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Joshua Turner
Joshua Turner

Buy Used Tires Locally

Tires have been a vehicle's most important safety feature for more than 100 years. After all, they are a vehicle's only contact with the road. Even the brawniest engine, strongest brakes, and most advanced anti-skid system are at the mercy of the tire's grip on the road. Every move a driver makes with the steering wheel, brake or gas pedal is transmitted to the road through the four notepad-sized contact patches of the tires.

buy used tires locally

So, if a consumer has tires that are worn, under-inflated, or not suited to the environment, they put themselves, their vehicle, and others at risk. But most drivers don't know enough about tires to make an educated purchase. For some, the choice comes down to price and availability. Others buy tires based on appearance or reputation.

We've compiled a list of 12 areas you should consider when purchasing new tires. If you're looking to save money, get the best fuel economy, make an informed decision, or buy the best quality tire then this article is for you. This list will cover the basic information you should understand to select the right tires for your vehicle and give you an understanding of how tires function.

Today's tires have between 19 and 25 different components. Tires are built from the inside out rather than the outside in. The heart of every tire is an inner liner. Its job is to give the tire shape and hold in air. Fabric belts are wrapped around the inner liner. The bead is fastened to the bottom of the fabric belts and holds the tire to the wheel.

On top of the fabric belts are steel belts. These belts have two jobs: They give the tire stability and make the tread pattern as flat as possible. (A flatter tread means more contact with the road.) The tire tread is on top of the belts. There are different tread patterns for different types of tires. The sidewall on the side of the tire gives it stiffness and ride characteristics. A taller, softer sidewall will absorb more bumps, while a shorter, stiffer sidewall will provide better cornering ability and sharper steering response.

On the sidewall of every passenger-car and light-truck tire is an alphanumeric code that describes the dimensions of the tire. For most tires, this code will start with a "P." Some may start with an "LT" to signify light truck. Some tires may have a "Max. Load" indication. When selecting new tires, it is important to make sure a tire's load rating is at least a high as the tire you are replacing.

Perhaps the biggest mistake a consumer can make when replacing tires is not using the correct size. On the sidewall of your tire, you'll find a code that tells the tire's size and capabilities. Here's a sample code:

If the tire-size code starts with LT instead of P, it means the tire is a light-truck tire. Light-truck tires are designed to have higher-load carrying capacities and are usually found on pickups and SUVs. These vehicles are not required to have LT tires, and in many cases, the original-equipment specification calls for passenger-car tires.

Tires are speed rated from 99 to 186 miles per hour (159.3 to 299.3 kilometers per hour). The most common speed ratings are T (118 miles per hour or 189.9 kilometers per hour) and H (130 miles per hour or 209.2 kilometers per hour). Both of those ratings clearly exceed the nationally posted speed limits and would make excellent long-distance highway tires. If a consumer were to drive only in urban situations at low speeds, a tire with an S (112 miles per hour or 180.2 kilometers per hour) speed rating might be completely acceptable.

Another important factor in choosing a replacement tire is the load rating. The load capacity number on the tire-size code indicates the load-carrying capacity of that single tire. When selecting replacement tires, consumers have to be careful not to select a tire with a lower load-carrying capacity.

Most consumers will make the mistake of waiting until spring to get new tires. As a tire wears out, dry traction generally increases and wet and snow traction decrease. So the best time to buy new tires is not in the spring, but in the fall.

Passenger-car and light-truck tires are very different. Pickup and SUV owners will generally select passenger-car tires because they are less costly and offer a smoother ride. However, if a vehicle will consistently be loaded with cargo or will be asked to pull a heavy trailer, then perhaps the higher load-carrying capacity of a light-truck tire would be the better choice.

When it comes time to get a set of new tires, drivers have a lot of options. Traditionally, the most expensive option is to return to the dealership. Dealers will replace worn tires with original-equipment tires. This option can cost twice as much as going to the local shop down the street.

That local shop, be it a national chain or mom-and-pop establishment, is probably the best place for the average consumer to shop for new tires. Prices can be reasonable and the service manager will help consumers select the correct tire for their vehicle. However, consumers should always shop around for the best prices. Tire and installation prices vary widely from store to store.

Another option is the discount tire retailer. These wholesale tire distributors sell tires at extreme discounts. In addition to low prices, they are often just a phone call or a mouse click away. However, when consumers purchase tires from the discount retailer, the tires are shipped to the consumer's door. It is up to the consumer to find a local shop to balance and mount the tires. (In some cases, these tire retailers will offer discount mounting and installation at a local tire store.) For some people who want exclusive or hard-to-find tires, this is the only option.

If you purchase your tires online, you'll need to do a little extra research to find out how much it'll cost to have them put on your vehicle. A local shop will charge you to mount and balance the tires, as well as any other additional fees, such as disposing the old tires. Call around to several shops to get their full price for putting on your new tires.

Plus sizing usually increases cornering response and traction. Often these gains come at the expense of increased ride harshness. In addition, these larger wheels and tires are often not as durable as OEM wheels and tires.

The biggest change in tire technology is actually a return to the past. Early tires were solid rings of rubber that wrapped around wagon wheels. These tires were hard riding, but also impervious to punctures and very durable -- ideally suited to the rough terrain of the day. Today, tire manufacturers are trying to make the flat tire a distant memory.

Today's run-flat tires contain air and are much more complicated in construction than early rubber rings. But, they operate on the same principle: They are tough enough to run without air if necessary.

There are two different styles of run-flat tires. The first uses very stiff sidewalls that can support the weight of the vehicle in the event of pressure loss. Several tire companies offer this type of run-flat, and they can typically be driven with no air pressure for about 50 miles (80.5 kilometers) at speeds up to 55 miles per hour (88.5 kilometers per hour). However, most cannot be repaired after being punctured. The sidewalls can't be very tall, so most are low-profile designs. Because of this, they are typically used on sports cars, though they're also available for regular passenger cars and minivans.

The PAX system also incorporates a special bead -- the connection between tire and wheel -- that helps lock the tire onto the wheel even if the tire loses air pressure, something traditional run-flat tires -- and regular tires -- don't usually have. Unlike most run-flat tires, the PAX-system tire can be repaired if the hole is in the tread area and less than 1/4-inch (6.4-millimeter) in diameter -- as is the case for regular tires.

Because the sidewalls of an un-inflated PAX tire don't support the weight of the vehicle in the event of pressure loss, the sidewalls can be taller than on run-flat tires. They also don't need to be as stiff, which means that the ride quality is better. This makes the PAX system better suited to SUVs, as well as regular passenger cars and minivans.

Fuel economy can be a major factor for some tire consumers. If you're considering buying a tire that can assist in your vehicle's fuel economy, know that not all tires are made alike. Purchasing a tire that is different than the one you had when the vehicle was new may impact the fuel economy, for good or bad.

Though many consumers consider fuel economy a high priority, it is typically not the number one priority for the consumer. Therefore not all replacement tires are designed with fuel economy as high a priority. According to VandeWater, "If a consumer wants a good fuel economy tire, the best choice is usually the original equipment tire."

California and the federal government have passed laws to label tires by their fuel efficiency but, according to an L.A. Times article, implementing the standards has been difficult and most consumers don't know that tires can positively or negatively impact a vehicle's fuel economy [source: Bensinger].

You've probably seen used car tire piles along the side of the road at some point. But should you purchase a used tire to save money and will it hold up as long? Most people opt for new tires, but some look to used tires as a way to save money.

Consider the fact that some retailers have deals where you buy three tires and you get the fourth free. You may not necessarily need to replace that fourth tire, but you do because it's free. Used tires that are only slightly worn, like in this situation, may be a good option to save a little money.

The flip side is purchasing an old or worn out tire that isn't safe. Used tires may have defects, punctures or tread-wear you may or may not be able to see. When considering purchasing a used tire you can test the depth of the tread by using a penny. Simply flip the penny upside down and place it inside each of the tire's tread grooves. If the top of Lincoln's head can be seen from any of the grooves then the tread is too low [source: Consumer Reports]. 041b061a72


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