Choosing the Right Tire

If you find yourself wondering, which tire is right for me, don’t worry, we’ve been there. Choosing the right tire can be challenging.

There are a lot of factors to consider when buying new tires, but these questions will help you find the right tires for you:

  • When should I replace my tires?
  • What tires does my vehicle need?
  • What tires are best for my driving style?
  • What weather conditions do I drive in?
  • What's my tire budget?

When Should I Replace My Tires?

Because tires have such a significant impact on driving safety, it’s important to know when to replace them. Two of the most important considerations are tread depth and tire age.

Tread depth, how much tread your tires have, directly impacts your vehicle’s ability to stop. Tires have reached the end of their service life at 2/32nds of an inch of tread. Studies show that tires with 4/32nds of tread or less require more distance to stop your vehicle, especially when roads are wet. Not only that, but when your tread depth is lower, risk of hydroplaning increases as well.

Your safety will always be our number one consideration. That’s why we recommend replacing your tires when they reach 4/32nds of tread.

In snowy driving conditions, tires with 6/32nds of tread or less will have a significant reduction in traction compared to when new. Tires with less tread have less grip for braking, accelerating, and handling in wintry conditions. If your tires are this low on tread during winter, you should consider replacing them.

Learn more about Understanding Tread Depth.

When it comes to replacing your tires, you should also consider the age of your tires. Tire manufacturers use many different kinds of materials to build tires and these materials break down over time.

We recommend regular tire inspections. One of our friendly tire technicians will check your tire’s age and inspect for physical warning signs of aging. For your safety, we recommend replacing tires that are 6 years or more past the date of manufacture.

Minimum industry guidelines reference having your tires inspected every year once they are 6 years of age, and to remove them from service when they reach 10 years. The average driver will wear their tires out before ever reaching the 6-year mark, based on the average annual miles driven of 15,000 miles.

How your tires are used, the climate you live in, and how they are maintained play a big part in how long they last. If your tires are low on tread or past six years of age, you should consider replacing them.

What Tires Does My Vehicle Need?

Vehicles today are designed with safety at the forefront. For this reason, you should strongly consider the minimum requirements that your vehicle manufacturer requires.

The load index required is critical to maintaining the safety of your vehicle. Always install tires that carry the weight your vehicle manufacturer requires.

The speed rating of a replacement tire is another important consideration. If you are purchasing less than 4 tires, you should match the speed rating of the tires not being replaced. Mixing speed ratings can impact your vehicles handling and stopping capabilities.

What Tires Are Best For My Driving Style?

The type of driver you are, the kind of handling and ride you want, and how long you expect your tires to last are all big factors in getting the right tires for you.

With this in mind, you should consider what type of driving you do. Do you enjoy hugging the corners, or do you like to set your cruise control and stay in the same lane? Do you mostly drive in the city, or do you drive a lot of long distance highway miles? Are you on smooth paved roads, or an unimproved road surface? The type of driving you do should help you determine the right tire for your needs.

Say for example that you and your friend both drive a 2011 Honda Accord EX, which comes with an original tire size of 225/50R17. There are a lot of tire types in this size. Let’s say you like to drive for thrills. This means that an ultra-high performance tire may be what you need. But your friend prefers taking it slow on long weekend road trips. For them, a long-lasting all-season tire may be the best choice

Learn more about Tire Types.

What Weather Conditions Do I Drive In?

You’ll find that tires have different characteristics that perform better or worse depending on the climate. This means that where you live and the weather you regularly drive in, are both important factors when picking out the right tire for your driving needs.

In drier climates, winter traction may not be a concern, but when it does rain oil deposits rise to the top and traction significantly decreases, so tires that can handle wet weather may be a good idea.

In cold weather climates where the temperature is often below 45 degrees, you may want to consider two sets of tires. Winter tires will provide significant advantages in these conditions, when compared to even the best all season tires.

What's My Tire Budget?

Another important consideration is value. With your budget in mind, it’s a good idea to look at cost over time, rather than cost up front.

Higher quality tires can be a significantly better value when you consider their cost per mile, increased safety, improved handling, and ride quality attributes. This means that it may be less expensive in the long run to purchase a higher quality tire.


Have more questions about finding the right tires for your needs? Feel free to give us a call or stop by your local Discount Tire and we'll get you taken care of.

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