To compile any group of tires, begin by identifying your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended specs. Located in your driver’s manual or on the door placard, a tire spec will look like this: 175/65R15 82H.
The first number is the width (or cross section) of your tire. In this example, your recommended tire’s width is 175 millimeters.
The second number is the aspect ratio—the height of your tire’s sidewall from the wheel’s rim to the tire’s tread—measured as a percentage of the tire’s width. Continuing with this example, the sidewall height is 65% of 175 millimeters: 113.75 millimeters.
The third number, 15, is simply the diameter of your wheel in inches.
The 82H is known as the service description. The 82 in this case relates to the maximum load the tire can carry at maximum air pressure. While the H in this case refers to the speed rating of the tire, which really has to do with the performance of the vehicle. How it was manufactured to handle during cornering and braking.
To find tires to compare, just enter these specs into an online search feature. Or you can enter your vehicle’s year, make, and model. A tire search for a 2018 Toyota Prius C One, for instance, brings up a list of tires with the spec of 175/65R15.
SELECT A CATEGORY
Now that you’re looking at a selection of tires that fit your vehicle, it’s time to pick a category. This means taking into consideration your style of driving and the environment where you live. There are many different categories from which to choose for cars, trucks, and SUVs. There’s Summer, Winter, and All-Season. Plus categories related to performance and versatility, like Touring, Ultra-High-Performance, and All-Terrain.
If your state is temperate and sees only a mild winter, you may be perfectly happy with an All-Season tire — known for year-round performance and excellent mileage. Other styles are available too. It all depends on what features interest you. Performance tires offer enhanced handling, while Touring tires are known for a smooth, comfortable ride. So you’ll want to consider all the relevant categories to really pin down the factors and features that matter most.
REVIEW PRODUCT INFO
To help you compare any tires, there’s detailed information online for each product, including specs covering speed rating, traction, temperature, mileage warranty, and more. Find out what attributes each model of tire offers, and simply weigh them against what your needs are. Let’s say you find ten All-Season tires available at the spec 175/65R15, ranging in price from $70 to $110 each. It’s a sure bet there are significant differences between each tire.
CHECK MILEAGE WARRANTY
Mileage is important to most people. Who doesn’t want to get the most value for what you spend? So in looking at which All-Seasons have the highest mileage warranties, you may discover that two tires offer 70k mile warranties—and they cost $87 and $97.
DON’T LET PRICE DECIDE
You could let price make the decision for you. But a closer look may explain any difference in price. The $87 tire may be a solid all-around tire. But the $97 tire may be engineered with low rolling resistance to be more fuel-efficient. It’s said to save drivers up to 20 miles per tank on gas while still offering confident handling.
VERIFY KEY SELLING POINTS
To verify claims, it pays to check out sources like product reviews for insights and ratings. The key selling points of tires are all scored in consumer tests and discussed in published articles.
Once you read performance reports and customer comments raving about this $97 fuel-efficient tire, your decision of what to put on your Prius might get a whole lot easier.
That’s the process in a nutshell. And while it may seem overwhelming at the beginning, it’s actually very straightforward.
Vehicles do not always come with a spare tire, but you might not notice this until it’s too late (when you are on the side of the road with a flat). It’s important to always have a back-up plan. Tireamerica.com has a guide created to help you understand the best options for you.