Your vehicle’s tires are four of the most crucial safety features on your car. They directly influence the amount of noise you hear in your car, how your car handles, and how quickly you can stop. So how can you make sure that you are getting both a good deal and good quality?
The More You Know
Before you start shopping, there are some things that you should know about tires in general.
First of all, your tires’ age makes a difference in how well your vehicle handles. You should be wary of tires over six years old no matter how well you’ve cared for them or how few miles you’ve driven. For example, my grandparents live in a small town and rarely travel outside of the area. They only put a few thousand miles on their vehicle per year, but low mileage doesn’t necessarily make tires safe. The rubber can crack, dry rot, or become vulnerable the longer it has been exposed to the elements. The long and short: even though your treads look good, if your tires are more than six years old, they may be unsafe.
Your tires’ size is the next important thing to consider. Unfortunately, you can’t always trust the tires that are currently on your vehicle, so be sure to look at the inside of your car door or in your owner’s manual to determine the correct size. The wrong size can negatively impact your speedometer, how well you stop, start, and shift, and can cause problems with your vehicle’s structure and its ability to carry loads.
Of course, you should take a look at your tire treads every month to make sure that you have enough to drive safely. To check, hold a penny between the treads, and if you can see the top of Abraham Lincoln’s head, your tires are too bald to drive. You should replace them immediately.
Lastly, it’s in your car’s best interest to replace all four tires at once, but sometimes that isn’t financially feasible. If you can’t replace all of them at once, at least replace the tire opposite the bad one, and rotate the new tires to the rear. Having the new tires in the back will help keep your car safer, reduce road noise, and help you stay in control if you have to swerve.
Where to Shop
In today’s highly competitive world, the number of options available for purchasing tires can be overwhelming. There are certainly pros and cons to each option, so you will have to do a little research to decide which is best for you.
- Discount/Wholesale Tire Specialty Shops
- Slightly cheaper because that’s all they do
- Their technicians are usually very good and fast
- Most tires are typically available same-day
- Technicians know the local roads, so they can help you make an informed choice
- Most don’t provide any other services (ex: oil change, wiper replacement, etc.)
- Simplified approach
- Know the local roads
- Limited choices on the types of tires you can buy
- Can be more pricey
- Independent Mechanic
- Someone you trust
- Specialized experience
- Know the local roads
- May not have the kind of tire you want in stock
- Name Brand Tire Shop
- Offer other services
- Comparable prices
- Know the local roads
- May charge more for install
- Push their own brand of tires
- Comparable or slightly cheaper
- Better choice of installers since they are shipped directly to the shop you choose
- Order on your time table
- Can be confusing (a lot of variety)
- Not significantly cheaper for the hassle
- Requires a lot of research on your part
- Can’t be done the same day
What Should You Research?
If you want to get the most bang for your buck, you should do a little bit of research before you replace your tires, no matter where you purchase them. Different tires emphasize different parts of the driving experience, like longevity, road noise, traction on wet roads, etc.
Look for the UTQG rating when you’re comparing different brands and styles. UTQG stands for Uniform
Tire Quality Grading, and it assesses the following:
- Longevity (the higher the number, the better)
- Response to different temperatures (A being the best, C being the worst)
- Ability to grip the road (AA being the best, and C being the worst).
While these numbers can be very helpful when you’re making comparisons, make sure that you compare within the same brand because the numbers don’t necessarily translate across brands.
You should look online at the tire reviews. Look specifically for how noisy the tires are, how long they typically last for other people, and any known defects. You should also look for reviews from people who live in the same climate as you because the weather can influence how tires age.
New or Used?
Used tires are usually significantly cheaper than new ones, but they are probably not the best option. Used tire shops often get their inventory either from a salvage yard or other tire shops after they do a complete replacement on someone else’s vehicle.
The tires may actually be in good condition, but they might have cracks or punctures that you can’t see. They may have also been in an accident that compromised the integrity of the tire. The point is, used tires may save you a little bit of cash in the short term, but they could also cause costly accidents or require replacement much sooner than if you bought tires new.
Visit Burt Brothers
For the best in Utah tire shops, visit one of Burt Brothers’ twelve locations along the Wasatch Front. We have a huge selection of tires from the biggest names in the industry as well as bumper-to-bumper car care so you can meet all of your vehicle’s needs in one stop. Our bundled tire packages come with free mounting and balancing, valve stem replacement, lifetime flat repairs, and a low-price guarantee. They also include free lifetime rotations, re-balancing, pressure checks, top-offs, and wheel alignment checks.