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Question about buying tires
Old 11-11-2012, 12:40 PM   #1
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Question about buying tires

I've been called a lot of things in my life, but "auto mechanic" is not one of them.

Anyhow, I have a question about buying new tires. Apparently, you can do a search for your vechicle make and model and there are recommended tires for that vehicle. My question is, how important is it to get tires that are "recommended" for your vehicle? Once you have the size and other specifications matched, how much difference is there really between brands of tires? My tires have about 60k on them and it's time to have them replaced. Last time, I went to a tire store, told them what car I drove and he recommended certain tires. Since I didn't have much time, I basically got what he recommended (and felt a little ripped off, although I had no problems with the tires). I'd appreciate any insight folks might have who have more knowledge about tires than I do.
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Old 11-11-2012, 12:58 PM   #2
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I don't know where you are looking, but I assume by recommended you don't mean the tire size (ie, 225/50R16), which you have to match unless you want to change wheels too.

When I buy tires I use
a) Tire Rack - Your performance experts for tires and wheels,
b) Consumer Reports and
c) past experience with various brands.

There are tradeoffs in tire design so each has to be designed to emphasize different characteristics be it performance, tread life, noise, all-weather (if you live up north or in a rainy region), cost, etc. - so you have to decide what you're after to begin with. For example, performance and tread life are generally direct tradeoffs, having excellent performance and tread life is rare if even possible at any reasonable price. There are other tradeoffs. Once you decide what's most important to you, then you can narrow your search using tirerack, Consumer Reports or other resources.

If you use the TireRack link above, after you enter your car year/make/model, one of the four next choices is tire decision guide, which will help you narrow your choices based on what's important (above). Whether you buy from TireRack or not, IMO it's a great resource to narrow the field. I like TireRack because they are close enough for me to drive to, though they ship nationwide to your local installer.

There are also forums for almost every make/model of car these days - and you don't have to join (though I often join before I buy that model to research the car before buying one). I've used them in the past too, might be another way to get reviews of specific tires on your specific car. Best of luck...
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Old 11-11-2012, 01:03 PM   #3
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Thanks for the information, Midpack. I'm in the Baltimore/Washington area.
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Old 11-11-2012, 01:08 PM   #4
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+1 for using tirerack lots of info there. Maintaining the size and /or aspect ratio is important unless you are modding and upzing wheels/tires. You don't have to go with the OEM tire brand ( usually more expensive ) but need to stay with the same characteristics like size, speed rating, tempurature rating. Depends on your vehicle and driving condition as well, there snow tires, summer tires, all season etc.
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Old 11-11-2012, 01:10 PM   #5
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Costco and Sam's Club have consistently had the best prices when all is said and done (installation, warranty, road hazard, and all other expenses). I never felt nickel and dimed like at most tire shops, and when I needed a tire replaced because it got a nail in the sidewall, they took care of it without any questions or extra charges.
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Old 11-11-2012, 01:38 PM   #6
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I select the tire I want at Tire Rack and then find a local tire shop that sells it for about the same price and installs it.
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Old 11-11-2012, 02:50 PM   #7
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Check to see if there's a forum for your brand/ model of car. Then visit there and find a thread that tells you what other owners are doing for tires.
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:28 PM   #8
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As others have said, each tire trades off various qualities. Decide whether tread life, wet traction, ride quality or noise are most important to you and read reviews to see which tire best fits your preferences.

The tires that came on my hybrid wore well and had very low rolling resistance (for fuel economy) but had absolutely dangerous snow and rain traction. I changed them at just 50,000 miles because I was tired of spinning and sliding all winter.
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:55 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by HawkeyeNFO View Post
Costco and Sam's Club have consistently had the best prices when all is said and done (installation, warranty, road hazard, and all other expenses). I never felt nickel and dimed like at most tire shops, and when I needed a tire replaced because it got a nail in the sidewall, they took care of it without any questions or extra charges.
+1
I buy all my tires and batteries from SAM's.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:11 PM   #10
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For cars, I like whatever the cops have on their highway cruisers. Current tires on my Jag, Goodyear Eagle RS-A. I run them at 45 PSI. When they wear out, will check what the current cruisers are shod with.
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:28 PM   #11
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Go to your dealership and ask for original equipment tires......same size, any brand that qualifies as original equipment. Get their price, Ford and GM guarantee that they'll match any price, check them out and then have it done at the dealership unless your dealership won't match the price. Be careful not to get cheaper tires.....or smaller tires.....they just don't hold up as well.
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:50 AM   #12
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Go to your dealership and ask for original equipment tires......same size, any brand that qualifies as original equipment. Get their price, Ford and GM guarantee that they'll match any price, check them out and then have it done at the dealership unless your dealership won't match the price. Be careful not to get cheaper tires.....or smaller tires.....they just don't hold up as well.
If your OEM tires have held up well, that might be an indication they are a good choice but...

With the caveat, aside from cars that originally cost more than $40K or so - if tread life is important to you as a driver, the OEM tires that come on most cars never hold up well at all IME. I've had some upmarket cars (GT $40K) with excellent OEM tires, but every other new car we've owned has had OEM tires that wore out in less than 30K miles (one set wore out in 15K!). Every set of tires we've bought and installed after OEMs have lasted 50-60K, obviously we drive and care for them in the same way. And I have not bought ultra high tread life tires (some claim 80K), they ride rougher and cost a fortune. IME, the OEM tires on most average price cars are the cheapest the carmaker can get away with. If you go to tirerack.com, it identifies the OEM tires for you, so you can compare specs & price and decide for yourself. OEM tires have never been the best choice IME...
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:04 AM   #13
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.......... IME, the OEM tires on most average price cars are the cheapest the carmaker can get away with.........

Having worked in the biz, including participating in tire selection, I can tell you that manufacturers basically buy tires by the pound. The OEM tire is chosen based on testing a number of submission samples from the manufacturers and choosing the one that best meets a list of criteria - wet stopping, handling, ride, noise, wear, etc. Ironically, every tire is measured for uniformity (smooth rolling) at the supplier and the OEM gets the best ones, the seconds are sold as replacements.
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:12 AM   #14
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Go to your dealership and ask for original equipment tires......same size, any brand that qualifies as original equipment. Get their price, Ford and GM guarantee that they'll match any price, check them out and then have it done at the dealership unless your dealership won't match the price. Be careful not to get cheaper tires.....or smaller tires.....they just don't hold up as well.
While it is true that Ford / GM will match the price, they will not match the full deal. I realized this after I bought some tires and discovered I didn't get the free rotation, prorated road hazard and other freebies that Discount Tire gives with their tires.
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:33 AM   #15
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Having worked in the biz, including participating in tire selection, I can tell you that manufacturers basically buy tires by the pound. The OEM tire is chosen based on testing a number of submission samples from the manufacturers and choosing the one that best meets a list of criteria - wet stopping, handling, ride, noise, wear, etc. Ironically, every tire is measured for uniformity (smooth rolling) at the supplier and the OEM gets the best ones, the seconds are sold as replacements.
Where do cost and tread life come into the selection?
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:38 AM   #16
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For cars, I like whatever the cops have on their highway cruisers. Current tires on my Jag, Goodyear Eagle RS-A. I run them at 45 PSI. When they wear out, will check what the current cruisers are shod with.

I hate RS-As.... not great tires IMO...


Choosing what comes on a cop car is not the best... they also get what the car company puts on.... which might not be what you want...
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:53 AM   #17
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While it is true that Ford / GM will match the price, they will not match the full deal. I realized this after I bought some tires and discovered I didn't get the free rotation, prorated road hazard and other freebies that Discount Tire gives with their tires.

+1 on Discount Tire (IIRC American at other places)....

The fix flats for anybody... you do not even have to have purchased them there...

They usually have a great selection and great prices all in... with the free rotation, they beat anybody else I have ever seen...


I usually do not buy it, but they have a warranty that I could not believe... a woman at our office got a nail in her tire... it had 70K miles on it and she got a free replacement...

The negative I have with them... and I think it would be anyplace... it they want 4mm of tread... (maybe 3).... since a tire starts with 8 or 9... the replacement cost if you did not buy the warranty seems a bit steep... I had a tire that should be good for 50K... got a saw blade in it... had 15K miles and they said it was 40% used...
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:59 AM   #18
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Where do cost and tread life come into the selection?
Cost between suppliers was extremely competitive. In the decisions that I was involved in for tires, handling and braking were what decided a selection.

There is a minimum tread life criterion, but I don't recall what it was as my vote was in another area.

My point is that the OEMs don't just buy cheap tires to save money. A bad tire choice can ruin an otherwise good vehicle.
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:32 AM   #19
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If your OEM tires have held up well, that might be an indication they are a good choice but...

With the caveat, aside from cars that originally cost more than $40K or so - if tread life is important to you as a driver, the OEM tires that come on most cars never hold up well at all IME. I've had some upmarket cars (GT $40K) with excellent OEM tires, but every other new car we've owned has had OEM tires that wore out in less than 30K miles (one set wore out in 15K!). Every set of tires we've bought and installed after OEMs have lasted 50-60K, obviously we drive and care for them in the same way. And I have not bought ultra high tread life tires (some claim 80K), they ride rougher and cost a fortune. IME, the OEM tires on most average price cars are the cheapest the carmaker can get away with. If you go to tirerack.com, it identifies the OEM tires for you, so you can compare specs & price and decide for yourself. OEM tires have never been the best choice IME...
Everyone has a different experience and I can only speak to my own. Currently I have a Buick LeCrosse, with 27,000 miles and 58% of tire tread
remaining. I have a GMC Denali, AWD with 19600 miles and over half of the tread wear left. I have had a performance AWD Cadillac that had tires that slid in the snow with only 8,000 miles on it but I learned that you need to get all weather tires rather than performance tires.

Actually, if an individual is replacing OEM tires, he/she can choose from their own experience. My neighbor who drives a Ford just told me she saved money because of the Ford price guarantee.......I haven't driven a Ford in over 20 years so I can't comment on that. I used to trade cars before the tires were worn out......can't afford to do that today.
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Old 11-12-2012, 02:01 PM   #20
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I hate RS-As.... not great tires IMO...


Choosing what comes on a cop car is not the best... they also get what the car company puts on.... which might not be what you want...
I happen to like them. I also read that many drivers of lighter weight cars absolutely hate them. They are NFG for winter driving IMHO.

I do have a set of tires specifically made for winter driving on a separate set of rims. These go on the jalopy around late December and come off in March. They wear very rapidly in temperatures above 35F.

By the way the MFG does not decide to put these tires on. Various state police agencies get together to have test runs of various maker's tires and their model offerings, and decide which is optimal for pursuit driving. Then the departments spec them as required at delivery.

Is good enough for me. I have no idea of what are great, or the best tires.
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