How To Choose The Right Tires For Your Car In 2021
If the engine is the heart and soul of a vehicle, tires are the personality that decides where the engine goes. Known to be the most crucial part that guides the safety of any vehicle, tire maintenance and replacement becomes a crucial aspect of any repair work.
It is interesting to note that even though the rubber covering of the wheel is responsible for accurate stops, slides, turns, and much more, many people tend to ignore it until the absolute last minute or do not have enough information to make a solid decision. And this is why we have this very simple and easy to read guide that will take you through the jargon of the automobile world and explain how you can choose the perfect tires for your machine.
When deciding on your degrading tires, a car owner is faced with a plethora of questions and options.
Don't worry, there is nothing to be scared of.
Every tire with their type, size, mechanism, and make is designed for specific vehicles, and it is as easy as deciding what you expect from that part.
Before we move on to the features that you should look for in a new tire, let's first understand how a car owner can judge whether the tire needs replacement or not.
How do I know when I need new tires?
Tires age may depend upon the number of years they have served or simply how many km/miles they have covered. It is said that a good tire can be expected to run efficiently for sixty-seventy thousand miles.
But this is not written in stone, and largely depends on your driving style. If you're more of a speeder with reckless and sharp turns, sudden brakes, and aggressive driving, they are likely to run their course sooner than when you treat your car with patient driving skills.
If not the driving style, it is also dependent on the road conditions, temperature, wheel alignment, suspension system, and the other interlinking factors responsible for the smooth working of the tires.
If you see any signs of ageing like cuts, cracks, missing chunks, etc, it is time to get yourself a new one. You can also judge this based on the bald spots or the tread of the tire.
However, one of the most common measurements of the tire's life is the depth of the tread. You can have a little DIY session with a tread wear indicator bar or a simple coin, but, if you're not sure, it is always a good idea to opt for a car repair garage.
Nevertheless, it is recommended to change tires at least every three to four years, or as per the manufacturer recommendations.
Now that you understand when your tire needs replacement, it is time to get your notepads out and understand what you need to look for while choosing the perfect tires.
Car Size Guide - What do the numbers mean?
If you're looking to replace the car tires with a new one, you would want to know that size and other measurements that your specific model demands. Like clothes, the size really matters for your tires as well, and you don't want to make an incorrect decision there.
You can locate the measurements in a sticker or placard on the driver's side door. It consists of a string of numbers and letters, each denoting the number of measurements required to purchase the most apt tire for your vehicle.
Let's work here with an example to make things clear.
If the placard reads '17550R1596H', it can be divided as follows - 175/50/R/16/96/H.
The first three numbers denote the width of the tire in millimetres. This section is pretty self-explanatory.
The next two numbers on the placard refer to the aspect ratio, which is the ratio of the tire's width to height as a percentage. For example, a low profile tire will have a different aspect ratio when compared to the regular profile tires.
Coming to the letter of the required measurement, the 'R' here stands for radial which indicates that the tire is constructed from cords (polyester) which are placed across the width of the tire. The placement at 90 degrees gives the tire much more strength than which was previously available.
The 16 here shows the diameter of the rim where the tire is to be fitted. This measurement is represented in inches. The next numeral here denotes the load rating which is an indication of how much load each tire can support at maximum speed.
Coming to the end, the 'H' here represents the tire's speed rating. It is the maximum speed at which the tire is designed to be used.
Handling & Comfort - Essential Points to Consider
You should always opt for the correct size of tires according to the recommendation, but there is more to tires than size only. Since tires dictate a lot of how you drive on the roads, you have to judge whether the current tire makes your drives smooth and comfortable to handle, or you could do with some change.
The tire should also be able to optimize the car's handling and braking capability. Apart from comfort, there should not be any strange noise or excessive friction with the said tires.
Some tires are made specifically for your car model. You can always opt for one that is recommended by the manufacturers. Additionally, you can also have a look at several review websites, and decide accordingly.
The Different Types of Tires
Now that you have understood the features of a tire, you can let your repair centre know what you need during a full car service. However, you also need to decide on the type of tire.
Broadly speaking, there are three types of tires divided based on the seasons.
1. All-season Tires: The first kind is the most convenient and budget-friendly as you can use it all year round. These are available in the S and T-speed ratings, providing a balanced grip and traction on ice while being convenient with dry and wet grip too. The all-season tire is made from a compound which does not harden much where the summer tire would. On the other hand, their groove patterns are such that they evade aquaplaning on very wet roads.
2. Winter Tires: As the name suggests, these tires are specifically designed for winter usage, and you cannot continue using them when the temperatures are soaring. Also known as snow tires, they are identified by a mountain and snowflake symbol on the sidewall. Made of pliable rubber compound, they provide increased traction, which helps to have better steering and braking abilities. They are also designed with deeper tread and slits (known as "sipes") which helps to bite into the snow and break the ice.
3. Summer Tires: If you live in a place where the climatic condition is such that you have wet or dry roads - not snowy or icy, it would be better to opt for summer tires. They are made out of a soft rubber compound designed to provide less resistance and better fuel economy.
I hope you're aware of all that you need to know to choose the right tires for your car. For more articles, keep watching this space.