There are a ton of car tire options in the market, so picking one can be a challenging task. If this is your first time shopping for new car tires, there are a few things you need to know. Below, we discussed the basic questions you need to ask to get the tire that suits your car.
What tire type do you need?
Car tires are available in various types, which basically differ in performance and longevity. Here are the common options:
- All-season tires. Most car owners will opt for all-season tires. These are great for long mileage and come in S and T-speed ratings (112 to 118 mph).
- Performance all-season tires. A tad more durable than all-season tires, this option has a better cornering grip. However, they don’t last as long. Overall, performance all-season tires are available in H and V-speed ratings (130 to 149 mph).
- Summer tires. These are ultra-high performance tires typically used on performance sedans and sports cars. It can be tricky to differentiate from all-season types. The difference is that summer tires don’t have Mud & Snow sidewall designations.
- Winter or snow tires. These tires have unmistakable snowflake symbols on the sidewall. If you’re planning to replace your car tires with winter types, you should do all four for optimal braking.
- All-terrain truck tires. This tire type is reserved for SUVs and pickups. It also has a much larger size than other tire types. You’ll also notice a more rugged tread pattern for added traction.
What tire size suits my car?
Size matters a lot when buying new car tires. It guarantees a perfect fit and excellent handling of your vehicle.
Every tire has its size indicated on the sidewall. This makes it easy for car owners to match it with the size already installed in their vehicles. If you’re not sure what tire size your car has, you can always refer to the manual or inquire directly to the manufacturer.
What speed rating do I need?
Every car tire bears a speed rating. Buying tires with invalid speed ratings could potentially void your car insurance. It will also put you at risk, especially if the tires have a lower speed rating than needed.
Here are the speed ratings you’ll usually find on car tires:
- T-rating. This means that the tires can be used at a maximum speed of 118 mph. It’s typically used on sedans and minivans.
- H-rating. Tires with this rating can be used for a maximum speed of 130 mph. It’s mostly fitted on sports sedans.
- V-rating. It bears a maximum speed of 149 mph and is used on sports cars.
- W-rating. With a maximum speed rating of 168 mph, this is typically reserved for high-end sports cars.
- Z-rating. This is the highest tire rating you can find, with a maximum speed of above 149 mph. It can be used on sports cars, but you should consult the manufacturer first.
Your choice of tire will impact your vehicle’s safety, road performance, and comfort. It’s important to get tires that match your vehicle to avoid problems in the long run. When in doubt, you can always ask a dealer for the right pick.