Selecting Tires – What you Need to Know

Yes, it is true, just like almost any product out there on today’s market tires have a lot of different brand names to choose from. In fact, there are at least a total of over 2000 different types of tires, with the different lines, etc. within each brand that is out there. Here is a list of some of the more well-known brands to take a look at:

One of the most famous/recognizable brand names of tires out there has got to be Goodyear. These quality tires can be found all around the world from your neighbour’s car to the race track. One thing that you might not be aware of however is the fact that brand named tires like this also tend to have “second class tires” that they manufacture and sell. In the case of Goodyear tires it is the brand Motomaster tires. These tires are made by the exact same machines as Goodyear tires, the only difference being that there might not be the same quality control given to these tires however. So for example, a Motormaster tire would be the exact same as a Goodyear tire except for its name and the fact that the tire might contain a few hairs of loose rubber that were not trimmed off. So in a sense you would be getting the same type of Goodyear quality in a Motomaster tire just at a cheaper price but also without the same quality control. A lot of the bigger brand names have a similar system as well and these tires are worth looking into for sure; as they could save you some big money, while at the same time you are getting a quality tire.

In terms of the top brands out there it used to be at one time that Michelin tires were the “top tire” in the market; with Bridgestone tires and other similar brands being right behind. These brands of tire were often the only ones found on your higher end vehicles. While tires such as B.F. Goodridge tires, Firestone tires, and Goodyear tires were your kind of everyday sort of tire. But now these brands are also developing higher end tires and the market is very competitive with each of these big names dipping their rubber rounds into almost all aspects of the tire marketplace.

When do I replace my tires?

To help warn drivers about when it is time to replace their tires, all tires sold in N. America, are required to contain a moulded indicator, called a wear bar across their tread pattern. These wear bars are designed to give drivers a visual cue as to when their tires are nearing or have reached a minimum tread depth. However, as a tire does wear it is very important to realize that although its dry traction and handling will improve, the tire’s ability to perform in wet conditions (rain and snow) will diminish as the treads are key for these.

If tread depth is allowed to reach it’s minimum legal size than by this point a tires resistance to hydroplaning is significantly reduced and it’s ability to provide traction in snowy condition is almost completely gone. So if either of these road conditions are on your horizon it is a good idea to make sure you do no let your tires rub their treads completely down to the bottom of the tread wear meter before getting them replaced. By replacing your tires before they need to be could save you time in these conditions or even your life by getting you fresh tires with fresh treads that will handle much better in the rain and snow.

Other than looking at the tread indicator there are a couple of great things you can do to help you with your tire replacement.

A great way to always be aware of when your vehicle is going to need new tires is to not only be aware of their treads but also to be aware of your current tires road warranties. Road warranties are given for all tires; for example, a lot of tires come with a road warranty of 100,000 kilometers. So when you get these new tires be aware of what number your odometer sits at. Then when these tires are around 95,000 kilometers into their 100,000 lifespan you should start to keep a look out for the type of tire you want and to be aware of it possibly going on sale. Different tires come with different warranties so make sure you find out what they are for your tires. You would not want to be thinking a tire has a life of 100,000 kilometers when in reality it is only 85,000.

In order to help your tires to achieve their maximum distance PROPER TIRE INFLATION is the key element to making them last. Make sure you check your tire pressure on a regular basis as often tires at different positions on your car deflate at different rates. An air gauge is a cheap purchase that will help you keep track of these numbers and hopefully save you money in terms of your tires lives in the long run. Almost all gas stations out there will offer free air or air for a quarter that you can use to fill your tires to the proper inflation. Also rotating your tires will assist in their car life.

You might ask well when I do go to replace my tires what sort of deals are out there?

Well, all places that sell tires will have deals going on. Depending on whether or not these deals involve the tires you want is purely based on chance. However, if you look for a long enough time in advance and at a number of different suppliers you should hit pay dirt at some point.

The types of deals that usually go on include sales such as BUY 1 TIRE, get the SECOND 1 HALF PRICE. This seems to be the standard sale that exists across most stores and most brands and in reality it is not that bad of a deal. Another sale idea you might see being advertised is the offer of BUY 3, Get your 4TH TIRE FREE. There are also some special clearing out sales when stores and distributors want to make way for new products. So keep your eyes and your ears open and aware.

One thing that is often over looked, or not really focused on by tire buyers, is the fact that certain places that sell tires often offer with this purchase some certain TIRE PERKS that you should be aware of. For example, Canadian Tire offers “free tire rotations”, “free tire repair”, and “free stem replacement” on all of their tires (as long as it has been 10,000 km). And a lot of other places offer these same sorts of extras that could not only save you some time and some money in regards to your tires, but also some headaches too. So when you go in to purchase your next set if the salesperson does not mention anything like this to you, then ASK them about it!

Cool things you can do:

When it comes to tires more and more recently people have been experimenting with what is possible with them. For example, if you have ever seen the MTV shows “Pimp my Ride” or “Cribs” than you have seen some crazy cars with some crazy tires. Including tires that were stretched out over 22 inch rims; or tires that were much wider than usual and handle on the road accordingly; or tires with much bigger treads for off-roading; and even tires that were meant for racing. It seems that whatever your tire needs are and no matter how fancy you want to get with them, whether it involves having raised lettering to go along with your new rims, there is always a tire out there to fill whatever need or “want” it is you have.


In February of 2004, the United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or the NHTSA for short, (ooh, I’m out of breath from just typing that) released it’s own set of tire ratings to help consumers make the right decisions when it comes to replacing their tires.

The tire ratings can be found on their website at

To assist consumers in the purchasing of new replacement tires or new vehicles in general, the NHTSA’s rating system looks at the quality of tires with a letter or number grade in three different categories. These are:

Temperature: This is graded by A (being the highest) to C (being the lowest). A C grade represents the minimum standard of performance a tire is required by federal regulation.

Traction: This is also graded by letter; from the highest grade being AA, then A, then B, then C being the lowest. Any tire that carries a higher grade should allow a car to stop in wet conditions in a shorter distance than a tire with a lower grade; for example, an A tire over a B tire would stop shorter.

Tread-wear: Tires are assigned a number grade, where a control is given the grade of 100. A tire with a rating of 400 would therefore last four times as long as the control tire. Almost all tires are receiving at least a grade of 200 and the best tire out there has received a grade of 700.

So be aware of these things when you go out in search of your new tires.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.