How to Purchase New Tires for Your Vehicle
Buying new tires is one of those tasks that people put off until it’s absolutely necessary. Some drivers may not even think about their tires until something stressful occurs, such as a flat tire or an accident. Alternatively, the tires may become worn or underinflated as a result of normal driving habits. However, driving on worn-out tires puts you in a dangerous situation on the road, especially during the fall and winter months when roads can become more treacherous — which is why having adequate car insurance is critical.
The good news is that you can reduce your chances of a tire mishap by planning ahead of time to replace your vehicle’s tires when they begin to show wear and tear. Understanding what you require and what to expect when purchasing new tires will allow you to drive more safely and avoid high-pressure sales tactics that put you on the spot when purchasing tires.
When should you repair or replace your tires?
One frequently asked question about purchasing tires is whether they can be repaired instead. If your tire has a slow leak or puncture, it is usually possible to repair it rather than buying a new tire. Some tire problems can be resolved by simply removing an object or patching the tire. This option is significantly less expensive than purchasing a brand new tire. Although the cost varies depending on the specific repair required and other factors, repairing a damaged tire could cost as little as $25. If you’re on a tight budget, repairing may be a better option for minor damage than buying a new tire, which will likely cost at least $100 plus labor for a decent tire.
Another frequently asked question is when to replace tires due to normal wear and tear. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), tires should be replaced at least every six years, but it could be sooner depending on your driving habits. The “penny test” is one method for determining wear and tear. Simply hold a penny with Lincoln’s head upside down and place it in the tread grooves. If you can’t see the top of Lincoln’s head when you place the penny in the tread, the tires are worn and should be replaced.
How to Deal with Tire Salespeople
If you have a flat tire or a blowout, you may be forced to make a purchase on the spur of the moment and under duress. One way to feel more at ease during these conversations at a tire shop is to become acquainted with basic tire terminology. Understanding tires will help you feel more informed about what you’re buying and will help you avoid salespeople’s pressure because you’ll have a better understanding of what you actually need.
Tire stores and companies are not all the same; they range from small, family-owned shops to large, corporate-owned chains. Because each tire store carries a different brand of tire, certain tires may not be available from one location to the next. Tire dealers typically stock a variety of price points and tire types, such as passenger, light truck, and SUV tires. You could also get seasonal tires or all-terrain tires. There should be options for low-cost tires, and then there should be a range of price points from there.
Understanding these terms may be useful when researching tires or dealing with tire salespeople.
Road hazard policies and other extras to be aware of
When it comes to tires, extras can quickly add up in price. A salesperson will most likely ask you if you want to add a tire warranty or coverage. Some tire manufacturers include warranties with their tires that cover things like workmanship, limited road hazards, or a certain mileage limit.
For an additional fee, the tire dealer may also provide coverage for wear and tear, potholes, flat tires, or lifetime plugs and patches. You may even be offered ‘free’ or discounted replacements under certain conditions, but keep in mind that this is a benefit you will most likely have to pay for when you buy the tires. These extra coverage and protection options will almost always increase the overall cost of your new tires. If you decide to purchase these additional tire coverage options, be sure to read the fine print before making the purchase. Before purchasing additional coverage options from the dealer, it is also beneficial to understand what the manufacturer provides.
In addition to tire coverage options, the tire dealer may present you with additional options to purchase alongside the tires. Filling the tires with nitrogen (which may appeal to you if you race) or a TPMS system are common extras. Extras are sometimes included in the price of the tire, but you may have to pay more for these options.
Finally, it is tempting to focus solely on price when selecting a tire. Cheap tires are frequently poorly constructed and less durable, which means you’ll have to replace them sooner rather than later. Furthermore, most high-quality brands have less expensive sub-brands that often have the same features but at a lower price point. The key is to prioritize quality and find a tire that fits your current driving habits.
How to Replace a Tire
You might consider keeping a full-size spare tire in your car for emergencies and changing it yourself to avoid extra trips to the tire dealership. If you don’t know how to change a tire, you should learn before you get stuck on the side of the road. Online tutorials are available, and you may be able to find a basic car maintenance class in your area. Keep these five things in mind when changing your own tires.
- Take note of your surroundings, including oncoming traffic, the roadside, and lighting.
- To keep yourself and others safe, turn on your hazard lights and apply the parking brake.
- Even if you already know how to change a tire, read and follow the instructions in your car’s manual to ensure the new tire is properly installed.
- Check your vehicle for a properly sized jack and spare tire (or donut).
- If you are unable to change the tire yourself, contact a tow truck or roadside assistance service right away.
Even if you are a seasoned tire changer with a full-size spare, you should consider taking your car to your mechanic for proper balancing and alignment after you install the new tire.
What you should have in your car in case of an emergency
Being stranded on the side of the road is difficult regardless of the weather. Keep a few extra items in your car in case your vehicle becomes inoperable for any reason, such as:
- First-aid kit containing essentials such as bandages, gloves, splints, and gauze pads.
- Fix-a-flat is a sealant used to plug a tire leak.
- A jack, jumper cables, socket and screwdriver set, duct tape, and a knife are some tools that can help you with common car problems. Even if you can’t fix the problem yourself, these tools can be useful if someone else comes to help you.
- A towel or blanket, not only for warmth but also as a sling or cushion if necessary.
- Road flares are used to signal danger to other drivers on the road.
- Even if your car’s electric system isn’t working, you can use your cell phone and wireless charging bank to call for assistance.
- Bottled water and snacks in case you are stuck waiting for assistance for an extended period of time.
You should also inspect your vehicle to ensure that it is in good working order in case you become stuck on the side of the road in the dark.