The Right Tires for Your Vehicle
At Blain's Farm & Fleet, we know you depend on your vehicle everyday, and the tires you ride on are an important part of that investment. With the wide selection of tires available, it is a good idea to consider several factors before choosing a tire that will work best for you and your driving needs.
Expert advice from Kirk M., Blain's Farm & Fleet associate for 29 years with over 10 of them spent at the Tire Desk.
The tires on your vehicle are one of the most important links between your vehicle and the road surface. Therefore, it's important to choose a tire that is going to be as reliable as the rest of your vehicle. Rest assured that tire technology is at an all-time high and our associates are equipped to find you a tire that fits your needs and is within your budget.
First and foremost, be sure to always match the speed rating and size of the tire with what the manufacturer originally placed on your vehicle. The size of your tire can be found on the side of the tire or in the owners' manual. Matching the correct tire size with your vehicle will ensure you are not lessening the quality of the ride of the vehicle.
You want to be sure to express your driving needs up front when buying tires. If you drive your vehicle often, or plan on keeping it for a long period of time, you'll want to be sure you purchase a tire that has a high treadwear mileage warranty. The "Good, Better, Best" theory comes into affect here. While you can purchase tires that are rated to 90,000 miles, that may not be what you need. A high mileage tire, one that is rated to 60,000, is a good baseline to think about.
Speed rating is something to also consider, as it impacts the handling and ride of your vehicle. The most common speed ratings you'll come across on the majority of tires are shown in the list below. Speed ratings signify the safe top speed of a tire under ideal conditions. For just about any street car, a H-rated tire will be more than adequate, unless the car will actually go faster than 150 mph. Also be aware that tires with higher speed ratings usually have shorter tread life ratings and, furthermore, will not actually last as long in the real world.
Q = 99 mph
S = 112 mph
T = 118 mph
U = 124 mph
H = 130 mph
V = up to 149 mph
Z = 149 mph and above
W = 168 mph
Y = 186 mph
Next, take into consideration the weather conditions in your area. Midwest Winters can be brutal on your vehicle and you'll want to be sure you have a tire that will handle aggressively in the snow. The deeper the siping, or grooves in the tire, the more traction the tire will have. Most customers will opt for a tire that is rated for all seasons. This means the tread pattern can handle all types of weather conditions. If you live in an area that is hit by snow more intensely, you may want to consider purchasing a set of snow tires to put on during the Winter months and replace with other tires once the snow melts.
Ride quality and noise are two other factors to think about. A low profile tire might look more aesthetically pleasing, but can actually provide a bumpier ride over bumps and potholes. The stiffer sidewalls of a low profile tire can increase handling, but will ultimately lead to a harsher ride. When considering noise, a customer should know that some tread designs are noisier than others. If most of your driving is on lower speed city streets, then this won't be much of a factor. But for highway driving, you'll want to consider your options. If low tire noise is important to you, be sure to ask about noise before purchase.
The most important thing customers should do after purchasing tires is continually protect their investment. Proper maintenance of your tires is critical to the life of the tire. The most important factors in tire care are: Proper inflation pressure and checking it often; Proper vehicle loading, Regular inspections and Good driving habits.
When you purchase new tires, an alignment is something you should consider getting at that time as well so you are sure your car is driving perfectly straight. This will prevent any premature wearing on your tires tires and a properly aligned vehicle will help keep the manufacturer's limited treadwear warranty valid. Be sure your tires are rotated and balanced at every other oil change to also ensure your tires are wearing evenly. Finally, you may want to consider purchasing the extended Road Hazard Warranty to protect your tires should the unexpected happen (ex. a nail puncturing the sidewall making the tire irreparable, or a similar situation).
Kirk M., Blain's Farm & Fleet associate for 29 years with over 10 of them spent at the Tire Desk.