Is it time to replace your car's tires? You can usually tell by checking the tread. If you place a penny head-down into the tire tread and can see Abraham Lincoln's head, you need to replace it. But with so many different tires available for sale, how do you know which ones to choose?
Check the Recommended Size
First and foremost, check the recommended tire size for your car. Different cars require different sized tires for maximum performance. You can usually find the recommended tire size either on the driver's side door jamb (open the door and look on the side), or in the owner's manual.
When looking at the recommended tire size, you'll notice several numbers, such as P185/70R14. This indicates the tire's measurements, including the width and diameter. Take a note of this label and use it for reference when choosing new tires.
In addition to the size, you should also consider the type of tire for your car. All-season tires, for instance, are specifically designed for enhanced traction in weather conditions and long mileage. They typically cost more, though many drivers believe they are a smart investment due to their increased mileage.
There are also winter tires, which features deeper tread and more sipes to reduce the risk of spinout and collision during icy conditions. Other common tire types include performance all-season, ultra-high-performance all-season, and all-terrain (for trucks).
Hopefully, nothing happens to your new tires, but it's still a good idea to choose tires with a strong warranty nonetheless. Because as the saying goes, "hope for the best but prepare for the worst," holds true in this instance.
The good news is that nearly all major tiremakers offer some type of warranty regarding the tread. and/or mileage. If your tired wear down due to "natural" usage before this period, the manufacturer will replace them. However, you'll typically need to provide proof that your tires were rotated at the recommend times to quality for a warranty replacement.
Of course, you should also consider the cost when choosing car tires. Depending on the specific type of tire, they can range from just $40 to $250 -- or sometimes even more. With that said, cost isn't always an indication of quality. There are plenty of inexpensive tires that perform just as well as their more expensive counterparts.