4 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Tires

Auto Smarts

Welcome to the Inside Track, where Farmers comes together with NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne’s No. 5 Farmers Insurance team at Hendrick Motorsports and other NASCAR partners, to give you their professional advice on everything from auto maintenance to healthy living tips.

 

Buying or replacing tires on your car can easily overwhelm the average driver…mostly because tires aren’t “one size fits all” and they can range in features.

To make sure you’re getting the right tire for you, your vehicle, and your driving needs, it’s important to know a few things before heading over to your local tire retailer. That way, you’ll be better prepared to talk tires and get what you really want.

The tire experts at Goodyear suggest, that to get maximum performance from your tires, it’s important to make sure you have the right type of tires for your vehicle and your driving habits. Using improper tires can actually deter from your vehicle’s performance.

Check out these four helpful tips to get the most out of your tires:

 

1) Chose the tire that best fits your vehicle

It’s not just the tire size that’s important. Consider the weather and road conditions you commonly commute in. Also, take into account your driving style and habits on the road. Hit some rough patches on your morning drive? Do a lot of city driving or put on more highway miles? Ask yourself these and similar questions when buying tires. In the end, getting the right tire is about what’s most important to you.

 

2) Follow the manufacturer’s replacement tire recommendations

When it comes to cars, in a lot of situations, your manufacturer knows best. That’s particularly true when it comes to tires. Whether you’re replacing a set of worn tires, or a flat with a new one, see a professional installer to make sure that your new tires have the proper clearance, load-carrying capacity, and inflation pressure.

 

3) Consider your driving environment

Some tires are made to face specific driving needs like commuting, local road conditions or off-road conditions. These things can impact your choice for tire, so make sure to discuss this with a professional.

The More You Know (Understanding Tire Categories)

  • All-Terrain Tires
    • Also known as off-road tires, mud tires, or 4x4 tires, these offer tough traction for both on- and off-road driving and are built with durability and strength in mind. If you drive in places where you face a variety of challenging road conditions, all-terrain tires might be right for you.
  • Fuel-Efficient Tires
    • If you spend a lot of time on the road and you want a tire that can face a variety of weather conditions, fuel-efficient tires are an excellent fuel-saving option. These tires utilize a low rolling resistance tread compound to help decrease the amount of energy used in driving resulting in less fuel consumption. The tire's low rolling resistance tread can help save thousands of miles worth of gas over the life of each set of tires.
  • Sport Performance Tires
    • Also known as sport tires, these offer handling, maneuverability, and enhanced wet and dry traction. If you enjoy driving with precision and responsiveness, these tires might be right for you. Designed with soft rubber compounds made for better maneuverability and cornering, many sport performance tires are categorized as summer tires, but sport performance tires can also fit summer, winter, and all-season categories.
  • Run On Flat Tires
    • A great solution for those who value peace of mind and storage space. Since they are made to help you keep driving to reach a safe place with a deflating or deflated tire, you should consider them if convenience and safety are top of mind when searching for the right tire.
 

4) Know the type of tires you’re currently using:

If you’re replacing a single tire or set, your shopping process can be made easier if you know what type of tires you’re currently driving on. The best way to do that is to simply look at your tires. But “reading” tires can be a language all its own. Here’s a helpful key:

  • Tire type: The letter "P" at the beginning of the "Tire Size" informs you the tire is a P-Metric tire and refers to tires made to certain standards within the United States and are intended for Passenger vehicles. The letters “LT” at the beginning or end of the tire size mean the tire was made for light trucks. Light trucks may come with either “P” or “LT” size tires, so it’s important to know which you have.
  • Tire Width: This is the width of the tire measured in millimeters from sidewall to sidewall. The first three-digit number in the tire size refers to the tire width.
  • Aspect Ratio: The height of the tire's cross-section to its width. The two-digit number after the slash mark in a tire size is the aspect ratio.
  • Construction: The letter "R" in a tire size stands for Radial, which means the layers run radially across the tire.
  • Wheel Diameter: The size of the wheel measured from one end to the other. It tells the size of the wheel that the tire is intended to fit.
  • Load Index: Indicates the maximum load that the tire can support when properly inflated. You'll also find the maximum load on the tire sidewall, in both pounds and kilograms.
  • Speed Rating: Provides the maximum speed capability of a tire. Speed ratings are often matched to the top speed capability of the vehicle.

 

When buying new tires, it’s always recommended to talk to a trusted professional. But it doesn’t hurt to know what you’re talking about before you walk in the door. Understanding these simple tips can help you to get not only the right tires for your vehicle, but also the performance you want on and off the road.

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