When shopping for new tires, ask yourself these questions:
What tires are on your car now?
What did you like/dislike about your old tires? (Ride, handling, tread wear, etc.)
What traits are most important to you for the tires you're about to purchase?
How important is crisp handling and quick stopping compared to smooth ride or long wear?
What kind of "look" are you after?
What level of convenience, service and warranties do you expect or require?
After answering these questions, you'll narrow the choices to tires that fit your specific needs and wants. It helps the salesperson too as they won't waste your time discussing tires you don't want.
Uniform Tire Quality Grading (UTQG)
The Uniform Tire Quality Grading (UTQG) is a system developed by the Department of Transportation which helps consumers compare tires in the areas of treadwear, traction and temperature. Here's an example using a tire with a UTQG of 300 AB.
The 300 is treadwear, which represents the tire's comparative wear when measured against the government mandated tire which is rated at 100. So this tire wore three times longer than the control tire. Because of variations in operating conditions, the treadwear grade cannot be used to predict actual wear-out mileage, but it can be used to predict the relative wear rate of tires with different UTQG wear rates.
Traction and temperature are graded A (superior), B (good) or C (average). Traction indicates the level of grip the tire possesses.
Temperature rating deals with the tire's ability to disperse built-up heat. Heat causes rubber to deteriorate over time, so dispersing heat increases tire life.
Each tire manufacturer determines the UTQG rating for their products. Understand that UTQG's are more accurate when comparing tires within the same line versus tires from two different makers.
Where should I buy tires?
Buy your tires where you feel comfortable, someplace you feel will take care of you during and after the sale. Since tires may have warranties of 80,000 miles or more, the service period after the sale may be several years. Tire experts help you maximize your investment and get the right tire for your driving needs. Purchase your tires where the sales force helps you buy tires, not merely sells you tires. In short, buy their reputation as well as their tires.
At Van Kleeck's, all tire prices include mounting, spin balancing, new valves, disposal of old tires, flat repair, road hazard warranty, and free tire rotation every 6 months or 6,000 miles.