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How to Choose Tires for Your Car

Buying tires? You might want to start by pinching pennies.


  • Step 1: Check for wear Check whether your tire needs replacing by placing a penny into different tread grooves across the tire. If the top of Lincoln’s head remains visible, the tire needs replacing.
  • TIP: Replace one tire with the same kind of tire as the other three. Replace two tires with the same or better-quality tires. If four tires need to be replaced, you can tailor their size and quality to your driving needs.
  • Step 2: Find the tire size Check the vehicle owner's manual or the driver's side door placard for your tire size.
  • Step 3: Visit a tire store Visit a reputable, full-service tire dealer who carries your tire size in multiple brands.
  • Step 4: Look at suitable tires Ask to see a tire that is suitable for the conditions under which you drive while staying within the vehicle’s tire size requirements.
  • TIP: All tires have a size code on the sidewalls that display the tire’s dimensions. Ask the tire dealer to explain the coding if you don’t understand it.
  • Step 5: Determine the tire’s life expectancy Consider the tire’s projected life expectancy. The Uniform Tire Quality Grading rating ranks tires from the same manufacturer, but not across brands.
  • Step 6: Select an appropriate speed rating Choose a tire with a realistic speed rating. While it is possible to buy a tire rated for 150 mph, opting for a lower, more realistic speed rating will save you money.
  • Step 7: Consider how the tire rides If you want a smoother ride, select a low-profile tire with a high aspect ratio.
  • Step 8: Consider the tire’s noise level If noise is a concern, ask to see a quiet tread design.
  • FACT: Most people who purchase tires pay more attention to the reputation of the distributor than to the brand name of the tire.

You Will Need

  • A penny
  • Your caru2019s tire size and load rating

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