Tracy’s Tips: Don’t Labor over Buying Tires, Just be Prepared

Those of you who are in the market for new tires may be looking for some Labor Day tire sales this weekend. I thought this might be a good time to share some of Tracy’s Tips for buying tires.

There are many things to consider when shopping for new tires. If you can find a trusted tire retailer in your area, the tire buying process will be much easier. A knowledgeable and reputable tire dealer will be able to recommend the type of tire that will best fit your needs and your budget. A good tire salesperson will ask you questions about the type of driving you do and how you use your vehicle. He or she will guide you in considering factors such as tread life, ride and handling, and driving conditions, helping you to determine what is most important to you. It’s important that you and the salesperson communicate as accurately as possible so your requirements are clearly understood.

Before you start your tire buying adventure, here are some quick tips to remember:

  1. Consider the UTQG rating. The U.S. Department of Transportation requires each manufacturer to grade its tires under the UTQG (Uniform Tire Quality Grading) labeling system and establish ratings for tread wear, traction and temperature resistance.
  2. Think about your climate. Consider the types of weather you experience in your area. Whether it’s a lot of rain or heavy snow falls, your tires will have to meet the challenge. Make sure you make the safest selection to handle the road conditions you will face.
  3. Decide how important ride quality is to you. Some types of tires make your car look great but you may not get the smooth, comfortable ride you desire.
  4. Some tread designs cause tires to create more road noise. This varies significantly between tire brands and tread designs. If most of the driving you do is highway driving, you’ll want to consider your options, especially if you’re driving an SUV on pavement most of the time. A good salesperson will be able to tell you which tires are quieter among those you’re considering.
  5. Check the recommendations listed in your owner’s manual and information placard. It is important that your tire selection is in keeping with the manufacturer recommendations for the best and safest performance.

Once you have made your purchase, and ready to have your tires installed, remember to have other checks made, such as the alignment and balance. If a vehicle maintenance problem caused your old set of tires to wear out too rapidly, the same thing will happen to the new tires if the issue goes unaddressed.