With so many brands and so many variations, tire shopping can be very confusing these days. Which ones are the most cost effective? What are the benefits of performance tires and are they worth it? How important are the mileage ratings? What weather conditions are they designed for, and do they suit my driving habits? These are exactly the kind of questions that we will be exploring here to help get you better informed on your next purchase.
Driving habits top the list as the most important factor in determining which set of used tires to purchase for your vehicle. Considering details regarding how many miles are driven each day, whether we drive primarily on highways versus back roads, and how drastically the weather conditions change throughout the year are all important points that will affect your decision on which tires are right for you. For most of us, our vehicle is the primary, if not the only, method of transportation to and from work, which is why it’s important to look at where we live and what types of driving conditions we are encountering. If, for example, you live in an area where there are many hills and turns, you need to keep in mind that these conditions will noticeably affect the wear on your tires. Going up and down hills frequently is one scenario known to cause more stress on your tires, as well as your car as a whole. The weight of the vehicle transfers to the front or rear, depending on if you are going up or down the hill, applying significantly more pressure to that area, thus leading to more wear and tear. Another thing to take into careful consideration is the weather conditions. Different tires are intended for different weather conditions, whether it be frequently wet and rainy, cold and icy, or significantly hot with above normal temperatures.
Not just the conditions you drive in are important, but the way you drive, too. Is your vehicle a sports car, and/or do you drive it like one? More specifically, should you be looking into tires that perform well when cornering and breaking under extreme conditions? If so, a performance tire specially designed to handle cornering and braking at high speeds may be what you’re looking for. This is not the type of tire needed for your casual drives to and from work, or to pick up groceries. For the average driver, performance tires are overkill, and an unnecessary waste of money. These types of tires are built with a special compound that is softer than most, allowing them to stick to the road for a greater degree of precision and control. However, because it is softer, they also wear out much faster than normal tires, in addition to already being much more expensive in general.
Unlike performance tires, all-season tires are general purpose and, depending on the brand, most of these types of tires are rated for longevity, with a typical mileage rating between 40,000 to 80,000 miles. Keep in mind, however, that these ratings are simply estimates rather than guarantees. The true mileage you get out of your tires is dependent on key factors, such as driving conditions, vehicle weight, wheel alignment, and driving habits. Though called all-season tires, for many people they should really be considered more accurately as three-season tires because they aren’t specifically designed for below freezing temperatures.
Winter tires (also referred to as snow tires) are an entirely different animal. Much like performance tires, winter tires are made with a special compound that keeps them soft during the cold temperatures for optimal traction, which is vital while driving through the ice and snow. With that in mind, snow tires are not intended for summer use, as their name implies, and driving them is warmer weather conditions causes them to wear out rapidly and is not recommended.
When choosing the right tire for your car, buy the type that best suits your lifestyle and driving conditions. If need be, get different sets for different conditions. i.e. standard tires for the majority of the year, and snow tires for the winter months. If you have lingering doubts or confusion, your local auto service provider will have the advice you’re looking for. By simply considering what you drive, how you drive, where you drive, and the impending weather conditions, it won’t take long to find which types of tires will benefit you most. The important thing to remember is to not buy tires based on the upfront cost alone. Performance tires may sound like a superior quality product because of their price tag and name, but they are likely unnecessary for daily use for the average driver, and will need to be replaced 2-3 times more than a set of all-seasons. Likewise, skimping on all-seasons to last you an entire year may result in faster wear if you live in an area that experiences harsh winter conditions. Buy the tires that best suit your life, and the savings will come naturally.