How to Choose Road Tires

How to Choose Road Tires

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Finding the right tires for your car, truck, van or SUV requires comparing a number of factors including size, width, construction, speed rating and other considerations. With all of this information in hand, you can make a more informed purchasing decision when shopping for a new set of tires.

Sidewall Information

The type of tires you want for your car should match what is already on your vehicle. The sidewall of your tires includes important data, information which can help you as you shop for tires.

Alphanumerical Deciphering

All modern tires contain similar service type information essential to help the consumer compare tire sizes.

For example, a tire with the 245/50R17 95S on the sidewall can be understood by breaking down this coding.

The first three digits represents a tire’s cross section or section width. The two digits after the slash is the tire’s “aspect ratio” or sidewall height followed by a letter, usually an R, for radial tires. The next two digits represent the tire’s size, in this case 17-inch tires. Lastly, the two numbers followed by a letter is the tire’s load index and speed rating.

Bottom Line

When replacing tires, you have enough information on the sidewalls to help you with your purchase of new tires. Follow original equipment manufacturer guidelines found in your owner’s manual or through your tire dealer.

Replace all four tires at once, if possible. Otherwise, replace your tires in pairs and put the new tires on the rear wheels, moving the older tires to the front wheels. Always try to use the same tires on your vehicle — radials with radials or bias-ply with bias-ply. Radials, however, offer the best overall grip for your vehicle.

Resources

DOT.gov: NHTSA Proposes Consumer-friendly Tire Efficiency Labeling

How to Determine Car Tire Age

TireRack.com: Tire Tech Information/General Tire Information

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