If you drive your car for any length of time, you will eventually need to replace the tires that came with your vehicle. The kind and style you get could be similar to the original tires, but it will be a better ride if you replace those old tires with tires that are suited to your lifestyle.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joBmbh0AGSQ#wsInstructions
1 Checking depth with a penny.
Before you run to the tire store and buy a new set of tires, first determine if you need to replace your tires. A tire is normally deemed unsafe to drive on if the tread depth is 2/32 of an inch or less (a new tire usually has 10/32). A quick way to check this is to invert a penny and place it in the tread of the tire. If you can see the top of Abraham Lincoln's head, the tires need replaced.
New research has recommended doing this test with a quarter instead of a penny. Your tires will be replaced sooner, but you will be able to stop quicker on wet pavement.2 Tire placard.
Once you have determined that you need new tires, you need to find out what size tire you need. The sidewall of your current tires should have the size printed on it; however, I would not recommend using this information, unless you purchased your vehicle brand new. Any previous owners of your vehicle may have purchased the wrong size tire. You can find the correct size on the tire placard. Depending on the car, you may find this information on the vehicle door edge, door post, glove box door, or fuel door. The size will look like P###/##R##. For example, my vehicle's tire size is P205/65R15.3 Diagram showing information from the tire.
As you begin looking for tires, you will find that there are many types and styles of tires. When you buy tires, try to buy tires that match your needs. M&S or Mud and Snow tires are the most popular and will probably work for most people. There are also winter tires designed for driving in snow, slush, ice, and cold dry highways.
If you use your car to tow or haul heavy items, you will want to check the load index of the tire. The larger the number, the more weight the tire can tolerate without performance suffering. Next to the load index will be a letter which represents the Speed Rating. The letters are not in order; however, the lowest rating is a Q which represents a test speed of up to 100 mph. It is NEVER recommended to exceed posted speed limits on the roads you drive.4 Example of a warranty graph.
Other information you may find useful is the tire warranty. Some tires do not have a warranty (like winter tires and some high performance tires). In general, touring tires will have a higher tread life warranty. The reason is because the tires are made of a harder rubber and do not wear away as quickly. Since they are made of a harder rubber, though, some performance is lost for cornering and wet weather traction is also sacrificed.
If you have a warranty claim, you will pay a prorated price for your next set of tires based on how long your old tires lasted compared to how long they were expected to last.5 Raised white lettering.
Finally, consider the look of the tire. Personally, I like an all black tire. Some people like tires with a white wall. Other people like raised white letters on their tires. When shopping for tires, be sure to select a tire style that fits you and your car's personality. Be aware that some tires can be mounted in more than one way. For example, a tire with raised white letters may be able to be installed so that the lettering is towards the vehicle showing a smooth black tire towards the outside.