How to Take Care of Your Tires

Oct 21, 2019

You don’t find a lot of people who are crazy about tires. They can be expensive, boring and it can be hard to know which ones to buy. But tires are one of the most vital parts of your vehicle and making sure you know proper upkeep and which ones to buy is important. We’ll dive into the technical aspects to look for when buying tires and reasonable price points. 

How Do I Know What Tires My Car Needs? 

The information needed to select the right tire for your car is written in a code that can be hard to decipher. You can find the correct information for your vehicle printed on a sticker inside your driver side  front door.  For example, let’s say the code is the following: 215/60R16 91T 600A. The first number, 215, is the width of the tire in millimeters. The second number (60) is the aspect ratio, which is the sidewall height of the tire. This is the part of the rubber that you can see when you’re looking at vehicle from the side. The 60 also means that the sidewall height is 60 percent of the width of the first number. Then there is the (R16).  This is the size of the wheel rim in inches. The numbers listed after that are for the Speed Rating (91T) and the Treadwear Rating( 600A).  The Speed Rating (91T) is a code for the maximum speed that the tire is capable of before it becomes unstable. “T” being the most common code, with other letters representing different maximum speeds the tire is capable of performing. We recommend following the posted speed limits so that you don’t have to worry about this number too much. Treadwear Rating (600A) defines how long the tire should last. Most passenger tires range from 320-800A depending on the quality. The higher the number, the longer the tire should last in mileage.  The correct size and ratings allow your vehicle to perform at the highest efficiency and safety.

How Much Should I Pay for Tires? 

Now, enough with that educational session.  Let’s move on to how to decide which tires to buy and how much you should be spending. The more expensive tires often provide greater safety, traction, and longevity.  To decide on which type, brand, and tread design relies on the wear and tear to the vehicle and the climate that you live in. Here in Iowa, we see the extremes of every season.  So in most cases we want a tire that can handle sunshine, heavy rain, ice and snow. This means tires that are on the higher end for quality and performance are the best. There are tread patterns designed for every situation imaginable and the best way to determine which one suits your driving habits is to go have a chat with your local expert. Have a shop inspect your tires regularly for needs, rotations, and pressures.  We recommend at least every 5,000 miles for maximum usable life. This also allows you to plan ahead when they’re just starting to get thin as opposed to when you’re sliding through the intersection you were confident you’d be able to stop at.  The bottom line is that it’s absolutely worth the money to invest in higher quality tires that will last longer, and quite literally run circles around the inferior options. Stop into Shade Tree Auto to speak to one of our tire experts about the right tire choice for your vehicle.