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Five Things to Look for When Shopping For New Tires

Jun 07, 2023

A customer shopping for new tires and exploring a wide selection of tires at a store, finding the perfect fit for their vehicle's performance, safety, and style needs.

Is the tread wearing off on your tires? Or maybe you’re seeing bulges or cracks in the rubber? If so, then it’s definitely time to shop for new tires! But what if you don’t know where to begin? You’re not alone; with the huge array of brands, sizes and tire types available these days, shopping for new tires can feel like a daunting and confusing experience. 

Not to worry. In this article, we’ll lay out five things you need to look for when shopping for new tires. Let’s get started! 

1. Types of Tires 

The vast majority of vehicles today come with all-season tires. These are designed to provide all-around capability throughout the year, and they’ll perform well in almost every type of weather condition. However, tires designed specifically for more extreme summer or winter conditions are also available.  

What’s the difference? Summer Tires, as you might expect, are designed specifically to deliver dry weather traction in warm to hot weather. You’ll want summer tires (sometimes called “performance tires”) if you live in a sunny climate where rain showers are relatively infrequent.Winter Tires, meanwhile, are designed to provide maximum traction in cold weather, snow, ice or slippery weather conditions. Depending on the weather conditions where you live, you may opt for summer or winter tires rather than the more general-purpose, all season tires.   

2. Tire Size 

If you’re like most drivers, you’ll likely choose to replace your tires with something equivalent in size and type to the ones that originally came with your car. Your car was made to work well on that specific type and size, so fitting an identical or similar replacement will help maintain both the performance and safety of your vehicle. In fact, it’s relatively a bad idea to go up or down in tire size.  

If you’re wondering how to figure out what size tire your automobile prefers, this information can be found printed on the sidewalls of your current tires. You can also find this info in the car owner's manual and online, or you can ask your tire dealer. 

3. Speed Rating 

Tires also carry a speed rating, which indicates not only how fast they can safely go for a given period of time, but also the overall potential performance of the tires. For example, tires for high performance cars have a higher speed rating than those for mainstream family sedans and SUVs. The speed rating for the original tires that came with your vehicle will have been matched to the maximum speed the car could attain — with a significant additional safety margin built in. For this reason, it’s wise to seek out new tires with the same speed rating as your previous ones. 

4. Tread Wear and the Tire Mileage Warranty 

Here are two more pieces of data that will help you estimate how many miles you can expect from a set of tires: the tires’ tread wear rating and the tire mileage warranty. The tread wear rating is listed as a number on the tire’s sidewall; the higher this number, the longer the tire is likely to last. 

Another way to gauge potential tire life — and to compare the expected longevity of different tires you might be considering — is to look at the manufacturer's tread-life warranty. A longer warranty will indicate a more durable tire. Use caution when attempting to take advantage of the warranty, however! They can be difficult to collect on and many warranties require you to drive on the tires until they are virtually bald, which can be dangerous. In cases like this, it’s advisable to simply shop for new tires (Acima Leasing’s got your back!). 

5. Run Flats 

Numerous automakers now fit their cars with what are known as “run flat tires” (often abbreviated as “RFTs”). These tires can be a real lifesaver, as they are capable of driving for short distances at low speeds even after a puncture has left them without air. This excellent feature can allow you to reach your home or a tire repair facility without needing to change a flat on the side of the road. Some run flat tires can even go as far as 50 miles at 50mph after a  loss of inflation pressure! With that said, be warned that this convenience is a little costly: Run flat tires can run between 35% and 200% more than regular tires. 

How Acima Can Help 

Shopping for new tires can be stressful and expensive — but using Acima Leasing as an alternative to financing can help make it a totally smooth ride! With Acima Leasing’s simple lease-to-own solution*, you can get those new tires on your car today, with no bumps in the road (or your budget). Start shopping great tires right now, without using credit*, on our retailer locator!