When they are actually buying their car, very few people actually give too much thought to the tires, although they are some of the most important components on any car. That often means when those tires begin to show signs of wear and need to be replaced many vehicle owners are simply not too sure how to go about buying the right tires.
The Problem with Buying the Wrong Tires
If a tire fits, or just about, fits, does it really matter if they are not ‘an exact’ match for those specified in the owner’s manual? The simple answer is, yes it does. Riding on tires not quite suited to a vehicle can lead to increased tire wear. Reduced gas mileage and in some cases, as any personal injury lawyer could tell you, destabilization of the vehicle to the point where the wrong tires actually lead to a car accident. Your tires are one of the most important parts of your vehicle – right up there with the airbags. And ensuring you keep an eye on them is just as important as ensuring your airbags aren’t part of the Takata airbags recall lawsuit. Both could end up doing serious harm to you, and your car.
Tire Buying 101
Usually, if you are happy with the way your car has been “riding” and you feel that it handles pretty well then simply heading to a dealer and buying the same make and model of tire over again is usually the very best idea. For some car owners though the price of the tires that were originally installed on their car can come as quite a shock. If that is the case for you then there may indeed be a cheaper option available but you do have to shop very carefully.
If you look up the original “specs” for your vehicle you will usually find that two or three different types of tire are recommended by the manufacturer and one is bound to be cheaper than the other. As long as a certain tire is recommended for your vehicle it is OK to go ahead and buy it, but if you do opt for the least expensive option understand that for the sake of a few dollars you may decrease the performance of the car significantly.
For drivers who live in four season climates, the winter is often a time to change tires whether the old ones are worn or not. Specialist snow tires can make a huge difference to the way a car handles in ice and snow and the right set of tires can often be the difference between getting to work safely in a snowstorm or getting stranded at the side of a road someplace!
Used tires are another option available to those who want to save money on tires but again you have to shop very carefully and understand that if you buy used you are buying tires that will have a fairly short lifespan so in the end you may not really be saving yourself that much money after all.
Before you purchase used tires, inspect them yourself carefully, ensuring that there is enough tread left for them to be safe. How do you do that? It’s simple. Insert a penny into the tire tread groove with Lincoln’s head facing down. If you can see the top of the former president’s head then the tires are not safe for road use.
Taking the time, and being willing perhaps to invest a little more money, into finding and purchasing the right tires for your vehicle is time and cash well spent. Michelin first cam up with the advertising strapline ‘because so much is riding on your tires’ in the seventies, but apart from being a memorable marketing quote it is also as true now as it was back then and sage advice to keep in mind as you shop.