Right Tires For Your Car

Tire Ratings

These are the tire rating codes that you will find on your tires. It is important that you match the right tires with the proper ratings to your vehicle. Check your instruction booklet for the proper tires for your car, truck or SUV ! Using the wrong tires can make your car unstable while driving causing loss of control.

Alternatively, your tire dealer can recommend the proper tires for your car based on speed ratings and manufacturer guidelines. If you chose tires that are not recommended for your car there is a chance of experiencing instability at higher speeds which could lead to an accident. Additionally you may not be able to stop as fast or properly in an extreme breaking situation. Stick with the right tires for your car.

Tire Ratings

  • L 75 mph 120 km/h Off-Road & Light Truck Tires
  • M 81 mph 130 km/h
  • N 87 mph 140km/h Temporary Spare Tires
  • P 93 mph 150 km/h Q 99 mph 160 km/h Studless & Studdable Winter Tires
  • R 106 mph 170 km/h H.D. Light Truck Tires
For higher speeds consider:
  • S 112 mph 180 km/h Family Sedans & Vans
  • T 118 mph 190 km/h Family Sedans & Vans
  • U 124 mph 200 km/h H 130 mph 210 km/h Sport Sedans & Coupes
And even higher speeds, consider:
  • V 149 mph 240 km/h Sport Sedans, Coupes & Sports Cars
  • W 168 mph 270 km/h Exotic Sports Cars
  • Y 186 mph 300 km/h Exotic Sports Cars

I have always wondered about these speed ratings for tires. Who is going to drive at 300 kilometers per hour or 187 miles per hour on North American roads? The roads are not built for these speeds and if you do drive anywhere close to this level, chances are a police car is going to be in hot pursuit. While they may not be able to catch you, they will lay down spike belts somewhere ahead and channel you towards them so that you ruin an extremely expensive set of tires, possibly your car and probably lose your license for a long time or worse end up in jail.

If you happen to be racing on a circuit then yes you need these tires rated for high speeds, but no the average consumer who drives everyday to work or to the corner store for a quart of milk.

Winter Tires

On another topic, consumers also should drive primarily with all season tires in most areas on their vehicles, unless you live in areas were there is a lot of snow, in which case you should plan to install winter tires on your car for the winter. In some jurisdictions, it is a law for residents to have winter tires on their cars during the winter to make it safer for everyone to drive.

The recent winter of 2013 and 2014 has shown what happens when snow and ice hit an area which is not prepared for snow and ice. Everything comes to a standstill and no one can move because they are driving around on bald summer tires, summer tires. If they had all season tires or winter tires, many of these people who are blaming the government for no salt on the roads would have been able to get around much better and would not have been complaining about being on the road for 8 or 10 hours stuck in traffic that could not move. None of the talking heads on the news programs that were reporting these events talked at all about anyone having winter tires on their cars or even anything about tires. You can rest assured that people in the south are not using winter tires no even all season tires on their cars.


How To Select New Tires for Your Car

Having just gone through the trial of selecting new tires for my car and since this is a web site about tires, I thought it would be helpful to write How To Select New Tires for Your Carabout my experience and also some of the criteria that I used to finally decide which tires would be the right ones for my car. Of course we will all use different criteria, but hopefully this list will help readers and you may want to add them to your list. If you do not have one, perhaps this will help you when it comes time to put new rubber on your car.

Select New Tires for Your Car

We will expand on each of the items below:

  • Tire Size
  • Year of Your Car
  • Make
  • Model
  • Engine
  • Speed Rating
  • Road Condition – Mud, Snow, Rain, Seasons
  • Nitrogen
  • Valve Stems
  • TPMS
  • Mileage Warranty
  • Maintaining your Warranty
  • Repair Locations

Tire Size

When you go into see a tire dealer regardless of who it is they will check to make sure that they put the right size of tire on your car as defined by the manufacturer of your car. You can save time and also cross check your dealer if you already know the size of tire that is currently on your car.  My car’s tire size is P215 60 R 16

You can read this off the side wall of the tire and all of your tires on your car should be the same. If not you are going to have problems controlling your car at higher speeds. consult your owner’s manual to find out what tire size should be on your car and compare to what you see on your current tires.

Year – Make – Model – Engine

When you talk to the dealer, they will need to know the year your car was made, the manufacturer of your car , the model and the engine size.  This is the information that is used to select the size of tire from their database and to provide you a cross section of tire manufacturers to choose from.

Make sure you have this information with you when you go into see the tire dealer.

Speed Rating

The above information will also determine the speed rating of the tires that should be on your car.  Most people will never come close to the speed rating for your car or your tires. However you must make sure that you have the right speed rating for your car to ensure that your tires will not over heat and explode at high speed. Again your dealer will confirm this and you should ask him to explain.

Road Condition – Mud, Snow, Rain, Seasons

There are basically three general sets of  conditions that you need to be prepared for. Dry conditions – wet/mud  and ice/snow. Most people will opt for all season tires to allow them to have a good tire that can deal with all of the above conditions. However there are some locations that require snow tires during the winter and will not allow summer or all season tires in the winter time.

If you live in an area were there is a lot of snow, consider using all seasons in the summer and fall and then switch to snow tires for the winter. Traction is much better and you will be much safer as well.

All season tires perform well on plowed roads and wet conditions as long as there is sufficient tread dept.  If you are caught on the road with all season tires with lot’s of snow, pull off or at least go slow so that you can maintain control.

Nitrogen

I have used nitrogen filled tires for the first time over the past two years. Based on my experience, I would recommend using nitrogen filled tires. The gas is more inert and will maintain the tire pressure better than compressed air.

Not all locations will fill your tires with nitrogen and some will charge extra for this service.

Valve Stems

Most tire shops will replace the valve stem each time they replace the tire. This is standard and costs very little. The reason they replace these is to prevent any possible leaks that might crop up due to the current stems weakening from wear and tear.

TPMS

Cars with Tire pressure monitoring systems should not have any problem. The existing units should continue to operate as advertised and should not need replacement unless they have been damaged during removal of the old tire, damaged by the tire going flat while the car is still moving or just age.

Mileage Warranty

The mileage warranty that comes with the tire is basically how far you should be able to drive on your tires given normal average driving. Lower mileage tires are also cheaper as well since they will have less tread depth on them as well.

The mileage warranty you select will depend on how long you plan to keep the car and what your budget can afford at the time. Higher is generally better.

Maintaining your Warranty

The dealer will give you a list of things to do to maintain your warranty. These will include tire pressure maintenance, tire rotation , tire balance  and to ensure that your car is maintained properly to protect your tires. Read the specific requirements and ensure you follow these .

Repair Locations

This was very important for me. You might find cheaper tires at a small garage, but what happens when you are on a trip and need tire repairs immediately. Dealing with a national supplier such as Costco or Wal-Mart guarantees that there is a location not too far away regardless of where you actually are.

In our case I wanted coverage in Canada and the US. I wanted to be able to take advantage of the free tire rotation and balancing for the life of the tires regardless of were we were with the car.

Our next post will be about which Tire Supplier we chose and why!


Wide Tires vs Narrow Tires

Wide Tires vs Narrow TiresIf you enjoy taking a corner or two a bit crazy once in a while or you have found that you needed to swerve to miss another car you may find your car’s current handling performance a bit lacking. There are a number of things that affect the way a car handles corners including the width of the tires. Improving some  of these elements may increase the handling capabilities of your car.

Sliding off the road:

One of key components to how well your car corners is the tires. Tire width and compound of the rubber play crucial roles in keeping your car from sliding off the road.  Wider tires have more surface area in contact with the road which will help to  improve traction in all sorts of conditions. Wider tires also have the unfortunate side effect of decreasing your gas mileage due to increased friction with the road. Many people find that after they install wider tires that they see their gas mileage go down by 50 miles per tank!

Car makers routinely put such skinny tires on their vehicles to improve gas mileage claims. Wider tires with low tread depth may also  turn into skis in winter driving conditions.

Stickier Tires

Installing stickier or softer tires will help your dry traction considerably. Wide Tires vs Narrow TiresSofter and stickier tires will wear out much faster. Snow tires which are considered a soft tire and are excellent in cold winter conditions and will wear out much faster during hot summer conditions. They are softer so that they can conform to the hard ice surface of the road and bite into snow conditions. They also have much more tread on them that is deeper and can allow your tire to find traction in snow conditions.

High performance summer tires may also perform very poorly in wet and icy conditions,  since they are too hard and do not bend or adapt to the road conditions, which means you’ll probably want another set of tires for winter driving.

Wide Tires vs Narrow Tires

Wide tires often have a shorter side wall which will improve handling slightly when you go  around a corner at high speed  your tires will actually flop over sideways. If you have the shorter the side walls are the less likely  to let this happen, but unfortunately this also leads to a slightly rougher ride as there is less tire height to absorb bumps in the road.

Low profile tires are not mass produced and as a result you will find that the prices are much higher for a set of four tires.

Tire Size

Your speedometer is attached to your transmission, so regardless of what size of tire you have on your car your speedometer will register a specific speed based on the RPM’s of the transmission. I once borrowed a car and got a speeding ticket because the owner had installed oversize tires on his car. Although the speedometer registered that I was doing 60 miles an hour on the highway, I was actually doing 70 miles an hour.

He was not willing to pay for the ticket! If you are changing your tires from narrow to wide and not changing the diameter you should be ok, Going to low profile tires will change the registered speed on your speedometer. Note the changes and drive accordingly.

Body Roll:

Does your car feel like it is leaning over sideways when you tear around a turn? This is what is known as body roll. There are a couple of ways to deal with  this problem.

The easiest of which that is also the thing that has the least effect on ride comfort is to install a set of sway bars or anti-roll bars. They are usually thicker than the stock sway bars, which flex less and keep your car  from leaning as much during cornering. The difference these bars make can be tremendous. They can be installed yourself in a few hours and shouldn’t cost more than a few hundred dollars at most.

Another thing that affects body roll is your car’s center of gravity. The closer your car is to the ground the less effect the forces of cornering will have on it. Installing a set of lowering springs which bring your car an inch or two closer to the ground will improve handling considerably.

You should be aware though that putting lowering springs on your stock shocks will cause them to wear out faster, so it is recommended that you replace both at the same time to save money on labor in the future. Lowering springs also have a different spring rate than the stock springs and will most likely result in a much stiffer ride than you’re used to.

Remember: Drive safe, wear your seat belt at all times, and have fun!


The Right Tires For Your Car

The Right Tires For Your CarYou  have found the right kind of vehicle that suits your needs and that of your family. As well as features that are important to you such as power windows and steering, his and her temperature controls, an upgraded sound system, a sun roof and much more. Of course, making these selections, balancing them with your spouse and of course the price is one of the most difficult things you have to do. Buying the the Right Tires For Your Car is also important.

Buying The Right Tires For Your Car

Many people do not give a seconds thought to the tires, taking whatever the standard is for the vehicle you are buying. When it comes to choosing the right kinds of tires for your dream machine, there are just as many combination’s to choose from and they all will have an impact on your vehicles performance. If you live in a climate where snow is prevalent, you may also need to consider purchasing snow tires for your car and some people will go as far as buying an additional set of rims just for the snow tires.

When you purchase a vehicle, you need to know your car’s specifications  for tires. Specifications about the  right size, type, and thread of the tire are all very important. Most dealers can assist you with your selection and they can also tell you which tires will not work with your new vehicle and which ones will.

Tire Size is Very Important

The size of a tire for your car, SUV  or truck is actually specified on the car owner’s manual. If you have gone through the manual, you will have come across this information along with the correct amount of tire pressure that your tires should have. Any deviation from these specifications will change the intended performance of your new vehicle sometimes improved while with other tires they may actually make your vehicle unsafe.

You can also look for the label inside the glove box or on the driver’s side door post. These are locations where the proper tire size is usually located. Make sure that you purchase the right size.

Purchasing the Wrong Tire Size

If you buy an oversize tire, it can actually rub parts of your car and wear these parts down earlier than it should. On the other hand, an undersized tire could make your vehicle overheat. An over or under sized tire will also change the actual speed that your vehicle travels. The speedometer records the speed based on your transmission, however if you have a larger tire than specified, you will actually be going faster than indicated on the speedometer. If you are not careful this could also mean an expensive speeding ticket!

Performance & Specialized Tires

There are various types of tires available in the market. It should be important that you know just what type of tire would fit your vehicle best. If you have a performance vehicle, then you will want to get performance tire. Other tire types include winter tires, all season tires, run flat tires, all-terrain tires, and mud tires. Consult your car owner’s manual regarding this. Typically specialized tires, such as low profile tires are more expensive.

Sufficient Tire Tread

The tread of your tire is responsible for keeping your vehicle on the road despite various conditions. Mud and snow tires are seasonal tires. This means that it could be used in various types of roads even those that have snow, slush, rain, or mud. However, for most vehicles, the standard highway treads do the trick of keeping the vehicle on the road. You also want to make sure that there is always sufficient tread, regardless of the type of tire, to avoid skimming or sliding on wet roads. Tires with little tread cannot disperse the water and will float on the road which is very dangerous.


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