Moms Auto Know: How to Buy Tires
Don’t know what to get mom for Mother’s Day? Try a gift that no one wants to buy but everyone needs: Tires. The effort you spend here will make your gift thoughtful, useful, and perfect for Mother’s Day. The good news is we've got all the information you need to know in order to be an informed tire buyer.
The first thing you need to know is the correct size of your mom’s tires, but obtaining that information without raising questions may be a bit difficult. A quick and easy solution is to use the TIRE FINDER on NexenTireUSA.com. This tool will tell you what size of tires should be on her car, and which of Nexen’s fitments are available for her vehicle.
Guess what? Everything you need to know about a tire is stamped right into the rubber. Regardless of manufacturer or brand, every tire sold today is required to be stamped with certain vital information. So, knowing how to ‘read’ a tire’s sidewall is a useful skill that comes in handy when it’s time to shop for tires.
Reading the Sidewall
Take a close look at the sidewalls of the tires your Mom's using right now on her vehicle. You’ll see several letters and numbers, which might appear random. Nothing could be further from the truth.
For example, let's say your tire's sidewall reads: P215/65R15 89H.
• "P" stands for the type of tire - in this case, passenger. "LT" can often be found on a light truck or SUV tire, and no letter before the size would indicate that it’s a European metric tire.
• The "215" in this example represents the tire width, or 215mm measured from sidewall to sidewall.
• "65" shows the tire's aspect ratio, or the height of the tire's sidewall compared to its width. In this case, 65 means the height is equal to 65% of the tire's width.
• "R" simply means the tire's construction is radial, and the plies run radially from bead to bead.
• "15" is the wheel's diameter (the metal rim the tire is placed on) - in this case, the distance of the wheel from one edge to the other is 15 inches.
• "89" shows the tire's load rating, and "H" shows its speed rating. Both these ratings correspond to actual numbers in charts established for the tire industry. In this case, a load index of 89 means the tire can support 1,279 pounds at maximum air pressure, and an H speed rating means the tires can travel at a maximum speed of 130 mph.
It is generally recommended that you replace a speed-rated tire with a tire having an equivalent or greater speed rating and load index.
Load index and speed rating charts can be found by searching the Internet, but tire dealers also will be able to tell you which tires will suit your vehicle's needs.
Determining the Correct Type of Tire for the Vehicle
Once you know your Mom's tire size, you need to determine the correct type of tire for her vehicle. There are many to choose from, including summer, all-season and winter tires, as well as high-performance, performance, touring, etc. Each type of tire has a different tread pattern and rubber compound to ensure the best perform under unique driving conditions.
Does Mom live where there’s heavy rain, will she be driving on wet pavement a lot? If so, make sure you opt for a tire that has good wet handling capabilities. As far as ride comfort, would she prefer a soft, cushioned ride, or would she rather have a stiffer tire with crisp handling for sportier driving? Touring tires provide a softer ride compared to performance tires or ultra-high-performance tires, which are designed for sports cars or drivers who are a little more demanding when it comes to vehicle performance.
Now that you know what type of tire you're looking for, it's time to compare any treadwear warranties, customer satisfaction warranties or manufacturer's warranties. Depending on the size and type you need, tires to fit your mom’s vehicle will probably be available with large price differences and going with the cheapest tire isn’t always the best choice. As with almost anything else, often you get what you pay for when it comes to tires. This is where it's important to compare treadwear warranties. If a company is willing to stand behind their tire with a warranty, chances are you’re getting a great product. They’re basically saying, “We believe in our product and we’re willing to prove it to you.” You can be fairly certain a tire with a 25,000-mile warranty won't last as long as one with a 55,000-mile warranty.
We did the research and found that NEXEN Tire America has the industry’s best warranty. Their warranty was designed to protect the value of their customers' purchase, provide assurance when hazards occur, and free drivers from worry. The Nexen tire warranty is unmatched by any other. They promise right on their website that customers will reach their destination safely while enjoying a smooth comfortable ride. You can read more about the NEXEN Full Coverage Warranty yourself by clicking HERE.
My own car (a 2011 Ford Fiesta) is available with two different Nexen fitments: the ultra-high-performance asymmetrical N'fera SU4 summer tire, or the high-performance directional CP672 passenger tire. The ultra-high-performance summer tires offer a 25,000-mile warranty, while the high-performance passenger tires offer a 70,000-mile warranty. While I'd like to pretend my car is a racecar, the practical side of me recognizes the value of choosing tires with a higher expected life span. However, if your Mom drives a car offering more performance than my Fiesta, she might prefer the sportier ultra-high-performance summer tire.
Once you've selected the size and fitment you're interested in buying, use the Dealer Locator tool at nexentireusa.com to help you find an authorized Nexen Tire dealer. With thousands of Nexen dealers nationwide, there's sure to be one conveniently located near your Mom. To make it the ultimate Mother's Day gift, why not meet her there, and take her for a manicure while the shop is installing her new tires?
For more information or service regarding NEXEN Tire America, visit www.NexenTireUSA.com and use the Dealer Finder to locate your nearest Authorized Nexen Dealer. You can also call the toll-free technical support number: 1-800-57-NEXEN (63936) / 1-866-70-NEXEN (63936).
Chief Editor - AskPatty.com
Sponsored by Nexen Tire America