Tire tips
Published October 2015

Tire Know-How

7 tips for buying tires


Tires are a necessity for motorists, but it’s important to replace them before they get too tired, especially since Arizona’s sizzling summers age tires even further.
As a go-to source for automotive information, AAA tire experts offer seven tips that can help the next time you are buying tires.
1. Never buy used. Motorists may consider buying used tires to save a few bucks. However, AAA cautions against this, as you can’t be certain how the tires were treated before you acquired them. Plus, you could end up with tires that are 12 to 14 years old.

2. Save the date. Every tire has a stamp that includes the date the tire was made. Look for a series of numbers inside a rectangular box located on the sidewall of the tire. The last four numbers will be the manufacture date. For example, if the numbers are 0808, the tires were made in the eighth week of 2008. AAA Auto experts recommend not buying tires that are more than a year old.

3. Understand mileage. Tires often are advertised with a number that signifies how many miles the tire should last. Yet there are many variables that can lower that mileage, from the tires not being properly aligned to driving on rough roads. AAA Auto experts say getting about 40,000 miles for a set of tires is fairly standard.
4. Consider driving feel. Higher-mileage tires are going to be harder with a thicker tread. And while harder tires last longer, they offer a less comfortable, and noisier, ride.
5. Do a pressure check. Look for the proper pressure your tires should be inflated to on your vehicle’s doorjamb (not the pressure listed on the tire itself). Even if you replace the tires with other models, the pressure should remain the same because it is based on the weight of your vehicle. AAA Auto experts recommend staying with the recommended tire for the vehicle and not to purchase other types, such as low-profile tires. The suspension and braking systems are designed to operate with a specific tire size, and other tires will change the steering and braking characteristics, which could result in poor performance. Check tire pressure each month to help fuel economy, make tires last longer, and optimize vehicle safety.

6. Look for wear and tear. Wear bars are located in every tire and look like a raised bump every few inches. Once a tire’s tread is level with those wear bars, it’s time to replace it. Another way to check is to take a penny or quarter and place it upside down in the tread. If the tread is up to the president’s forehead, it’s OK.
7. Monitor inflation. If a tire looks low, it’s already more than halfway empty. In underinflated tires, the sidewall starts to collapse and the steel underneath the rubber will bend. When tires are inflated properly again, they tend to bulge and are prone to blowouts. Also don’t overinflate tires to avoid abnormal tire wear.
Learn More
Have a question about your car? Visit your local AAA Owned and Operated Auto Repair shop and ask! Find locations at AAA.com/repair.
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