Tire Buying Guide
Updated: Apr 28
Did your car get a flat tire on the way home? Maybe you’re preparing yourself for the winter months because your tires are starting to look bald. Either way, there are many different things to consider when purchasing new tires. In this guide, we will help you determine what types of tires your car needs, and which will be best for your driving style.
Can I Just Buy One Tire?
The first thing to determine is whether or not you need to purchase more than one tire. With tires you want to ensure there is even wear across axles, and in some instances (AWD vehicles) across all tires. If you just had new tires installed a month ago, and your tread is practically brand new, you should be fine with just one tire. Still, it’s best to consult with your local Maryland auto mechanic to determine if you need more than one tire.
What do the Numbers on my Tire Mean?
If you look at the side of your tires, you will see a whole mess of numbers and letters which will look something like “P245/65R17 105T”. This is obviously just one example of one type of tire, but lets use this number as our example to explain what the numbers on a tire stand for.
The “P” stands for passenger and will be what you see most of the time unless you’re driving a commercial truck.
The first number “245” is the width of the tire in millimeters.
The next number, the “65” is the ratio of your tire’s sidewall height to the width of your tire. The higher this number the higher the aspect ratio.
The letter following the aspect ratio, “R” in this example, defines the construction of the tire. Most of the time, this will be an “R” which stands for radial. Other constructions are “D” for diagonal or “B” for belted constructions.
The “17” following the letter of construction tells us the diameter of the wheel in inches.
The “105” before the “T” denotes the “load index” of the tire. This number, when matched to a load index chart will tell the max weight the tire can handle at the maximum tire pressure indicated on the sidewall of the tire. A tire with 105 has a maximum safe weight of 2,039 lbs.
The final letter, “T” in this example, is the speed rating. This number, like the load index, matches up to a chart and states the tire’s maximum safe speed. The safe speed for a tire with a “T” is 118mph.
Now, before you go out and just purchase new tires based off of your old ones, be sure to check your vehicle’s suggested tire and loading information panel. This is located in your owner’s manual or on the inside of your driver side door. You will want to purchase the type of tire you see here.
What Season of Tires?
Now that we know what tires your vehicle uses, do you want all-season, winter, summer? There are so many options! Commonly, folks in Maryland opt for all-season tires simply because we get a good mix of summer and winter months. That said, if you do a lot of winter driving or want more traction this time of year, get winter tires; the same would go for summer.
For more information on the type of tire to purchase for your vehicle, get in touch with your local Maryland tire mechanic today. Hillmuth Auto Care is a local Maryland tire mechanic and auto service center who has the experience to help you get the best tire for your vehicle and your driving needs. For more information, give your local Hillmuth Auto Care a call today!