Category Archives: tire sizes

Beginner’s Guide to Tire Shopping

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20141102_094250It’s hard to be a beginner in the midst of the tire aisle trying to determine the right tire for your car, truck or van. There are so many different options and tire features, and all you want are tires that can make your vehicle go down our Wisconsin roads. However, don’t make a beginner’s mistake and believe that all tires are equal or that the cheapest option is the right tire for your vehicle. Instead do your research and use this beginner’s guide for tire shopping:

Select the Right Tire for Driving Condition

What do you need your tires for? A muscle car you only take out in the summer? A minivan that needs to get the kids back and forth to school? A comfortable and a great ride when you want to take a drive?

If you need cars for your muscle car, look for tires with a higher speed rating. For day-to-day use, you do not need tires with a higher speed rating, but you do need tires that can provide a nice, quiet ride and maintains safe tread depth. Do your research, and be honest with yourself—and the experts you consult—about your driving style. If you have to venture out in the worst winter conditions, select a tire with a proven record on winter roads.

Another strategy for tire selection is to stick with what works. If you are happy with the performance of the current tires on your vehicle, replace your old tires with the same tires that you had before.

How to Determine Tire Size

It’s easy to find the size of the tire you need for your vehicle. Tire sizes are found on the tire, in your user manual and often on the inside of the driver-side door. Look for three numbers, such as P255/55R17.

The P indicates that the tire is intended for passenger cars. You may also commonly see the letters LT, which is for a light truck. The first numbers are the width, in millimeters, between the two sidewalls. The second number, in this example 55 is the aspect ratio. The number is a percentage, and the higher the percentage, the larger the sidewall of the tire. The last number, 17 in this case, is the diameter of wheel that the tire fits on.

Question of Snow Tires

All-season tires, the most common tires on our cars, are designed for rain, heat, cold and snow. They give you a good all-around tire for those conditions, but the “take” is that they are not specially equipped for winter. Constructed with a softer compound and tread pattern designed specifically for getting through winter precipitation, snow tires can dig down and find traction on even the roughest roads. If you HAVE to venture out on winter roads because of work or school, snow tires get you there.

Once you’ve gone through these simple criteria, visit a tire shop and ask them what tires work best for you. They can make recommendations based on what they’ve seen work on other Wisconsin customers, and can handle the extreme heat and cold of our Wisconsin weather. A good tire shop can also assist with a full car alignment so your new tires wear evenly and you can get the most miles out of your tires.

Give the gift that keeps giving…tires?

michelin_tires_watertown_tire_shopYou may have never considered a set of tires as a Christmas present, but maybe you should. A set of tires can make anyone’s eyes light up, and for very good reason:

  • Tires can keep your son, daughter, cousin, friend, niece or nephew on the road. With our Wisconsin winters, a set of all-season or snow tires can improve traction when traveling through the snow. By giving tires, you’re not only keeping your gift recipient on the road, you are also giving yourself the peace of mind knowing they are safer.
  • The gift of tires is the gift that your gift recipient can use all year long. If you buy all-season tires, your gift recipient can keep driving through the Wisconsin snowy winters and summer thunderstorms. If you buy snow tires, your gift recipient can remove their existing all-season tires and have them remounted in the summer. This simple act saves them money by lengthening the life of their tires.
  • A driver with old tires is a driver at risk. Don’t know how to tell if you need tires? Read our recent blog post for an easy way to tell. Tires without adequate tread lose traction and can even hydroplane on wet roads putting your gift recipient at danger during our wet Wisconsin weather.
  • For a gift recipient on a budget, new tires are a huge help. We all know a college student or single parent who is counting their pennies. New tires are not always in the budget, but necessary for anyone who needs to get back and forth to work or school. Tires are a practical gift that gives you, and them, peace of mind about their driving and budget.
  • Tires are perfect for car owners who regard their cars as their babies. Know someone with a muscle car or project car? Give them tires for one of their most highly prized possession so they can take their baby out for a spin, and enjoy time together on the road.

Whether you are giving the gift as a practical necessity, or fun accessory for their project car, contact or stop in at Tire-Rifik. We can help you find the proper size tire that makes you, and your gift recipient happy. Now your only challenge is finding wrapping paper and a bow large enough to cover your set of tires.

How to Select the Right Tires for your Car (Simplified!)

michelin_tires_watertown_tire_shopOverwhelming. At least it feels like it when faced with all the different kinds of tires available for your car. Don’t panic. Selecting the right tires for your car is easier than you think. Just start with a few questions and research to find the tire that is a good fit, and a good value. You don’t have to blow your budget to get the right tires for your car, but you do have to know the answers to a few simple questions:

What do I want from my tires?

What do you need your tires for? A muscle car you only take out in the summer? A minivan that needs to get the kids back and forth to school? A comfortable and a great ride when you want to take a drive?

If you need cars for your muscle car, look for tires with a higher speed rating. For day-to-day use, you do not need tires with a higher speed rating, but you do need tires that can provide a nice, quiet ride and maintains safe tread depth. Do your research, and be honest with yourself—and the experts you consult—about your driving style. If you have to venture out in the worst winter conditions, select a tire with a proven record on winter roads.

Another strategy for tire selection is to stick with what works. If you are happy with the performance of the current tires on your car, replace your old tires with the same tires that you had before.

What size do I need?

It’s easy to find the size of the tire you need. Tire sizes are found on the tire, in your user manual and often on the inside of the driver-side door. Look for three numbers, such as P255/55R17.

The P indicates that the tire is intended for passenger cars. You may also commonly see the letters LT, which is for a light truck. The first numbers are the width, in millimeters, between the two sidewalls. The second number, in this example 55 is the aspect ratio.  The number is a percentage, and the higher the percentage, the larger the sidewall of the tire. The last number, 17 in this case, is the diameter of wheel that the tire fits on.

Do I need snow tires?

All-season tires, the most common tires on our cars, are designed for rain, heat, cold and snow. They give you a good all-around tire for those conditions, but the “take” is that they are not specially equipped for winter. Constructed with a softer compound and tread pattern designed specifically for getting through winter precipitation, snow tires can dig down and find traction on even the roughest roads. If you HAVE to venture out on winter roads because of work or school, snow tires get you there.

Ask your friends what has worked for them and read through online reviews for outside opinions. Remember to screen the reviews and look for others who drive in similar conditions. You’re not going to have the same experience as a driver in Florida—the driving conditions and weather is different in the Midwest. Also take into account their driving style. Some drivers are harder on tires than others, and their tires reflect that difference in wear.

When you’ve made your decision, or if you are trying to decide between just a few options, visit a local tire shop and ask what they’ve seen on cars that have come in. They can tell you what tires would be ideal for our Wisconsin weather and maintains adequate tread depth, giving you the maximum value for your investment, as well as traction and a good ride no matter what the weather and road throws at you.