Tires are not something we have to think about very often. Every three years or so we might feel the car slipping a little more than normal, or during a routine service check our mechanic tells us that we are due for new tires. But this does not mean that we should stay in the dark, and at the mercy of an unscrupulous tire salesperson. Here are the 5 things you need to know when buying tires online so you can make the right decision yourself, without ever having to step foot in a tire shop.
- When to buy : This depends on how much tread is left on your tires, and your future tire strategy. If the tires still have more than 4/32nds of an inch of tread life, and you live in a northern state, those tires may be fine for summer driving. You could wait until late fall, and change those tires out for a set of winter tires. The partially worn tires could then be used next summer. Alternatively, If the tires are completely worn to 2/32nds, and you are noticing degraded grip and poor ride quality, changing your tires out sooner, for an all-season tire could be the best solution. You can easily check if your tires are ready to be changed by measuring the tread depth with a penny. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, it is time to start researching and comparing tire prices!
- Quantity of tires to replace: While tire manufacturers recommend that you change out all four tires at the same time, this is not always the most practical solution. If you have not rotated your tires, you may have front tires that have worn much faster than the rear tires. If one pair of tires still has over 50% of the original tread left, replacing only two tires with an exact match of tire brand and style is a good option. If this is your situation, and you are buying tires online as a pair to replace the most worn tires, the new tires must go on the rear of the vehicle. Buying tires online in this way is extremely important for safety, particularly in areas with frequent rain and slippery roads. Buying tires online two at a time should allow you to get at least another year out of the half worn tires, with enough traction to get you safely through the winter months. This approach also extends the useful life of the two best tires currently on the vehicle and allow you to stagger your new tire expenditure.
- Type of tires: If you are changing out all four tires, and there is enough tread to safely wait until the fall, you have the option of buying tires that are all-season tires, summer tires, or winter tires. Summer tires are the best option if you only experience wet and dry roads year round like in the southern states. In the heat, and on wet roads summer tires typically give you the best handling, comfort and the least amount of noise generated by the tread at high speeds. In the northern states and Canada, the choice between all-season tires and winter tires should be based on the winter temperature range in your area. If regularly below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, then winter tires will provide more grip on cold, dry roads. Some areas are mild most of the time, but occasionally get heavy snowfall or frost and icy roads in the morning. If you absolutely have to drive in these conditions, winter tires are a better option. Don’t forget that if you opt for winter tires instead of all-season or summer tires, you need a place to store your other set! This may not be possible if you don’t have inside storage space. Last but not least, you should be aware of any state or provincial laws pertaining to winter tire usage. There are some jurisdictions that now require designated winter tires during the winter months.
- Tire size: With tires, size is more than just the dimensions of the tire. You also have to know the speed rating and the load range. In the case of passenger car tires, the speed rating and load are paired together and molded right on the side of the tire beside the size. It is an alpha-numeric pairing like 94H or 102T. You always want to ensure that the speed rating and load range of your replacement tires are equal to, or greater than the tires specified for the vehicle, and indicated on the sticker on the inside of the driver’s side door.
- Your tire budget: There is a very large difference in what you can spend when buying tires online. Prices vary greatly according to the type of vehicle and the size. For example, a BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM2 tire for a 20-inch rim on a lifted pick up truck could cost over $700 for one tire. A 15-inch tire for an economy sedan in a value brand like the Antares Grip 20 tire would be in the range of $50 – $60 per tire. Even within the same size, the spread in price can be as large as 100%. This is due to factors like the brand name, the associated features and benefits, and even the country of manufacture. A few minutes of online research to see typical prices for your specific size of tire will be helpful to managing your expectations and setting your budget. This will likely determine if you are going to end up with a premium name brand with a long mileage warranty, or if you are better suited to a cheaper tire made in china.
These considerations are the same regardless of the type of vehicle you drive. Of course, truck owners have the added consideration of whether or not all-terrain traction is required, but the same principals apply. Advance planning to determine the quantity of tire to buy, the type, the size and your budget is important to ensure you make the right tire investment.
Now that you have all the information you need for buying tires online, head over to Tires-easy.com. Tires-easy.com has hundreds of all-season tires, summer tires, and winter tires for all types of vehicles. Visit the website or call customer service at 1-855-978-6789. They are open 5:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday to Friday to help you get started finding the right tire for your vehicle from the comfort of home.