Never Take Buying New Tires Lightly
Did you know that your tires are one of the most important safety features of your car? Think about it – the tires are the only part of your vehicle that has contact with the road. Even the most powerful engine is at the mercy of your tire’s grip on the asphalt. Unfortunately, most vehicle owners don’t know a lot about tires and are unable to make educated decisions when shopping for them. At best, they might look up a tire size guide or briefly read about tire treads or tire pressure. In fact, a search for new tires may be as simple and straightforward as typing “tire shop near me” into Google. But if you are in the market for new tires and don’t know where to start, the staff at Blossom Chevrolet in Indianapolis can help.
Buying a new set of tires is an important decision, one you should not take lightly. Aspects like tread, grip, and rolling resistance should be taken into consideration when choosing the right tires because they make a significant impact on your vehicle’s performance and handling. In addition, other factors need to be considered. For example, do you choose all-season tires or winter tires? Here are a few things about tires you need to know that will help you learn more about them so you can make an informed decision when choosing the best tires for your vehicle.
When shopping for tires at Blossom Chevrolet, we will ask the make, model, and year of your vehicle to determine the factory tire size. This is the tire size that your vehicle was engineered for, and that will perform the best across a wide range of situations. However, it is not the only option. Some drivers prefer to change the size of their tires, either to optimize performance for specific situations or simply to improve their vehicle’s looks. Regardless of which size tire you ultimately choose, you will want to ensure that they have the appropriate load rating and can handle your vehicle’s top speed.
Determine What You Want from Your New Tires
You have probably been driving your vehicle for quite some time, possibly many years. Stop for a moment and think about your driving adventures and the overall experience behind the wheel. You might have realized there was a lot of ground noise, or maybe your ride was less than comfortable. Your tires have a major impact on ride comfort and road noise.
The tires you choose can help with your fuel economy. For example, tires with low rolling resistance will provide better gas mileage. If you drive around the city most of the time, tire noise might not be a factor. But if you log many miles on the highway, you might want a tire that makes less noise. Tread types are one factor that determines road-noise, so you should consult with our shop staff to help choose a quieter tire.
Read the Reviews
Being the smart shopper that you are, you always read the reviews to see what experts think about a particular product. This should hold true when shopping for a new set of tires. After all, even if you are familiar with tires, you are probably not an expert on the matter, and there are always new tires on the market. Check out subscription services like Consumer Reports to determine how well a particular brand or type of tire fares is various weather and road conditions, tread life, and ride comfort. There are plenty of reviews out there that can be done with a few clicks of your mouse. Read these reviews to help understand the differences in tires and help determine which is right for you.
In all likelihood, you will discover a few things about tires you didn’t know before. For example, you might be surprised to find out that some inexpensive tires wear just as well as the more expensive competitors. But then, you might also discover that you sometimes get what you pay for. Do your homework, and you will hone your tire-buying skills.
Seriously Consider the Vehicle Manufacturer Recommendations
Vehicle manufacturers will have recommended tire types and sizes for each make and model in the owner’s manual. Their recommendations are based on many factors, including the size of the vehicle, load capacity, weight, and off-road capabilities. It is a good idea to take these recommendations seriously and only choose something different if you understand all the trade-offs you are making.
When shopping for a new set of tires, you might want a bigger tire to enhance the look of your vehicle. However, changing the size of your tire could negatively impact the handling of your vehicle. Changing tire size could affect other aspects of your driving experience as well. Your speedometer reading is based on one full revolution of the tires on your vehicle, so a bigger or smaller tire could also affect your speedometer reading, which could lead to an unwanted ticket.
Changing your tire size could also impact your transmission. Vehicles with electronic automatic transmissions could suffer mistimed shifts when fitted with the wrong size tires. In addition to impacting uphill and downhill transmission changes, a smaller or larger tire size could lower gas mileage.
A smaller tire on your vehicle might be aesthetically pleasing, but it could come at a cost. The size of your tires is one reason why your vehicle doesn’t come crashing down. A smaller size will add stress to the tire, and your vehicle might not handle it well. That said, you can change the size of your tires, but these problems should be factored in. Adjustments can be made so that your vehicle will properly function with bigger or smaller tires.
Tire Size Guide
Tire size can be a bit overwhelming, and reading the sidewall on your tires can be an exercise in futility. All of those letters and numbers on the side of your tire mean nothing if you aren’t educated on the subject. There is a lot of information on your tires, more than you probably realize.
All tires are required to have a Department of Transportation (DOT) number, which states the tire passed all minimal standards set forth by DOT. The code on your tires represents the manufacturer, where they were manufactured, and the size. There might be an optional code that specifies the tread pattern, construction, and tire category.
Most tire sizes begin with a letter or letters that identify the type of vehicle for which they were designed. If your tire size begins with the letter “P,” it means it was designed to fit on passenger vehicles, which includes cars, SUVs, minivans, and light-duty pickup trucks. Tires branded with “LT” are designed for light trucks capable of carrying heavy loads or towing heavy trailers.
The numbers right after the first letters indicate the width of the tire across the widest point. For example, a 225 indicates the tire is 225 millimeters wide. The aspect ratio is the number right after the first slash mark. This is the ratio of the height of a tire’s sidewall to its width. So in a size P225/50R16, the 50 means the height of the tire is equal to 50 percent of the tire’s width, or 112.5 millimeters. When comparing two tires with the same width, the bigger the aspect ratio, the bigger the sidewall.
The letter right after the aspect ratio is the internal construction of the tire. The letter “R,” for example, represents a radial tire, which means the layers run radially across the tire. A “D” on the tire would indicate an internal body plies crisscross on a diagonal. Virtually all modern tires are of radial construction. The numbers right after the construction letter represent the wheel diameter and tell you the size of the wheel the tire is intended to fit. So a size P225/50R16 tire is made for a 16-inch wheel.
Hopefully, you feel better about shopping for new tires now that you are more familiar with them. Remember, your tire choice determines the quality of your ride, fuel economy, and speed and load of your vehicle. If you make the wrong choice, you can jeopardize your vehicle and perhaps even your safety. When shopping for new tires, give yourself a break, and let our knowledgeable staff help out. Stop by and shop our selection of new tires at Blossom Chevrolet today.