How to buy new tires for my car

New Tire Buying Guide: Everything You Need to Know

We may earn commission from links on this page, but we only recommend products we back.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in August 2021. While our choices are still valid, you may want to check with manufacturers and your tire retailer for updated versions of these tires before buying.

Getty Images

Buying new tires can be a daunting experience. You face a bewildering array of brands, sizes and tire types to choose from, so it's easy to be confused. But don't worry: this guide will provide you with the essential facts you need to in order to make the right tire choice for your vehicle at the price you want to pay.

Before you buy, you'll need to know the answers to the following questions:

  • What type of tires does my car need?
  • How many miles will the tires I'm considering last?
  • How much do I want to pay?
  • Should I go with a straight replacement set or upgrade my tires?

Already know about tires and just want our top picks? Our favorites in each category are listed below. Further down, you'll find more information about all-season, summer, and winter tires plus our top alternative picks in each category.

Our Top Picks in Each Category

Best All-Season Tire

General Altimax RT43 - All Season

$102 at Amazon

Credit: Amazon

Best Summer Tire

Michelin Pilot Sport 4S - Summer

$332 at Amazon

Credit: Amazon

Best Winter Tire

Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 - Studless

$230 at Amazon

Credit: Amazon

Is our top pick unavailable in the size you need? Looking for a fast, easy way to sort through the dozens of alternatives? Then go to Tire Rack's Tire Decision Guide. The company says it'll have a list of appropriate alternative choices for you in two minutes or less. The site is also deep with important consumer data, including tire warranties, treadwear guarantees, and tire-test results.

All-Season Tires
Alternative Recommendations for All-Season Tires:
Michelin Pilot Sport 3+ - All Season

$201 at Amazon$201 at Walmart

Credit: Amazon
Vredstein Quatrac Pro - All Season

$138 at Tire Rack

Goodyear Eagle F1 - All Season

$442 at Amazon

Credit: Amazon

The vast majority of vehicles today come with all-season tires, which are designed to provide acceptable all-around capability throughout the year and in all weather conditions. That means a reasonable ride and respectable handling, quiet running, good wet-weather grip, and some capability in snow. Given their all-season designation, most car owners leave them on in winter and expect that their tires will deliver all the traction they need on snowy, icy roads. But most all-season tires are marginal in snow; dedicated winter tires, also known as snow tires, provide far better traction when the snow falls.

There are now two main sub-categories of all-season tires: high-performance all-seasons and grand touring all-seasons. High-performance all-season tires provide sharper handling than "standard" all-season tires. They grip the road more confidently and feel more sporty to drive—usually at the expense of some winter-weather traction. These tires are intended for sportier cars and more-aggressive drivers. Grand touring all-season tires have the lower-profile look of high-performance all-season tires but ride better at the price of some handling ability.

Recently, a subset of grand touring all-season tires has emerged that we call “all-weather” tires. These tires feature snow traction that almost comparable to that of pure winter tires while offering similar performance in other areas as conventional all-season tires. They are designated by a snowflake-within-a-mountain symbol on the tire's sidewall.

Summer Tires
Alternative Recommendations for Summer Tires:
Pirelli PZero PZ4

$315 at Amazon

Credit: Amazon
Continental ExtremeContact Sport

$250 at Amazon

Credit: Amazon
Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3

$211 at Tire Rack

This term is a misnomer, as this type of tire should rightly be called "three-season" rubber. Summer tires are designed specifically to deliver dry- and wet-weather traction in moderate or warm weather. They sharpen steering response, increase cornering traction by an order of magnitude, and stop your vehicle in much less distance. But they do so at a cost: most summer tires only work well at temperatures of about 40 degrees Fahrenheit and above. As outside temps fall toward freezing, the tires can feel skittish and behave inconsistently; they lose a large portion of their grip to the point that they act like they are on a wet or even icy road. More than one driver of a powerful car, unaware of the temperature sensitivity of its summer tires, has lost control and crashed on a cold day.

As with all-season tires, summer rubber comes in several varieties. Tire Rack divides these tires into three main groups by escalating capability: ultra-high performance on the bottom rung, followed max performance and extreme performance. Summer tires come on cars such as Porsches, Corvettes, Mercedes-AMGs, and Mustangs.

Winter Tires
Alternative Recommendations for Winter Tires:
Continental Viking Contact 7 - Studless

$166 at Amazon$183 at Walmart

Credit: Amazon
Bridgestone Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 - Studless

$208 at Amazon

Credit: Amazon
MICHELIN Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 - Studless

$489 at Amazon

Credit: Amazon

Called "snow tires" in the past, winter tires are designed to provide maximum traction in snow and in slippery winter conditions—and the traction they provide in those situations is not matched by any other category of tire. Even an all-wheel-drive vehicle on all-season tires cannot match the stopping or turning capability of a similar two-wheel drive vehicle fitted with four winter tires, a point we have proven in our own winter-tire testing.

Winter tires are designed to work well in the cold-weather months, but they don't handle or wear as well as all-season or summer tires once the weather warms up. They should be considered as a second set of tires for your vehicle if you live where snow flies annually. We fit all of our long-term test vehicles with winter tires and they've proven their worth many times over.

Why use winter tires? If you live in the northern states, we recommend purchasing a set of winter tires. Their deep treads are engineered to deliver a significant traction improvement, and do they ever work. You'll feel safer and be safer, not to mention more relaxed when driving in snow. Retailers such as Tire Rack will sell you a set of snows mounted on steel wheels that you can swap on when winter rolls around. Here at Car and Driver, we swear by them.

Tire Size and Other Factors

Most consumers choose to replace the worn tires on their vehicle with something equivalent in size and capability. This makes a lot of sense; your car was engineered to work well on the type and size of tires it came on, so fitting an identical or similar replacement set would maintain the performance and safety your vehicle was designed to deliver. (We'll get to upgrading later on).

More about Tire Care
  • Do You Need to Replace Your Tires?
  • How (and When) to Put Air in Your Car Tires
  • How Often Should You Rotate Car Tires?

To inform your decision process, you'll need to know your vehicle's tire size and speed rating, and you'll also want to consider how many miles you'll get out of any new tires you are considering (this is called tread wear). Much of that information is printed on the sidewalls of the tires that are on your car right now. It's also available in most owner's manuals, online, and at tire dealers. (We suggest cross-checking those sources to make sure you've got the right information.)

Here's how to read the most important data imprinted on your tires' sidewalls. (For an in-depth look at how to read all of the information on a tire sidewall, click here.)

KEY: 1) Tire width; 2) Aspect ratio; 3) Radial-tire designation; 4) diameter; 5) Load rating with speed rating; 6) Heaviest spot on tire; 7) Tread-wear rating; 8-9) Traction and temperature ratings; 10-11) Mud-and-snow or three-peak-mountain rating; 12) Vehicle-specific marking; 13) Tire-materials list and manufacturing information

Tire Size

If you're going to replace your tires with something equivalent, you will need to know the proper size. The size of car and light truck tires is usually expressed in a short series of numbers and letters that read like this (as seen in the above illustration): 245/40-R18. The first number indicates the width of the tire at its widest point in millimeters. The number after the slash is what's called the aspect ratio, which indicates how tall the sidewall is as a percentage of the width. The higher the number, the taller the sidewall. The squat tires fitted to sports cars and muscle cars, called low-profile tires, have aspect ratios of 30–40. Family sedans and SUVs are in the 45-60 range or taller. The final number in the series is the diameter of the wheel in inches that the tire must mount to. The "R" indicates it's a radial tire, which virtually all of today's tires are.

Speed Rating

Tires also carry a speed rating, which indicates not only how fast they can safely go for an extended period of time, but also the overall performance potential of the tires. Tires for high-performance cars have a higher speed rating than those for mainstream family sedans and SUVs. The speed rating of the original tires that came on your car were matched to the maximum speed the car could attain—plus a significant built-in safety margin. This speed rating is expressed as a letter in the alpha-numeric code that immediately follows the tire size. Letters range from L to Y, and cover maximum speed ranges from 75 mph to more than 186 mph.

Tread-Wear Info

The are two pieces of data that will help you estimate how many miles you can expect from a set of tires: the tread-wear rating and the tire mileage warranty. The tread wear rating is listed as a number on the tire sidewall after the word "treadwear". The higher this number, the more likely the tire will last longer. But the tests that are used to determine treadwear aren't precise, so there is a lot of variability in this number.

A better way to gauge potential tire life, and to compare the expected longevity of different tires you might be considering, is to look at the manufacturers' tread-life warranties. Many but not all tires carry a tread-life warranty in addition to manufacturing-quality/defect warranties. This information can be found online (like this example from, or in the tire maker's marketing materials. The industry's general rule is that about three-quarters of all drivers will find that their tires last at least last as long as the mileage listed in the tread life warranty. Generally, if your tires wear out before the guaranteed mileage bogey, you can get a credit for the percentage of miles you came up short, which you can then apply to the purchase of a new tire. (Tire dealers routinely handle this transaction.)

Run-Flat Tires

Numerous automakers fit their cars with run-flat tires from the factory. These tires are capable of driving for short distances at low speeds even after a puncture has left them without air, allowing you to reach home or a repair facility without needing to change a flat on the side of the road. If your vehicle came on run-flats you have the option of replacing them with conventional tires and carrying a spare (but beware that some cars fitted with run-flats actually do not have a trunk compartment for a spare). Or, you can replace your worn run-flats with another set of run-flats. And now that tire-pressure monitoring systems are compulsory equipment in new cars, you could even fit run-flats on a car that didn’t originally come with them.

More Information About Tires
  • The Top Winter Tires for Snow Driving
  • Best All-Terrain Tires for Trucks and SUVs
  • Winter Test: Snow Tires on a Corvette and a 911

Run-flat tires do have downsides. Their stiff sidewalls, which are required to hold the tire up when deflated, tend to make the car ride noticeably harder over rough pavement, but tire tech is continually improving and run-flats aren’t nearly the penalty they were a decade ago. Choice is also more limited than with conventional tires and run-flats are premium-priced. In general, we'd recommend swapping to conventional tires and carrying a spare or mini-spare if possible.

Replace or Upgrade?

There's one more decision you need to make: do you simply replace the tires on your vehicle with something equivalent, or upgrade?

Replacing Tires

If you're going to replace what came on the car with something equivalent, you're ready to go. Peruse the online resources like Tire Rack to compare tires, and then either buy from one of them or head to a local tire store. The advantage of buying online is that you can get the exact tires you want; different brick-and-mortar tire stores sell different brands of tires. The online retailers have relationships with the chain tire stores, which will mount the tires you bought on the internet on your wheels (for a small fee) even though you didn't buy them there. Tire Rack has a decision guide to help you find the tires that fit your car.

Upgrading your tires

This is more complicated than simply replacing your tires, as you have several ways to go. You can choose a higher-performance tire of the same size on your current set of wheels by substituting, say, a high-performance all-season tire for a standard all-season—if you can find one that fits exactly. Or you can choose a set of wider, lower-profile summer or high-performance all-season tires, but this is trickier. You need to know if the tires will fit without rubbing on the suspension or body parts—a definite safety issue. Here, consulting one of the experts at Tire Rack is a must, as they have this information for many cars. You can also try checking an online forum for your make and model of car (if one exists).

Many vehicles can be had from the factory with several different tire sizes—Honda Civics, for example, come with tires ranging from 215/55-R16 to 245/30ZR-20—so going to a larger-diameter wheel might work. But know that fitting lower-profile rubber will almost always require a larger-diameter wheel. The outside diameter of your tires needs to remain constant; everything from your vehicle's suspension to its ground clearance to its gearing is affected by the overall size of the tires. As the sidewall gets slimmer, the wheel must grow to compensate. Use this size guide to see how switching to a lower-profile tire affects wheel diameter.

Wider, lower-profile higher-performance tires can also make the car ride rougher, wear faster, be noisier, and influence the steering, possibly causing you to have to make more steering corrections on the Interstate. Low-profile tires will also probably be more prone to damage from potholes, something we experienced with one of our long-term cars, which blew out a dozen of its low-profile tires in the course of 40,000 miles on our rutted Michigan roads. And they'll almost definitely be more expensive, plus you'll have to buy a new set of wheels. You'll need to consider all of these issues carefully before you make the leap.

For everything you need to know about buying and maintaining tires, click here.

Rich Ceppos

Director, Buyer's Guide

Rich Ceppos has evaluated automobiles and automotive technology during a career that has encompassed 10 years at General Motors, two stints at Car and Driver totaling 19 years, and thousands of miles logged in racing cars. He was in music school when he realized what he really wanted to do in life and, somehow, it's worked out. In between his two C/D postings he served as executive editor of Automobile Magazine; was an executive vice president at Campbell Marketing & Communications; worked in GM's product-development area; and became publisher of Autoweek. He has raced continuously since college, held SCCA and IMSA pro racing licenses, and has competed in the 24 Hours of Daytona. He currently ministers to a 1999 Miata and a 1965 Corvette convertible and appreciates that none of his younger colleagues have yet uttered "Okay, Boomer" when he tells one of his stories about the crazy old days at C/D.

9 Important Tips for Buying Tires | AGirlsGuidetoCars

Table of Contents

Buying New Tires Doesn’t Have to be Intimidating. We’re Here to Help.

One of the most important purchases as car owners is tires, as this is the vehicle’s most important safety feature. Let’s face it – after the often intimidating car buying experience, the last thing you want is a repeat when replacing your car’s tires.  Here are 9 important tire buying tips to make the buying experience a little better.

A Girls Guide to Cars may earn a commission from links contained on this page, but don’t worry, we only recommend products we love? And, there is no additional cost to the buyer when a purchase is made by clicking these links.  

Growing up with my mechanic dad, believe me, I know the importance of good tires. It’s the only thing between you and the road. You and your family’s safety depends on good tires. Keeping them properly inflated saves fuel.  Worn tread is not a good thing and can cause an accident. Yeah, yeah, check all that.

But if you’re like me, buying tires ranks right there with going to the dentist. You’d really rather do ANYTHING than make an appointment. You know you have to do it, but you put off the purchase until it’s perhaps the last minute.

Let’s remove the stress of the tire buying process with these 9 secrets you should know about buying tires.

9 Tips for Buying Tires

1. All tires are not created equal

Yes, tires can all look alike. They are round. They are made of rubber. They have treads. And they are perhaps THE most important safety feature of your vehicle. Just like shoes, tires are made by multiple companies including Bridgestone, Continental, Goodyear, Michelin, Hercules, Dunlop, Yokohama, and more. And like designer shoes, choosing the right tire brand depends on so many facets of your vehicle and driving habits.

For example, if you live in the northeast, winter tires with its softer rubber designed to grip on a slippery surface will give you more traction in the snow. (You wouldn’t wear stilettos during a winter snow storm, right?) If your home is in Florida, winter tires wouldn’t make any sense, while summer tires (made of tougher, more rigid rubber) might last longer in the hot weather. The most popular tires are all season (all weather) which perform well in most driving situations.

Checking the tread on the Michelins; put a penny head-down into the tread and if you can’t see the top of Lincoln’s head, your tread is good. Photo: Scotty Reiss

2. Know when it’s time to replace your tires

You don’t have to be an experienced auto mechanic to know enough to be safe. Take time to LOOK at your tires – all 5 of them! Yes, it’s important to check your spare, too. Do they look, worn or damaged? Do they pass the penny test? Insert a penny into the tire tread with Lincoln’s head pointing toward the center of the tire. If its head isn’t partially hidden by the tire, the tire needs to be replaced. And it’s okay to confirm your results and have your tires checked by a professional.

3. Decipher the tire codes

Perhaps the biggest mistake consumers make is choosing the right tire. And this is as easy as getting down and dirty to look at the code on the sidewall of your tire, a combination of letters and numbers. These indicate the size, type, and performance of the tire.

The first three-digit number in the tire size refers to the tire width. For example, my 2014 Ford Escape’s tire size is 235/45 R19 tire, the tire width is 235 millimeters, measured from sidewall to sidewall. Aspect Ratio is the ratio of the height of the tire’s cross-section to its width.

The two-digit number after the slash mark in a tire size is the aspect ratio. For example, in a size 235/45 R19 tire, the 45 means that the height is equal to 45% of the tire’s width. The bigger the aspect ratio, the bigger the tire’s sidewall.

The letter “R” in a tire size stands for Radial, which means the layers run radially across the tire.

Wheel Diameter is the size of the wheel measured from one end to the other. This is the size of the wheel that the tire is intended to fit. A size 235/45 R19 tire is made for a wheel with a 19″ diameter.

While this may sound Auto Geek to you know, tire codes are important to know when pricing your new tires as it’s the unique descriptor.

Tire buying tips include getting down and looking at the tire codes on the sidewall. Photo:

4. Size does matter

When you do finally take the step to shop around (see below), most tire dealers will ask the make, model, and year of your car. But you may still have different size options as well. Your choices may include bigger tires fill the wheel well, or smaller less expensive tires.

Whatever your choice, make sure the tires fit the recommended speed rating; can handle your car up to a designated top speed; and can accommodate the weight of your car (load rating) + passengers and gear. Check your tire’s sidewalls for these codes, or simply open your owner’s manual.

Size does matter. Do your homework when buying new tires for your vehicle. Photo: Pixabay

5. Decide what you need from replacement tires

Chances are you’ve been driving the car for some time. Think about your driving experience. Is something not up to par? Are you looking for a more comfortable ride? More steering control? Less noise? Longer wear? Tires that are standard with a new car are usually one size fits most, so if you feel, you might be better with a new brand, then ask your tire technician for your options when buying tires.

I recently replaced my car tires for the first time since purchasing my Ford Escape. The Continental tires worked great in the Colorado winter, driving in the mountains, and even on some off-road trips. And they lasted over 40,000 miles. So if it’s not broke, then why change the tire brand?

Tire buying tips include considering your driving habits, such as if you’re a lover of road trips. Photo:

6. Shop around

Just like any consumer purchase, drivers have a lot of options. Go ahead and take the information you’ve gathered from above, and shop around. You can return to your dealership, although oftentimes this is the more expensive option. (NOTE: My Ford dealership actually offered to match any other tire quote, so ask them about price matching.)

For convenience, many consumers first consider their local tire shop or discount tire store. It’s often a matter of convenience and usually located closer to your home. Prices are usually reasonable, and I’ve discovered that the service managers or technicians are very helpful. Quotes are also as simple as a phone call or stopping by the store.

Or, you can order your tires through Amazon or a third party supplier like Tire Rack or Tirebuyer; these sites promise the lowest possible price and are great for people who have a favorite mechanic or can handle the installation themselves.

All season, summer or winter tires? What’s a girl to do? With these 9 simple tips for buying tires, you’ll know what to do. Photo:

7. Read the reviews

Take all your options and quotes and start reading the reviews. See what the experts say about the tires. Expensive doesn’t always equal the best tires. Sometimes inexpensive tires wear as well as their premium competitors. But sometimes you do get what you pay for.

Subscription service like Consumer Reports separate tires into categories, such as braking, hydroplaning, tread life, ride comfort, and more. But there are so many reviews out there available simply at a click of a mouse – google your car, tire brands, etc. When you’ve read all the reviews, it’ll help you understand the differences, allow you to ask for what you want, and hone in on buying tires.

8. Decide what to spend

Gather your reviews and compare these to your quotes. Be sure to consider a warranty when buying tires. The warranty gives you an idea of how many miles you should get out of the tires. On most cars, tires last three to four years (40,000 -80,000 miles), which is covered by the warranty, which means that you’ll get a discount toward the remaining mileage if a covered damage incident occurs. However, if you traditionally put a lot of miles on your car, consider adding hazard insurance, usually only $15-$20 per tire. Also, many of these local tire stores include complimentary tire rotations, flat repairs, and more, so be sure to ask!

Since tires can be a huge expense, consider financing options. On my recent tire purchase, I spent over $1,100 for 4 new tires. I had saved half of that, so instead of putting the balance on a credit card, I applied for Discount Tire’s 9 months same as cash financing program. I qualified! Just be sure to pay off the loan BEFORE the 9 months as the interest rates after the interest-free period are extremely high!

9. Purchase your tires with confidence

You’ve done your homework. You’ve shopped around. You’ve read the reviews. Prepared your budget. Now, go ahead and take the plunge!

With these 9 tips for buying tires, purchase your tires with confidence and take your car on the road.

Have a thought or comment? Share it with us on social media! You can find us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. And be sure to sign up for our email newsletter!

How to choose tires for a car, when to change tires, how to understand that tires have expired

Konstantin Ishchenko

experienced motorist

Much depends on the condition of the suspension, springs and shock absorbers, but tires provide direct grip with the road. Wrong or worn tires can cause accidents. In this article, we will tell you how to avoid this.

What you will learn

  • When to change tires according to the season
  • How to know when it is time to change tires
  • How to store tires
  • How to choose tires for your car
  • Tire design
  • Other characteristics and features of car tires
  • How to choose the right tires for different conditions
  • Is it possible to put different tires
  • How to choose 20012
  • Where to buy car tires
  • What affects the cost of tires
  • How to save money on buying tires
  • Rules for the operation of rubber
  • How to get rid of unnecessary tires

When to change tires according to the season

In the spring - from winter to summer. There are no strict requirements in the regulatory documents: it is recommended to use winter tires from December to February, and summer tires from June to August. There are requirements for studded tires: they cannot be used from the first of June - for this they can be warned or fined 500 R. From winter to summer, they change shoes at an average daily temperature above +7 ° C. After this mark, winter tires wear out quickly and hold the road poorly.

Rules of the Customs Union "On the safety of wheeled vehicles"

In autumn - from summer to winter. It's time to change tires if the average daily temperature drops below +10 °C: summer tires become dull, grip becomes worse. In autumn, it is much more difficult to sign up for a tire fitting: the closer the frost, the longer the appointment. People are afraid of ice, the prospect of hitting someone else's car or flying into a ditch.

What to do? 02/21/20

Wheels scratched at my car service

How to know when it's time to change your tires

Car tires are consumables. In addition to seasonal replacement, it is important to replace them as soon as they are worn out or seriously damaged.

When the tire is worn. Each car tire has a wear indicator - a special jumper between the tread islands. As soon as the tread wears off and matches the level of at least one of the indicator jumpers, it's time to change the tire. Such a tire is dangerous, especially on wet surfaces.


How to save money on the operation of the machine

Insufficiently high tread poorly removes water from the tire contact patch with the roadway. Where you can confidently drive 70–80 km/h on new tires, on worn tires you can lose control of the car already at a speed of 55–60 km/h.

Indicator bar on a tire that has been through a season and a half

Some manufacturers apply their own wear indicators in addition to the standard ones. For example, on Nokian tires, numbers are cut in the middle of the tread: the larger the number, the deeper the cut.

A relatively new tire will have a lot of numbers, a worn one or two will remain - the rest will be erased. A drop with a cross is applied to the sidewall of the Continental tire. As soon as it is worn down to half, the tire should be considered worn out and replaced. But all these are rather exceptions - most tires do not have such indicators.

Wear may be uneven. If the tire has been inflated, the center of the tread will be worn off. If the tire pressure was too low, it will be relatively fresh and the sidewalls of the tread will be worn out.

Non-standard wear indicators. From left to right: Nokian with numbers - summer and winter, Continental summer - with a drop and a cross Tire that was pumped over: wear on the central part of the tread is much stronger

It also happens that either the inner or outer side of the tread wears out on one wheel. This means that the camber is broken - the angle of the wheel relative to the vertical plane. In this case, it is important to sign up for wheel alignment - this is a service during which the wheel alignment angles are adjusted.

It happens that the angles of the wheels are not adjusted. For example, if the car has been in a serious accident and its power parts of the body or suspension parts are deformed. In this case, you will have to eliminate these malfunctions, and then go to the wheel alignment stand again.


As I sued the auto service

Sawtooth or comb wear occurs on winter tires if the toe-in is broken - the angle of the wheel position in the horizontal plane. Sign up for a wheel alignment so that the same wear does not appear on the new tire.

Uneven tread wear. The tire was on a wheel with unadjusted camber Comb-shaped tread wear. Source:

When the tire is damaged and it is noticeable. It is quite easy to damage a tire: cut the sidewall, run into a piece of reinforcement or get hit, in place of which a hernia will come out. All sidewall damage is a good reason to buy a new tire: repairs will be expensive and ineffective. Damage to the working part of the tire - the tread - is less critical.

When damage is present but not visible. Hidden damage may appear on the back of the wheel. For example, a driver caught a hole, felt a good hit, got out, saw that everything was in order, and drove on. And on the reverse side, a piece of rubber was torn out and the cord became visible - the metal carcass of the tire. Such damages are found only when inspecting the chassis or at a tire fitting, and this is bad: they can cause an accident or serious damage to the car.

Service life of car tires. The tire life recommended by most manufacturers is five years, but this does not mean that they cannot be used for the sixth year. The expiration date is not limited by any documents.

GOST R 52900-2007

Tire manufacturers estimate tire service life differently. Nokian provided the most detailed explanation: “Tire life is not defined by law, but tires can only be considered new if they have been manufactured within the last five years. The recommended tire life is 6 years and the maximum is 10 years. Then the tire loses its consumer properties: grip deteriorates, vibration may appear on the body or steering wheel.

5 years

tire life recommended by most manufacturers

How to store tires

Storage location - less than a meter away from direct sunlight and heaters. In the sun, near the battery and in the rain, the tire will quickly lose its properties: the rubber will dry out and collapse. Permissible temperature - from -30 to +35 ° C, humidity - 50-80%. Do not leave the wheels dirty; they must be thoroughly washed before seasonal storage. Tires can be stored under a canopy in the open air for no more than a month.

GOST 54266-2010

The method of storage depends on the set: either tires separately or wheels as an assembly. Tires up to 205 mm wide can be stored in even stacks up to 2 m high. Tires from 210 mm are stored vertically - on edge. Every three months, all tires, regardless of width, should be rotated to change the footprint.

GOST does not explain how to store the wheels as an assembly, but Nokian has a visual manual for storage. Continental recommends hanging wheels by rims or storing them in a stack, similar to tires, turning them over every 4 weeks. It is advisable to reduce the air pressure in the tire to 1-1.5 atm and not make stacks of wheels - a tire plus a disk - more than four pieces.

Nokian Tire Storage TipsPDF, 2.1 MB

Featured Articles for Motorists

How to drive without fines and not overpay for car maintenance - in our mailing list along with other materials about money

How to choose tires for your car

First of all, you need to decide which tires are suitable. All important characteristics are written on the sidewall of the tire.

It is important to consider the dimensions of the tire when selecting it for a specific car and rim. All options provided for by the design of the car are written on special plates.

Depending on the brand of car, they can be found on the gas tank flap or on the B-pillar in the driver's doorway. The recommended tire pressure is also written here.


How to buy a used car

Decal with Mini John Cooper Works tire parameters in the doorway: size and recommended pressure at different loads Decal on the gas tank flap Skoda Octavia

Tire sizes are indicated in the format xxx/xx Rx. They are on the sidewall of the tire.

The first parameter is the tread width in mm. The size step is 10 mm, always 5 at the end. Next is the tire profile, or its height as a percentage relative to the width. The width of a tire with parameters 235/55/R16 is approximately 129 mm, and for a tire 195/55/R16 it is 107 mm.

R - an indication of the type of tire, in this case, that it is radial. There are also diagonal ones, but this is an outdated design. These have not been used for cars for a long time. The difference is in the design of the cord. A popular misconception is that R is a radius.

The last two digits are the diameter of the rim in inches, on which the tire can be placed.

It is undesirable to deviate from the tire parameters recommended by the car manufacturer. This can adversely affect handling, as well as cause the tire to rub against the wheel arch or suspension parts: this will damage the tire and increase the likelihood of an accident.

It happens that on the front and rear axles from the factory there are disks for rubber of different sizes. Usually we are talking about the width - the rear wheels can be wider than the front. In the people, such a set of disks is called a different-wide one.

Tire construction

Tube or tubeless construction. Previously, a car wheel consisted of three main parts: a disc, a tube, and a tire. The tire was responsible only for traction and overall strength, the chamber was a container for air. This design had serious drawbacks:

  1. The wheel weighed more.
  2. It was impossible to repair a puncture without dismantling the tire and in general to use the “harnesses” that are used to treat punctures now.
  3. The wheel heated up more due to the friction of the chamber on the tire.
  4. Balancing difficulty.

Now you can find a tube tire on a car only in a museum or in your grandfather's garage: the technology is outdated.

Modern tubeless tires do not have these drawbacks. Special protrusions in the disks — hubs, for which the tire clings, help to maintain the tightness of the tubeless wheel.

Manufacturers still mark tubeless tires with a special tubeless mark, and those intended for use with a tube - tube type, but now these are only rare domestic models

Cord construction type. Each tire is multi-layered, a single rubber product will not be able to provide the desired shape and strength. Therefore, inside the tire there is a cord - a kind of carcass. The cord can be metal, synthetic fibers or textile threads. According to the method of laying the cord, tires are divided into radial and diagonal.

Tire properties depending on the paving method

Bias tire Radial tire
2 or more cords 1 ply cord
Smaller footprint Larger road contact patch
Tire heavier than Tire lighter
Used on commercial vehicles Used on passenger cars
Cheaper than More expensive


Radial tire

2 ply or more

1 ply

Smaller footprint

Larger footprint

Heavier tire

lighter tire

900 2 Used on commercial vehicles

Used on passenger cars


More expensive

Radial tire cords are parallel to the wheel circumference, on top of each other. For diagonal tires, the cord layers overlap each other diagonally. Source: Kolobox

Other specifications and features of automotive rubber

DOT marking. The name comes from the American Department of Transportation - an analogue of our Department of Transportation. In 1978, this department approved mandatory labeling for all automobile tires, which includes Treadwear, Traction, and Temperature grades marked on the sidewall. Now most manufacturers use this system, selling tires without such marking is illegal in the USA.

Treadwear. Some people want tires to last as long as possible, others want good grip. So far, these qualities have not been learned to combine in one tire.

The wear rate of a tire is indicated by the Treadwear index. Typically, for products for passenger cars, this parameter ranges from 100 to 600. In terms of kilometers, this is approximately 10,000-15,000 km per hundred points. For example, index 240 corresponds to 24,000-36,000 km. At the end of the range there will be tires that were used with a calm driving style.

Traction also shows the grip class, but unlike Russian traffic rules and technical regulations, the classification is based not on distance in meters, but on the deceleration coefficient - G, which the tire can provide. According to Traction, all tires are divided into classes according to their ability to effectively stop a car on wet asphalt and concrete: from the best AA to the worst C.

Traction classification

Class G on asphalt G on concrete
AA More than 0.54 m/s² 0.38 m/s²
A More than 0.47 m/s² 0.35 m/s²
B More than 0.38 m/s² 0.26 m/s²
C Less than 0.38 m/s² 0.26 m/s²

Grade AA

G on asphalt

More than 0. 54 m/s²

G on concrete

0.38 m/s²

Class A

G on asphalt

More than 0.47 m/s²

G² on concrete

3 9002 0.35 0043 Class B

G on asphalt

More than 0.38 m/s²

G on concrete

0.26 m/s²

Class C

G on asphalt

Less than


G on concrete

0.26 m/s²

Temperature curve, Temperature. All tires are divided into three classes according to resistance to heat generation during movement: A, B and C. Class A tires effectively remove heat at speeds over 185 km / h, class B - from 160 to 185 km / h, class C - from 137 up to 160 km/h. For passenger cars, there are almost no tires on sale, except for class A.

Runflat. This rubber has a thick and stiff sidewall. It can be driven up to 80 km at speeds up to 80 km/h after a puncture or side cut with a complete loss of pressure.

It is important that the machine is equipped with a tire pressure system, otherwise the driver may not recognize a flat tire, exceed the recommended speed, or drive more than 80 km, which at best will lead to damage to the rim, and at worst, to an accident.

Many vehicles come with runflat tires from the factory. Especially on those who do not have a spare tire. Such tires are 1.5-2 times more expensive than ordinary ones, they make driving less comfortable: due to the hard sidewall, such rubber smooths out bumps much worse and is heavier than conventional tires.

But you don't have to call a tow truck: you can almost always get to the tire shop on your own. If you drive on a relatively flat road, there will be no damage to the alloy wheel: it is still a few centimeters from the road surface.


How to repair a car under a recall campaign

Load and maximum speed indices. Load Index is a two- or three-digit number that indicates the maximum weight that the tire can support. The speed index is denoted by a Latin letter. It shows the maximum allowable speed that the tire can withstand. All indices are summarized in tables.

How to read the speed index

Speed ​​index Maximum speed, km/h
L 120
M 130
N 140
P 150
Q 160
R 170
S 180
T 190
U 200
H 210
V 240
W 270
Y 300
Z 300+

Speed ​​index

Maximum speed, km/h

If you want to know how to read the load index, find your value in the table.

How to read load index

Load index

Weight per tire, kg 002 105














120 1120
















How to read the load index

Load index Weight per tire, kg Load index Weight per tire, kg Load index Weight per tire, kg
62 265 83 487 104 900
63 272 84 500 105 925
64 280 85 515 106 950
65 290 86 530 107 975
66 300 87 545 108 1000
67 307 88 560 109 1030
68 315 ​​ 89 580 110 1060
69 325 90 600 111 1090
70 335 91 615 112 1120
71 345 92 630 113 1150
72 355 93 650 114 1180
73 365 94 670 115 1215
74 375 95 690 116 1250
75 387 96 710 117 1285
76 400 97 730 118 1320
77 412 98 750 119 1360
78 425 99 775 120 1400
79 437 100 800 121 1450
80 450 101 825 122 1500
81 462 102 850 123 1550
82 475 103 875 124 1600

Pressure index is another name for the load index.

Euro label. Manufacturers put special stickers on tires. They have three parameters that are not written about on the bus itself. These stickers appeared in 2012. Since then, they have been on any tire sold in the EU.

Label according to EC Regulation 1222/2009. This is a complex document with formulas and parameters like rolling resistance - it does not have the usual values ​​​​like fuel consumption or braking distances. The sticker describes the tire according to three characteristics: noise level, fuel economy class and wet grip class.


11 economical cars for daily driving

Noise level shows the noise level in decibels. One black sound wave is 3 or more decibels below the 2016 European norm. Two waves - at the normal level or quieter, but less than 3 decibels. Three - noisy tire, out of limit.

Fuel economy class. A is the most economical. The lower the class, the more the tire resists rolling and the higher the fuel consumption. There is a 7.5% difference in fuel consumption between the most economical class A tire and the most "wasteful" class G. That is, for an average car with a consumption of 10 liters per 100 km and an annual mileage of 25,000 km, class A tires will save up to 187 liters of fuel - 8000 R.

Road grip. The same letters, but without color indication. This estimate was obtained when checking the braking distance on asphalt. The shorter the stopping distance, the closer the letter is to the beginning of the alphabet. The difference between A and G is more than 18 meters: A is the minimum stopping distance, B is plus 3 meters to A, C is plus 7 meters to A, D is plus 10 meters to A, E is plus 12 meters to A, F is plus 18 meters to A.

Sticker on a new tire

Color markers on tires. There are another colored stripes on the tire tread - these are technological marks, they are of no use to the buyer. These drawings guide the production line, and they can also show the batch and release date.

The most pedantic car owners may try to buy a set of new tires with identical stripes, but it is better to focus on the stamp with the release date on the sidewall.

How to choose the right tire for different conditions

Features of the choice of all-season tires. Theoretically, they can be ridden all year round. The rubber compound works in the temperature range from -7 to +15 °C. In severe frosts, rubber hardens like summer tires at temperatures below +10 °C, and in hot weather it becomes softer, like winter tires at temperatures above +7 °C. In any case, all-season tires are not suitable for either hot asphalt or ice ruts.

All-season tires are chosen when they want to save on tire fitting and buying an extra set of tires. This is true for crossovers and SUVs with relatively low annual mileage.

Features of the choice of summer tires. There are models for quiet city driving. Such tires will help save fuel, please with a low noise level and will last three to four seasons. At the same time, they will not tolerate overheating, will not provide perfect grip on the road and will not allow you to drive a car with great comfort.

The opposite - tires for those who like to push the gas to the floor. Such tires will make noise, increase fuel consumption and wear out in one or two seasons. In return, the driver will get excellent grip and driving pleasure.

Features of the choice of winter tires. There are three types of winter tires.

The studded tires are good for driving on ice and packed snow. They have relatively hard rubber, deep tread and studs. And they also hold the road well on asphalt: the spikes have been hidden in the tread for a long time.

Ideal conditions - ice cover above -15°C. The ice is soft enough for the spikes to grip most effectively.

Disadvantages: they are very noisy, they have a low speed index. Usually, you can drive on studded tires no faster than 160-180 km/h. And they are also banned in many European countries because they spoil the asphalt.

Scandinavian style friction tires, aka Velcro, studless and made for harsh winters. Rough tread pattern, soft rubber compound and many sipes - horizontal slots on the islands of the tire tread.

Ideal conditions are snow and ice below -15°C. They are noticeably quieter, you can move at a much higher speed on them.

Disadvantages: such tires wear out quickly, almost do not hold the car on melted smooth ice at temperatures above -5 °C. There is a small distance between the tread islands, such tires do not drain water well from the contact patch with the roadway.

Alpine type friction tires without studs and made for mild winters. There are 1.5-2 times fewer sipes on the tread, the grooves for water drainage are much wider. This is the most wear resistant winter tire.

Ideal conditions - puddles, asphalt, -5 to +3 °C. Well remove water from the contact patch with the roadway.

Disadvantages: poor grip on any ice and packed snow.

Is it possible to put different tires

According to the Rules of the Road, different tires cannot be put on one axle of a vehicle. This is considered a malfunction in which the use of a car is prohibited.

p. 5 of the Traffic Regulations of the Russian Federation: wheels and tires

At the same time, the rules do not prohibit installing tires of different brands and models on different axles of the same car, but it’s better not to do this. The car and all its systems are designed for the same tires with the same grip.

This is especially true for modern cars with many electronic assistants: stabilization systems, brake force distribution. You can drive on such a combination of tires, but no one knows how the car will behave in an extreme situation.

How to choose a manufacturer

Like everywhere else, there are premium brands and there is something cheap. But cool brands have failed models, while budget brands have successful ones.

There is a lot of research and testing behind famous brand tires. Before entering the market, large companies test each new model in the most extreme conditions. Tires can be rolled on arctic ranges or in the desert.

Often, rubber is tested in the conditions of sports competitions and only then the technology is sent to the mass market. The more famous the manufacturer and the more expensive its products, the greater its budget for the development of new models.

There are also very cheap tires, often from China. They can directly write that they copied the tread pattern of a prestigious model, but this is not enough: there is also a rubber composition, cord design and other parameters.

Prices for tires of the same size may differ by multiples. The smaller the profile and the larger the width, the greater the difference.

To look at something other than the brand and choose what you need, there is an algorithm:

  1. Decide on the type of rubber: summer, studded, friction or Eurowinter.
  2. Specify the size and features of the tires, if Runflat is needed.
  3. Assess the driving style: calm, active, desire to play checkers, break from a traffic light and brake hard.
  4. Read the latest tire tests for the correct size. The same model may behave differently depending on the profile, width and diameter.
  5. Choose 3-5 finalist models and read reviews about them on Drive-2, in Yandex Market or see reviews on YouTube.
  6. Select shop, pick up tires.

Where to buy car tires

Specialized stores. There is a large selection, manufacturers' catalogs and competent advice. This will appeal to those who buy car tires for the first time or are simply not very interested in the technical side of cars. There is a service here - there will be a guarantee for tires, there is tire fitting and seasonal storage. The one-stop principle works: you can arrive on spikes and leave on a new summer and with an empty trunk.

Online hypermarkets and warehouses. Rubber is sold by large Internet sites and small shops. The option is suitable for those who want to find cheaper, are ready to take risks and waste time for this. Here, the entire responsibility for checking the parameters of the tire, the date of its release and, in general, compliance with the order lies with the buyer. If something goes wrong, you will have to take all four tires to no one knows where and change them. Tire fitting and storage is the buyer's concern.


How to save on car maintenance?

Flea markets, car club forums and ad services. Avito, Yulia and specialized automotive forums offer a lot of rubber. You can buy a completely fresh set at a good price, or you can buy rubbish and expensive. There is a great risk of buying tires with hidden damage: the fact that the tire is crooked will only be opened at a tire fitting, many hernias will be visible only on an inflated tire.

Sometimes the ability to measure depth and read parameters does not help. To put the correct year on an old tire, there is a special stamp. The tread depth can be machined, and a tire that is white from old age can be treated with ink.

With the help of special equipment, you can even remove the remnants of the old protector and stick a new one. It remains to hope for the reputation of the seller and look at the goods that he sells or sold. I try to avoid those who sell used rubber all the time.

What affects the cost of tires

First of all, the size. The larger the diameter, the more expensive. But at the same time, the lower the tire profile, the more expensive it is. This may seem counterintuitive, as less material is used.

Tire inner layers and construction play an important role. Due to the low profile height, the sidewall of such a tire must be much stronger than the same tire with a high profile.

Tire make and model affected. Rubber from large, famous brands with a century of history is more expensive, but the budget lines of well-known companies will allow you to save a lot. Tires of young, unknown manufacturers, especially Asian ones, will cost even less.

Tires with runflat technology are more expensive than conventional tires, because their sidewalls have special requirements.

How to save money on tires

Is it worth buying retreaded tires? It is almost impossible to buy such tires for a passenger car in Russia in 2021. The cord design of car tires for projector restoration is not intended, unlike truck tires, for which this is a very popular service. In some countries in Eastern Europe, you can buy retreaded tires in popular sizes, but their properties are mediocre: long braking distances, poor handling.

When is the best time to buy tires? The popular theory that tires are best bought between seasons is no longer valid. You won’t be able to save money this way: the price of tires almost does not change throughout the year.

The tire business is seasonally cyclical, and it is not worth hoping for discounts on studded tires and its wide selection in June. For the next winter season, it will be delivered in August, and summer tires in March.

But by the season, the freshest tires will be on sale. This is true for those who drive very little, or for sports tires. The fresher the tire, the better the grip will be: the rubber compound loses its properties over time.

Rules for the use of rubber

Always make sure that your tire pressure is correct: it is critical to tire health. If you lose pressure, do not continue driving on an empty wheel: this may destroy the tire.

Try not to store tires and the car within half a meter of heaters.

How to dispose of unwanted rubber

Old tires cannot simply be thrown in the trash or buried. This is hazard class 4 waste, they must be disposed of.

GOST 12.1.007-76

Tires can be sold on Avito or other ad service. It will turn out if there is no serious damage and the tread depth allows them to be used further.

Old tires are readily picked up by a tire shop. Free if the tread is enough for the season. If the rubber is completely worn out, they will accept tires for recycling and take 100-250 R for one tire.


How to sell on Avito: put photos and ad text

Tires can also be recycled on your own. There are organizations that accept used tires for recycling and do not ask for money for it. It happens that they organize special collection points, containers, or come for tires.

Container for recycling tires

New tires or used - which is better?

Which tires are better to buy: new or used? The question that every second motorist asks. We will try to talk about the pros and cons of both options.

Tires are a relatively inexpensive part of a car, but in total they cost quite a lot of money over the entire life of the car.

  • Where do
  • tires come from
  • Types of tire damage
  • What is still better?

Tires are one of the few car parts that needs to be changed regularly. In many respects, this depends on several factors: the intensity of the vehicle’s operation, the time of year, the condition of the roads, the type of car, etc. Therefore, every self-respecting motorist must simultaneously own at least two sets: winter and summer tires.

It's no secret that maintenance and service of your iron horse is not a cheap task. The same goes for changing tires. High-quality and reliable tires designed for high mileage are not cheap, so even people who are provided with everything are increasingly thinking about how to save money when solving this issue. One of these personal savings options is buying used tires. This article will discuss what is better and what are the advantages of this or that choice.

Tire warehouse

If you belong to that part of car owners who believe that used tires are dangerous and inappropriate, then we advise you to familiarize yourself with their classification:

  1. Tires from insurance companies.

    Europeans tend to insure everything and everything. This also applies to car tires, which are replaced when damaged or worn. Moreover, the entire set changes, even if one part of it is damaged. The depreciation of the unit in this case does not exceed 10%.

  2. Leasing companies.

    The supplier again is Europe with all its features and nuances of the automotive business. Scheduled maintenance obliges drivers to replace if the tread height has worn out by 3-4 mm. This means that for our roads and cars, this tire will be of very high quality.

  3. Used tires from the manufacturer.

    Many (if not all) car manufacturing companies enter into contracts for the supply of tires for their models. However, before shipment, they undergo a so-called test drive. At the same time, those tires that directly participated in it are either sent for recycling or sold as used.

  4. Domestic tire shops

    have either their own resources (our tires are worn out by 75-90%, which almost completely negates the possibility of their further use), or quality samples brought from abroad. Which one you get is a matter solely of your understanding of the problem. Therefore, used tires are a justified risk to save money.

Having bought a new tire, you can not worry about its condition and safely put it into operation. The same cannot be said about used tires, as there may be defects or damage that indirectly or directly affect your safety on the road. We have identified for you the main types of damage that are easy to see with the naked eye:

  • Punctures of the tread. The most frequent and hidden from the inexperienced view type of damage. They are obtained when the car runs into sharp or hard objects that are dotted with domestic roads. Is it dangerous? Yes, but not always. If, for example, the tire ran over a nail, and after removing it, the puncture is not visible, then the tire remains in a normal and ready-to-use condition. If it does not fit, then the cord is damaged. It is better to avoid such a purchase;
  • Sidewall cut or breakdown. This damage occurs as a result of collision with large and hard objects (curbs or stones). Whether it is repairable or not depends on many factors, but it is better to avoid such a purchase if possible. Tires that bulge or bulge after inflation should also be avoided. If the rubber in the tire is not balanced, then there is a direct danger of its use.

Ask a workshop to dismantle the tire if it is assembled on the same used wheels. And let it not seem to you excessive arrogance, because now we are talking about your safety.

Many experienced drivers believe that the most important thing in a used tire is the remaining tread depth. In fact, this can only tell you how much it will last. Much more attention should be paid to its integrity and safety. By the way, manufacturers of modern tires equip their products with special indicators that show how much the tire has worn out. It is believed that the maximum distance from the end of the tread to the rubber should be 1. 8 mm.

You should also not resort to buying car tires that were manufactured more than 7-8 years ago. It is not known how they were stored all this time and under what conditions they were used. It is very difficult to trace their history, so it is better to simply ignore such proposals.

We return to the fact that it comes down to the experience and personal skills of the driver himself. If knowledge allows you to confidently select quality tires from a trusted supplier, then this should be given attention. Otherwise, buying new ones will not become prohibitively expensive for you, and in some cases even save money. Simple math - the average level of tire wear is 50-55%, that is, they will last almost 2 times less than new tires. At the same time, their price is only 30-40% lower, so it's up to you to decide what to do.

New tires are new tires. It is perfectly balanced, has not been subjected to various loads and is ready to serve you for several years and seasons immediately after it has been broken in. But here, too, care will not be superfluous: it should fit your particular car and be selected based on the type of terrain. Properly selected tires are both safety and comfort, which not all used tires can be proud of.

Buying tires is an important business. How to proceed? Save right away or invest in new tires? How often to change it and many other questions will find their answers in different ways for everyone. Only one thing can be said for sure - used tires reduce the safety of your ride, no matter how high-quality they are.

Tire selection form

Especially to make it easy for you to choose the right tires for your car, we have developed the most convenient form of tire selection.

Take a look at the main page of the site:

With this form, you will be able to choose the model that suits your car. So, now it will be easier for you to decide which summer tires are better to choose.

Learn more