How to Choose the Right Tires for Your Car – A Buyer’s Guide

How to Choose the Right Tires for Your Car – A Buyer’s Guide

Choose tires wisely can make a noticeable difference to ride quality, handling, safety, and cost over time, with higher quality tires often providing greater value.

Your driving style and location will also play an integral part in selecting the optimal tire for your vehicle. For instance, if you frequently drive on snowy or icy roads then winter-specific tires should be installed as soon as possible.


When purchasing tires for your vehicle, always follow the manufacturer’s advice. These recommendations can be found on a tire placard inside your driver’s door jamb and/or in its owner’s manual. There are many online resources that can assist with finding out the appropriate tire size for you vehicle.

As part of your tire selection decision, another crucial consideration should be its speed rating. A tire’s speed rating indicates the maximum sustained speed at which it can safely carry loads over time; lower speed ratings result in faster wear-and-tear. While this might not be an issue when driving on congested city streets and expressways, mountainous terrain or autocross events, higher speed ratings might be beneficial in these instances.

Load-carrying capacity

Tire selection should not only offer superior traction; it should also support the weight of both car and its passengers. Failing to select an appropriately rated tire may lead to overloading and consequently lead to blowouts.

Load-carrying capacity of tires is indicated by their letter code on their sidewall; as its number increases, so too will its load-bearing ability.

Numerous tire manufacturers and automotive websites provide online tools to assist drivers in determining the proper load index for their tires. Consult with a tire expert or automotive professional for advice to make sure you purchase tires tailored specifically to your driving environment and needs.

Speed rating

Your tire speed rating provides a snapshot of how fast your tires can travel safely under lab-controlled conditions, with each hour spent driving at a particular speed affecting it in terms of air pressure levels, weather conditions, and driving habits. Your manufacturer typically suggests sticking within their maximum recommended speed rating to achieve optimal performance; otherwise, downgrading this may decrease performance further and accelerate tread wear or cause handling issues in your car.

If you need help decoding the numbers and letters found on the sidewalls of your tires, consult your owner manual or come visit one of the Les Schwab locations near you so we can look them up for you. It is vitally important that your car has suitable tires installed to maximize both its safety and performance.

Tread depth

Safety during braking, acceleration and steering requires optimal tire-road surface contact. Selecting suitable tires with intact treads is vital because worn treads may negatively impact handling and performance.

Tire tread depth can be easily measured using the penny test. Simply insert a penny into the center groove of your tire’s groove. If all of Lincoln’s head can be seen clearly then new tires need to be purchased.

Your driving habits and weather conditions should also be taken into account when selecting tires. For instance, if you frequently drive through snow or rain, consider purchasing winter-oriented winter tires to provide better traction. Furthermore, if you frequently make sharp turns then purchasing track-oriented track tires might provide increased grip and handling performance.

Noise level

Your choice of tires can have a dramatic effect on how loud your car sounds. All-season tires, which come standard on new cars, tend to provide the optimal balance of quietness, smoothness, fuel efficiency and traction; other types such as performance summer or winter tires often place emphasis on one aspect over another and may be better suited for specific driving conditions.

Rubber compounds and tread patterns of tires can have an enormous effect on their noise levels, with harder or stiffer compounds producing more noise due to being less capable of dampening road vibrations.

How and where you drive should be the deciding factor when it comes to selecting the optimal tire type for you. That way, you’ll avoid road noise which often disturbs drivers while enjoying a smoother journey.