Tires are often an afterthought for people when they’re thinking about purchasing or maintaining a car.
However, tires should be at the forefront of every driver’s mind. In fact, tires are possibly the most important safety feature in a car.
Tires support the hefty weight of your vehicle. They keep the vehicle balanced, gripping the road on turns at various speeds. They keep your vehicle literally grounded in all types of weather. And they help your vehicle come to a stop when you push the brake.
Shopping for new tires can be challenging, as there are a lot of factors to consider. There are multiple types of tires and multiple features that affect both price and performance.
Here’s our tire buying guide in Michigan to help you make your decision when it’s time to replace your tires.
Types of Tires
There are three main types of tires — all-season, winter and summer.
All-season tires are designed to be an everyday tire no matter what climate and driving conditions. That’s why almost all new cars will come with all-season tires.
These tires give a good ride, a quiet drive and good handling. They perform great in perfect weather, while providing solid grip in wet weather. All-season tires also provide some capability for snowy and icy weather.
In many parts of the country, all-season tires will do just fine all the time. In some locations such as Michigan, though, drivers may want to consider winter tires.
These tires used to be known as “snow tires,” since they are designed specifically to provide extra traction in colder climates with ice and snow. Winter tires provide superior traction, turning and stopping capability in winter weather.
The problem with winter tires is they don’t perform as well in warmer months. People who use winter tires typically use them only on a seasonal basis. They’ll put them on in winter and put on summer or all-season tires for the other months.
This type of tire is actually good for three out of the four seasons — with winter excluded, of course. They’re designed to perform best in moderate to warm weather in both dry and wet conditions.
For some parts of the country, these tires will work well all year round. In Michigan, that’s not the case. Summer tires typically only perform well above 40 degrees.
Once you have selected the type, or types, of tire you want to use, there are other factors to consider. This includes size, treadwear, speed rating and run-flats.
Each vehicle is designed to use a specific size of tire. When you replace the tires, it’s always a good idea to replace them with an equivalent size. That will keep your vehicle running at its optimal performance.
The size of your tires should be listed in the owner’s manual. It’ll also be written on the tires themselves.
On the tire will be a series of letters and numbers, such as 245/40-R18. The number before the slash indicates the tire’s widest width (in millimeters). The number after is the aspect ratio, or the height of the sidewall expressed as a percentage of its width.
The last number in that sequence is the tire’s diameter. The “R” in this case shows the tire is radial, which is common in almost all commercial vehicle tires.
Treadware is one indication of how many miles you can typically drive on your tires for before they need to be replaced. This will also be listed on the tire itself. Higher numbers indicate more expected driving mileage.
This isn’t a definitive way to gauge your tire’s expected mileage, though. You should also reference the tire’s tread-life warranty, if it has one.
This feature signifies how fast your tires can drive safely for a set time, and also their performance potential. High-performance vehicles naturally have tires with a higher speed rating than sedans or minivans.
Your tires should have a speed rating that is equivalent to the maximum speed of your vehicle and a safety margin.
The speed rating will be written on the tire after the tire size. It will be a letter from L through Y. The lower end is 75 miles-per-hour and the higher end is 186 miles-per-hour.
Run-flats are a newer feature to tires. You’re able to drive on these tires at low speeds for short distances even after they are punctured and flat. This feature allows you to drive to your home or to a body shop to get a new tire, rather than being forced to pull to the side of the road.
This is a nice added feature, for sure, but they aren’t perfect. Run-flat tires often result in a rougher ride if the road isn’t smooth because of their stiffer sidewalls. They are also typically more expensive than normal tires.
Choose Your Tires and Your Insurance Carefully
Replacing the tires on your vehicle can be an expensive proposition. But, as perhaps the most important safety feature on your vehicle, they aren’t something that can be pushed to the side and overlooked.
Shopping for tires can be a daunting experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Following our tire buying guide in Michigan will help you make an educated choice for your vehicle, location, drive style and budget.
Likewise, shopping for auto insurance can be a daunting experience, too. There are so many options to choose from in terms of policies and companies that it can quickly get overwhelming.
At Signature Insurance, we have been providing drivers in Michigan with the best auto insurance for years. Our helpful and knowledgeable agents can walk you through the process and find the right auto policy for you.
Call us today for a free quote and to see why we’re different than other insurance companies.
Get insurance today!
At Signature Insurance we want to help you understand your insurance coverage options so you make the best decision.
Contact us at (586) 274-9600 and we’ll be happy to get quote for you from many of the top auto insurance companies or home insurance companies in Metro Detroit.