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The right set of tires ensures you’re getting to your day-to-day destinations without hassle or incident.(Photo: Juanmonino/Getty Images)CONNECT>TWEET>LINKEDINCOMMENTEMAILMORE
Having a set of quality tires on your car is crucial. The right set of tires ensures you’re getting to your day-to-day destinations without hassle or incident. And if you’re planning to hit the road for a trip, it’s doubly important to make sure you’re staying up-to-date on your tire upkeep.
If you’ve had your car for a while or put enough miles on it, a time will likely come when it’s time to replace your tires. But which set of rubber is right for your wheels? Here are a few things to keep in mind when tire shopping.
Know when it’s time to purchase a new set
Average all-season tires are the most common, run-of-the-mill tire type. They work in most normal conditions, and they last longer than most other specialized tires. Some last until 100,000 miles or more, but it depends on your driving conditions, mileage accumulation and other factors.
That being said, you should regularly check the treads and general tire wear-and-tear on your own, but it’s also wise to have your tires professionally inspected annually. This is especially important to do after five or more years of use — even if you’re not planning on purchasing tires from the inspector or their employer.
You should also always stay aware of how your vehicle is driving and handling in different types of weather. As tires age, they can affect your vehicle’s performance, and you may be able to feel when it’s time to make a change.
Remember that size and make matter
Based on your vehicle’s specs, most manufacturers recommend the size and type of tire that’s best to equip it with. And it’s important, if only for ease and convenience sake, to trust the manufacturer. There are many components that go into designing and manufacturing a tire, and you don’t want to make a purchasing mistake and end up with a set that’s not compatible with your car and your needs.
If you’re replacing your tires for the first time after obtaining your vehicle, you can find the appropriate tire size, specs and dimensions by examining the information on a tire’s sidewall. You can also find them inside your car’s glove box door, within its glove hatch and on your driver’s side door jamb. The numbers include information about the tire type, size, width, load index range, speed rating and other components that make the tire the ideal fit for your vehicle.
The meaning of the numbers and letters you’ll see are likely to be difficult to decipher and understand, but you can either jot them down or take a picture so you have the information with you when you visit a tire retailer. An expert should easily be able to match your specs with the appropriate new choice.
Identify what you’re looking for from new tires
Since tires are literally where the rubber meets the road, they have a heavy influence on the way your vehicle drives and handles, as well as overall ride smoothness and quality. Tires can even affect your fuel efficiency and the amount of noise you can hear from your car and outside sources while driving. So, if you want, for example, improved fuel efficiency and a soft ride, you might purchase a different set of tires than if you were looking for something with a higher-than-usual traction with a firmer ride.
You can do your own research and shop for a tire that fits your specific needs, but it may save you some time and effort if you go directly to a tire retailer and lay out what you’re looking for in your ideal tire —though there are plenty of online retailers where you can easily navigate the selection and find a set you like at a price you can afford.
Once you’ve found a set of four tires (and maybe a spare) that fit your desires and needs, remember to keep your tires in mind when it comes to overall vehicle maintenance. Like many of the pieces that make up a car, your tires will likely take better care of you if you care for them.
This story is provided and presented by Sunrise Chevrolet Buick GMC.
Members of the editorial and news staff of the USA Today Network were not involved in the creation of this content.
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