How To Choose the Right Tire Size

Did you know that different vehicles may need very different tires? To ensure the safety and control of your vehicle on the road, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s specifications when choosing new tires. Factors such as weight of your vehicle or suspension type are important to consider when purchasing new tires. Watch the video below to learn what other things you’ll need to consider as you look for the best new tires. 

Video Transcription

One of the most important things to remember is to always follow the information listed on the vehicle’s tire information placard which is typically located on the driver’s door, door jamb, or in the owner’s manual. The tire placard includes information like the tire size and the recommended inflation pressure. The placard may include a load index and speed rating that takes into account a number of factors including the type of suspension and steering.

Stepping down one speed rating can save you a few dollars, however, this could negatively impact handling characteristics and speed capability. Since downgrading the load index will reduce the load carrying capacity of the vehicle, drivers should never install a tire with a load index that is lower than the original equipment tire. In most cases, the best practice is to follow all of the information on the vehicle's placard or in the owner’s manual when selecting replacement tires.

With the growing interest in vehicle customization, some drivers are interested in selecting custom tire and wheel packages that are different from the information listed on the placard. There are many factors that must be considered when changing from the original equipment size. These factors include load carrying capacity, inflation pressure, overall diameter, and more. Therefore, a tire professional must be consulted for this type of change.

If the tire diameter varies significantly from the original dimension, then numerous vehicle systems can be negatively affected. These may include odometer accuracy, braking efficiency, electronic engine or transmission management systems, vehicle stability, and others.

Other factors to consider when selecting replacement tires are the Uniform Tire Quality Grading standards or UTQG which is divided into three categories: treadwear, traction, and temperature. Treadwear is a comparative figure that projects the approximate tread life of the tire. However, due to different driving styles, road conditions, and levels of maintenance, it is not a direct indicator of actual tread mileage. Traction refers to refers to the tire’s stopping ability on wet asphalt and concrete surfaces. AA is the best rating, followed by A, B, and then C. Temperature indicates the resistance to heat with A being the highest rating followed by B and then C. 

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