Tips for Tire Buyers

Dear Tracy,
Do you have any tips for a first time tire buyer? Specifically I am wondering if it is a good idea to buy tires online to get the best price. I would also like to know what things are important to look for and how to know the best choice for my vehicle.
Nick F
 

Dear Nick,
While you might hear about some “deals” when buying tires online, I strongly suggest finding reputable, trust-worthy tire retailer in your area who will be there to not only assist you in the tire buying process, but also provide after sale service and support. As someone new to the tire buying process,  it will be especially helpful to have the guidance of a knowledgeable tire dealer who can recommend the type of tire that will best fit your vehicle, driving style and desired price point. You can really trust a dealer who asks you questions about the type of driving you do and guides you in understanding factors such as tread wear, ride and handling, and driving conditions.

Even if you see the lowest prices online, consider the fact that buying from a local source will give you the confidence that you are getting the right tires, and have a trusted place to go if and when you need support. The best way to find a dealer you can trust is to ask friends, co-workers, and neighbors. Someone  might have a great recommendation in your own neighborhood.
Before you start shopping, it is a good idea to have a basic understanding of tires. Here are some points to consider:

Manufacturer Recommendations
Make sure your tire selection is in keeping with your vehicle’s specific manufacturer recommendations for the best safety and performance.

Regional Climate
Consider the kinds of weather you get in your area. Do you have much rain or snow fall? Choose the safest selection to handle the road conditions you will encounter.

Ride Quality
Many models will look great on your car, but not all tires will provide a smooth and comfortable ride or solid handling.

UTQG Rating
The U.S. Department of Transportation requires each manufacturer to grade its tires under the UTQG (Uniform Tire Quality Grading)labeling system and establish ratings for tread wear, traction and temperature resistance.

Tread Design
Tread design varies between tire brands and models. Some are actually noisier than others. If you do a lot of highway driving, you should consider consider this. Your tire dealer can help you decide on the best tread design for you.

Buy a Full Set
Be sure to replace all of your tires at once for optimal performance and even tread wear.

Protect your Investment
Once your tires installed, be sure to have related checks such as alignment and balance. It is possible for a vehicle maintenance problem that caused your old set of tires to wear out too rapidly will also ruin your new tires.