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Finding The Right Tire
First off, look at what you have on the car now. If you like the way the car drove and how long the tires lasted, buy the same size and brand. If you want different tires, there are lots of brands out there and they are all basically good tires. Some last longer, some wear better. Some are better in rain or snow, and others are better at higher speeds. The most important thing is to buy tires to fit your requirements and type of driving. Don’t let someone sell you a tire that you don’t need. Find a tire that is in the same price range that you wish to spend, and examine the numbers on the tires. They will tell you how well and how long they will last.
Understanding Your Tire
For example, the number may read P225/70-R15, 89H:
- P = Passenger Tire (LT = Light Truck)
- 225 = Overall width of the tire in millimeters
- 70 = Sidewall height (distance from rim to tread) as a percentage of the thread width (known as aspect ratio)
- R = Tire construction, this one is Radial (also, B = Belted Bias, D = Diagonal Bias
- 15 = Represents the size of the wheel in inches
- In this example, the tire has the number 89H. This is the weight capacity of the tire. However, in most cases, you will not see this heading on the sidewall.
- A speed rating is sometimes put in front of the R (or B or D). A straight R rating means that it is rated for speeds of up to 100mph. The manufacturer does not recommended this tire for speeds greater than 100 mph. Other speed ratings are: S=112mph, T=118mph, U=124mph, H=130mph, V=149mph, & a Z rated tire is for speeds in excess of 149mph.
- The V and Z rated tires have excellent dry pavement grip/traction but due to their soft rubber compounds, do not have a long life.
- A tread rating indicates how long a tire should last. This figure is written in small letters on the sidewall of your tire. The higher the number, the longer the tire should last. 100 is the basic tread wear rating.
- The traction rating works just like grading – ‘A’ being the best, ‘B’ is good, and ‘C’ is acceptable. This number is also found on the sidewall.
- Temperature ratings work the same – ‘A’ best, ‘B’ good, ‘C’ acceptable. If you drive your car very hard, you want a temperature rating of ‘A’ because a ‘C’ would fail faster under these conditions. Again, look for this number on the sidewall.
- If you’re thinking about buying new wheels with new tires, think about buying the same size for the front and the back (unless the vehicle came equipped with different size wheels). So when it comes time to rotate your tires, you can.
- If you want wider tires, anything over 225, go down in height size. For example, a change from 225 to 255 will widen your tires, but it will also be higher.