When shopping for replacement tires, you will want to buy the best tires for your vehicle. There are many brands to choose from. The trick is in knowing how to choose which brand of tire to buy. In this case, you will need to know what criteria or features to use for comparing the various brands of tires. This article describes very important tire features that you can use when comparing different tire brands.
- Size. Vehicle manufacturers specify the appropriate or recommended tire size for the vehicles that they produce. The information about the recommended tire size for your vehicle is available on the sidewall of your vehicle’s original tire, on a card posted on the vehicle’s door jamb, in the glove compartment, on the inside of the door for the fuel filler, and in the service manual. You should identify the recommended tire size for your vehicle before comparing tire brands with other bases; then, compare different brands for the same tire size.
- Load Index and Speed Rating. Load index refers to a standardized number identifying the maximum load or weight that the tire can safely tolerate. For example, a load index of 91 on a tire means that it can carry up to 615 kilograms of load. Speed rating refers to the highest speed that the tire can tolerate without breaking. The speed rating is expressed as a letter. For example, a speed rating of H means the tire can sustain a maximum speed of 210 kph. The combined load index and speed rating code is usually embossed on the tire’s sidewall. The recommended load index and speed rating for your vehicle’s tires are usually printed in the driver-door jamb and in the service manual. Make sure you are buying a tire with a load index and speed rating equal to or higher than that recommended for your vehicle.
- Uniform Tire Quality Grade (UTQG). This is a grade standard promulgated by the U.S. Department of Transportation to specify the relative treadwear grade, traction grade, and temperature grade of tires. A tire with a UTQG of “400 AA A” means that the tire can last 4 times longer than a tire with treadwear grade of 100 (i.e., the standard reference grade), that it has the highest rating for its ability to stop in wet conditions (as indicated by the “AA” grade, which is the highest; “A” is next highest, “B” is third, and “C” is the lowest rating), and that it can withstand extreme temperatures when run at more than 115 mph (as indicated by the “A” rating for temperature resistance; “B” stands for speed between 100 mph to 115 mph; “C” stands for speed between 85 mph to 100 mph).
- Manufacture Date. Compare also the manufacture dates of the different tire brands that you are comparing. The manufacturing date is usually embossed on the tire sidewall after “DOT.” Thus, “DOT 1109” on a tire means that the tire was made during the 11th week in the year 2009. Never buy old tires.
Different tire brands have different grades, ratings, and scores. It is your job to compare the various brands and pick the best one for your vehicle. The tips described in this article should be able to help you find one very easily.