What is the right size for my car?
Buying suitable tires in size can be very complicated, especially if you decide to upgrade from original equipment.
The main feature of a tire is to be able to withstand the weight of your car. It does not matter how successful the tire is, if it is overloaded, it will remain an insufficient reserve for good handling and a quick emergency response. So, when you are in the process of selection, make sure that the size of the tire is designed to bear the weight of your car. Do not underestimate!
The following feature is the total size of the tire. Because many of the functions of today’s cars are computerized, preserving a high accuracy of input data ensures accurate results of the on-board computer calculations. An important part of the speed equation is given by the total wheel size.
For passenger vehicles and minivans, keeping the 3% limit of the diameter change is desirable. Pick-ups and SUVs are built to allow up to 15% differences. Most sizes can be calculated. For more information, look at the technical article “How to calculate the tire size”
Even if 3 percent may seem very low, in reality, this means a difference of up to ¾ or approximately 20 mm.
For greater accuracy of the selection process, a system called “Plus Sizing” has been developed. Plus Sizing takes into account the diameters of the available tires and then you can select the right width.
How many tires do I need?
Since the tires determine the personality and performance of your car, all four tires should be as identical as possible, otherwise handling problems may occur. If the tires do not fit, the “front” and “back” of the car may not respond as quickly to the controls, which leads to difficult control of the vehicle.
Choosing the right tires for your car is an important decision.
If the tire profile is tall enough, but you have to change one tire because it suffered an accident or damage, you should replace it with a tire exactly the same as the other three. Choose a replacement tire from the same brand, line, size, and speed index. Even if you find a cheaper tire, it’s not worth it, because it will be different from the others.
If a pair of tires, although having a sufficient profile, must be changed because they are defective or have suffered damage, you should replace them as much as possible with tires as close as possible to the two remaining ones. Although it would be ideal to find identical tires, other tires with the same size, type, category or speed index may have good results. Only consider tires in the same category as the replaced ones. New tires will be installed ONLY ON THE REAR SIDE.
When you go to the tire shop or tire changing service, ask the mechanic to tell you why they were used faster than the others. It may be due to faulty rotation, misalignment or knocks, friction with other parts. Once the problem has been identified, it can be corrected before damaging the new tires.
Note that your goal is to wear all four tires at the same time to change them as a set.
A set of four?
If all four tires wear out at the same time, you have the greatest flexibility in choosing some new ones. If you are satisfied with the performance of the tires you are changing, replace them with identical ones. If you want your tires to have a longer life, or you want a better outfit or comfort, there are likely tires to help you reach that goal. Track the different categories until you find one that describes a tire that suits your needs.
Once you know how many tires you need to change, determine their size and type by answering the questions below:
Do I Need Summer, Winter or All-Season Tires?
Do you drive only on sunny roads or through rain and snow? Will you drive your vehicle on-road or off-road? For each of these types of driving, there are different types of tires.
Ask the following questions to determine which category of tires to choose:
What’s the worst weather I’ll ever encounter?
If you use more than one set of rims and tires (e.g. summer tires in summer and snow tires in winter), you can select tires that will exactly meet your requirements.
If you use a single set of all-season tires, you can handle your car and perform in good weather conditions, but you will have big problems when conditions get worse.
So it’s very important to choose the tires that can handle the harshest driving conditions that you expect to meet. When you are stuck in snow or mud, because your tires do not have the right features, you will blame their performance, forgetting how easy they are in other road conditions!
What are the typical road conditions I’m facing?
If you are the only one who runs through the neighborhood, and a “long journey” is up to the mall outside the city, it would probably “go” almost any tire. But if you drive on crowded roads, on highways or national roads, you will be better served by tires with a quick response. If you go a long way on the highway, at high speeds, you will want tires that are comfortable and wear less. If you like to ride off roads, you will want tires with high maneuverability. And if you drive on the track, or in autocross competitions, you will want the best competitive tires available on the market.
How do you deal with the two situations?
If the worst road conditions and normal road conditions are one and the same, then a single set of tires will be enough. If you live beyond the “snow belt”, and just snap on occasion, all-season tires are suited. If you use the SUV just as a family car and drive it on the road, then the tires with the aggressive profile are not for you (that’s not if you only fit the car for the look).
If the most terrible conditions are actually the day-to-day conditions (drive snow all winter) but differ depending on the season (summer, sea, sun, highway, speed) then you need two sets of tires.
Even if at first sight two sets of tires would seem a big expense, keep in mind that, by alternative use, wear is halved.