Buying New Tires – What You Need to Know
Some things you buy for pleasure, like a new phone or a bottle of wine, other things because they are necessary, like food or internet service. On the other hand, some things must be bought because they are necessary, but they’re also expensive and maybe even a little intimidating. For example, you know that your car needs to be maintained, and that some parts just wear out over time, like tires and brakes. If you don’t replace brakes, you might have a hard time stopping your car, and if you don’t replace the tires, you could get into an accident.
Now brakes might be expensive, but there are only a couple of choices. Buying new tires is different, because there are so many tire brands, models, and styles. Then, a single new tire can cost anywhere from $50 to $350, and every tire claims to be the “best” in one way or another. It’s no surprise that “buying new tires” is near the bottom of the list of “favorite things to do this weekend,” right above “getting a root canal.” Still, aside from budgeting – you do have a maintenance and repair budget, right? – is there any way to make buying new tires any less of a hassle? Here are a couple tips from the professionals to make buying new tires as painless as possible.
Buying New Tires that Fit the Need
When you’re buying new tires, perhaps the easiest thing you can do is simply buy the same tires that were on the car already. If you’re happy with how the tires were already working for you, there’s really no reason to change them. Even so, it might come as a shock to find out how expensive original equipment tires are. Automakers and tire manufacturers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars developing the tires for a specific vehicle. Most tires have been designed to highlight – or cover up – a vehicle’s handling characteristics. If you change to a different brand or different model of the same tire, you might find that the car doesn’t act or feel the same way. Buying the same tires should result in getting in the same ride and handling characteristics as before.
Still, maybe you’d like to buy new tires that give you better performance or will last longer than the tires you already have. Off-road tires and performance tires are a couple of good examples. Off-road tires of the great traction for your SUV in the mud or on the trail, far better than any all-season tire. Keep in mind, however, that buying new tires with a certain handling characteristic usually comes at the cost of decreased characteristics in other areas. Summer performance tires, for example, deliver great traction in the summer, but almost no traction in winter. All-season tires might last 50,000 miles, but performance tires might last only 20,000 miles.
Online and Offline Tire Research
Really, the best thing you can do is do your research beforehand, and the Internet offers many tools to help you in your search for new tires, such as automotive forums, tire review websites, and tire sales sites, to name a few. If you’re in a track club or off-road group, ask what everyone else uses. Ask your friends and family what tires they use. Don’t forget to ask what they like and dislike about the tires they use. This should give you enough information to decide on new tires for your car, truck, or SUV.
While you’re researching the tires themselves, keep an eye out for deals. Depending on where you shop, you can find discounts pretty much year-round, but the biggest tire sales and best deals can usually be had in Fall and Spring. Fall is a good time to buy new tires, anyway, because cold weather and possible snow necessitates the deeper tread. Spring is a good time to buy new tires, probably a good time to refresh those all-season tires or “Spring” for vacation touring or Summer performance tires.
Depending on your budget, you might consider replacing a single worn-out tire, or just a pair. While this is understandable, you should consider breaking out the credit card or dipping into the savings account for a full set of new tires. Not only will you maintain a great ride and even traction at all four corners, but you can usually get the best new tire deals when you buy a whole set of tires, saving you more money than if you bought just one or two.
A word of caution, regarding cheap tires: Don’t just shop for price, because even though tires need to meet Department of Transportation safety standards, inexpensive tires may not deliver long life or traction of high-priced name-brand options. Worse, some unscrupulous people have even cut “new” tread into worn tires, making them look new, even though they’re past their prime. Always stick to reputable tire dealers.
Dobbs Tire & Auto Centers
Serving the St. Louis area for over forty years, Dobbs Tire & Auto Centers has learned which tires seem to work best in the area, in all traffic, weather, and road conditions. We understand that buying new tires can be a hassle, but it doesn’t have to be. Stop in one of our 42 locations and talk to an associate. We’ll help you find the best tires for your vehicle and get you a great deal while we’re at it.