show you how today!