With so many different tires available, it’s understandable that walking into a tire shop and trying to select new tires can be overwhelming. Plus, there’s a difference between just buying four new tires and buying the best tires for your specific vehicle. But when it comes to determining which tires might be the best for your vehicle, you may be wondering where to start. We’re here to help!
In this guide, we’ll be breaking down what you need to look at, like the types of tires available and your vehicle’s required tire diameter. Becoming aware of these things can help ensure that your car is equipped with high quality tires that can meet your driving needs.
The Types Of Tires Available
To start narrowing down your choices of tires, it is important to understand the types of tires available. Most types of tires on the market are based on road environments or driving habits.
We’ve provided quick recaps of each tire type below that you can use to pinpoint which tires might work best for your location and/or performance needs. Many of these tire types are made available for a variety of vehicles, including cars, trucks, SUVs, minivans, and crossovers.
- All-season tires: As one of the most popular types of tires, all-season tires are engineered for high performance in almost any weather. These tires are well known for providing a smooth, quiet ride, being fuel-efficient, and having a good tread life. Also, they can provide traction in mild snow, however, they don’t perform as well in extreme cold-weather conditions. All-season tires can’t handle serious snow, ice, and below-freezing temperatures like snow tires can.
- Summer tires: Quite frequently, summer tires are what would be considered “regular” tires in our area. Summer tires perform best in warmer climates, making them a great option for many Southern California drivers, but don’t attempt to tread in the snow with these. These tires provide excellent damp-road traction and more grip, performance, and speed than all-season tires. But, their soft rubber hardens quickly in freezing temperatures, making them insufficient for driving in cold, winter environments.
- Touring tires: These are premium tires that are built for drivers who prioritize superior handling and a smooth, comfortable ride with minimal noise. These tires also offer reliability and a long tread life. As far as weather conditions, touring tires can handle the typical dry and wet conditions very well, but they do not perform well in freezing temperatures, snow, or other extreme weather conditions.
- Performance tires: High-performance tires were made for high-performance sports cars. These tires are the top choice for drivers who want a tire that handles high speed and provides superior driving performance. High-performance tires carry a higher speed rating and provide a superior grip of the road like race tires. But, they have reduced treadwear ratings compared to other types of tires and typically won’t last as long.
- All-terrain tires: If you enjoy taking your truck or SUV off-road also, all-terrain tires may be the perfect tire for you. With deeper tread depths and an overall beefier look, these tires perform well in all types of off-road surfaces, including sand, rocks, and mud. But when you drive all-terrain tires on normal roads and highways, you’ll still experience the comfort and handling that every day “on-road” tires provide.
- Mud-terrain tires: Mud-terrain tires are built for vehicles that drive mainly off-road in even trickier conditions. These tires can handle soft sand and deep mud better than any other tire type. You’ll get solid traction with the deep, rugged tread pattern that comes on mud tires. Because of this design, these tires won’t be as smooth, quiet, or comfortable on normal roads compared to other types of tires.
- Winter/snow tires: Though they’re not usually needed here in Southern California, if you ever find yourself needing tires on a vehicle in cold weather climates, winter tires are your best bet. These tires are great for extreme winter conditions that all-season tires can’t handle. Snow tires are made from a special rubber compound that doesn’t harden in freezing temperatures, providing exceptional traction in tough winter road conditions like snow, ice, and slush.
- Spare tires: When getting new tires, don’t forget to consider your spare tire, also. If you unexpectedly end up with a flat tire, you’ll need a spare tire to rely on. When it comes to spare tires, you can either get a full-size tire or a compact tire. A full-size spare tire is essentially a fifth tire for your vehicle. If one of your main tires fails, then you should be good to go for the long term with the replacement full-size spare. Alternatively, a compact spare tire is just a temporary solution that will get you to the tire shop to get a new tire. Compared to a full-size spare, it will take up less room in or under your vehicle, but you should not drive at high speeds or on extreme road conditions with a compact spare.
Determine The Required Tire Diameter For Your Vehicle
Now that you know the type of tire that will be best for your environment and/or driving habits, the next thing you need to do is determine the tire diameter you will need to fit your wheel rims. This will further narrow down your options of tires.
Tires are available in a wide range of different diameters. There is everything from 13 inches wide all the way to 22 inches wide. There are a few ways to determine which size your vehicle needs. One way is by looking on the inside of your driver’s side door at the vehicle information sticker. The manufacturer-recommended wheel diameter for your specific vehicle should be included on there.
Another way to determine your tire diameter is to look at the side of your current tires. On the sidewall of your tires, you’ll see a series of numbers with letters. For example, it will look something like P225/70R16. The numbers you want to focus on are the last two in that chain. So, in this instance, the diameter in inches is 16. Once you cross-reference the type of tire you want with the diameter you need, this should leave you with a more manageable number of options to choose from.
If you are interested in upgrading to a different tire or different tire size, it is highly advised to consult with the experts in a professional tire store (like Ramona Tire & Service Centers). Well-trained technicians can help ensure that your new tires will properly fit within the wheel and won’t jeopardize your vehicle’s handling, ground clearance, etc.
Tire Shop Guide FAQs
Is Tire Rotation Necessary?
Rotating tires is an essential maintenance task for your safety as well as for managing wear and tear. Moreover, rotating your tires at least every 5,000 to 7,500 miles, or sooner if you notice excessive wear, can help to extend the life of your tires considerably. Other advantages of tire rotation can include:
- Better traction
- More balanced handling
- Increased performance
- Improved braking
- Keeping the manufacturer’s tire warranty valid
When our team rotates your tires, we will inspect them for safety issues, including punctures and cracks, helping to keep you safe on the road. Why not schedule a tire rotation with your next oil change? Book an appointment with one of our tire shops today to ensure your tires wear down evenly and perform at their best.
Do I Need to Buy a Set of New Tires if one Shows Excessive Wear?
If one or two tires show damage or excessive wear, you may not want to replace the entire set of tires, especially if the others still have plenty of life left in them. Although it is generally recommended to replace all four tires simultaneously, you can potentially avoid the expense of replacing the entire set.
A new tire can be “shaved” down
It is generally not recommended to replace only one tire at a time, as all tires should have a similar tread for balanced handling and optimum performance. However, your tire shop may be able to help by shaving the new tire to achieve a tread that matches your older tires.
Ensure the new tire is the same model and size
If you are only replacing one tire, it should be the same size and model as your other three. Different tire models can have different traction, tread, and performance. Keeping your tires all the same means they will handle better and wear down more evenly.
Switch out two tires instead of all four
When one tire is damaged or excessively worn, many repair shops recommend replacing all four tires. However, whether you really need to replace all tires will depend on the condition of the other tires and the type of vehicle you own. Manufacturers of four-wheel-drive vehicles, for example, typically recommend replacing all four wheels at the same time. It is also noteworthy that tires in the front and the back tend to wear out in different ways. If one of your front tires needs replacing, for example, you could opt for replacing both front tires at the same time to ensure there will not be any handling instabilities or performance issues.
Our tire shops can help you find the best tire deals if you need to replace one or several tires. Moreover, we can potentially help you save money by assessing whether you can safely replace only one or two tires instead of all four. Our tire technicians can inspect all your tires and recommend the most cost-effective course of action for your vehicle.
What Should I Know About Tire Balancing?
Tire balancing corrects uneven weight distribution on a vehicle’s wheels. Over time, your tires lose tread and can become unbalanced due to uneven wear and tear. Improper tire balancing can affect your vehicle’s performance and safety. Well-balanced wheels, on the other hand, can reduce wear and tear on tires and increase fuel efficiency.
If your wheels are out of balance, you may notice a vibrating steering wheel or seats, depending on whether the front wheels or rear wheels are affected. The tires may also show cupped or scalloped wear patterns. Unbalanced wheels can potentially not only shorten the life of your tires but also cause costly mechanical problems down the road.
In general, tire balancing should be part of a regular maintenance schedule and is essential when replacing your tires.
Is Tire Alignment the Same as Tire Balancing?
Although both tire balancing and alignment are often carried out together during a service, they are different issues. Tire alignment is not concerned with the tires but instead deals with a car’s suspension. Ensuring proper alignment can be important for a number of reasons, including stopping your vehicle from veering left or right and improving the handling of your car or truck. You may wish to speak to a technician at our tire shop about an alignment if:
- Your vehicle or steering wheel is pulling to one side
- Your tires seem to wear out very quickly
- The tires are producing a squealing sound
- Your vehicle is pulling to one side of the road
- Your steering wheel vibrates when you speed up
Alignment problems can occur after being involved in a car accident, after mounting a large curb, or simply after driving through a deep pothole. If you notice any new handling or tire issues, contact Ramona Tire to determine whether you need a tire rotation, tire alignment, or tire balancing.
Does Ramona Offer Tire Deals?
We offer some fantastic discounts on tire service and repair. Some of the ways in which you can save with us include:
- If there is a local tire store with lower advertised prices on tires and services, tell us, and we will try to beat the pricing
- Check back often for great tire deals on coupons you can print out or show on your phone.
- Since we work together with a number of well-known tire manufacturers, you can frequently take advantage of money-saving rebates and promotions.
However, these are not the only ways in which Ramona Tire can save you money. Our tire technicians will advise you honestly regarding any necessary tire replacement and repair services. For example, if you only need to replace one or two tires, we would never try to upsell and convince you into purchasing an entire set of new tires. Contact a tire store near you for an appointment today and ask about our great tire deals and discounts.
Is it Necessary to Check Tire Pressure?
Maintaining and checking your tires regularly, including checking air pressure, is crucial not only for your vehicle’s performance but also for your safety. If you are unsure about what your tire pressure should be, you can find the information on a label on the driver’s door or in the owner’s manual. Do not forget to check your spare tire from time to time.
You should wait to test the tire pressure until your wheels are cool, approximately 3 hours after driving. Alternatively, try to check tire pressure first thing in the morning.
How often do I have to check air pressure?
Although your car’s tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) should let you know when a tire is low on air pressure, you should still check your tires manually at least once a month, if not more often. We do not recommend relying entirely on your TPMS as the system may only flag a tire that is already considerably deflated and potentially in danger of blowing out. Having too little air pressure in your tires also causes higher fuel consumption.
Our technicians can advise you on the correct air pressure for your tires and help you determine the need for any other maintenance issues, such as tire rotation and tire replacement.
Which Easy Steps Can Extend the Life of My Tires?
Since a set of quality tires does not come cheap, most vehicle owners seek to extend the life of their tires for as long as possible. Fortunately, a few easy maintenance steps can ensure that your tires last longer, potentially saving you costs for repair and replacement:
- Check your tire pressure at regular intervals
- Rotate your tires regularly
- Visually inspect your tires frequently
- Try to avoid curbs and potholes
Checking your wheels visually and making sure that they have the correct air pressure are simple steps that can go a long way to preserve your tires. Timely repair of an issue such as a slow puncture can prevent costly tire replacements.
Trust the Top Local Tire Shop For Help With New Tires
Hopefully, now you have a better idea of what tire might be the best choice for your vehicle. If you’re ready to buy your tires and need a top-quality tire shop in Los Angeles and the surrounding area, Ramona Tire & Service Centers is your answer!
The tire experts at any of our Ramona Tire & Service Centers locations can help you sort through the options available for tires, answer any questions you may have, and help you determine the best tires for your vehicle. You can also take advantage of the latest tire deals we offer.
In addition, our ASE-certified master technicians can also take care of any other auto repair or maintenance needs you may have, as well. Drivers throughout Southern California trust the professional team at Ramona Tire & Service Centers for expert vehicle service, backed by unmatched customer service at prices that can’t be beaten.