First and foremost when buying tires you need to know what size tires your vehicle requires, now if you don’t happen to have the tome of knowledge about your car stowed away in your head that’s ok, because the car manufacturers were nice enough to give us a sticker, quite often just inside the driver’s side door. All of this information is available in the owner’s manual, unless of course your dog ate your homework. The size of the tire is also conveniently located on the side wall of the tire as shown in the picture.
There are also some damages that you should be aware of, do that whole avoiding accidents and rising insurance premiums. First we’ll address a damaged bead, the bead is the portion of the tire that contacts the rim and creates the seal. If this is damaged the tire either won’t seal at all or bad juju will happen later.
Next we have that wonderful thing called tire wear. When you’re looking at the tires that are about to be installed on your vehicle you should look for two things, 1. Giant gaping holes… those are a solid indicator of bad things. The other is the wear indicator, if it is even with the rest of the tread the tire is not good. If you can see that line going across the tire, it’s worn out and you should not allow it to be put on your vehicle.
Now I’m sure you’re wondering “well tread is important, but how do I know what is good?” I’m happy to automotive store for a 4 dollar tool called a Tread Depth Gauge. If you don’t want to spend the 4 bucks on that then all it takes is a penny. Yep, good ole Abe will check your tires. Most states require at least 2/32 of an inch depth in tire tread to be legal for use on the road, you’re insurance company will also get a little angry if you don’t have at least 2/32 of an inch tread and you get into an accident…. Bad juju. If you take a penny upside down and stick Abe’s head in the tread and it doesn’t come up to at least the top of his head, tire no worky.
Any place that can legally sell tires that doesn’t suck, is going to already have filtered out the tires that aren’t suitable for usage. They will also not allow tires to be installed on a vehicle that they are not intended for. Nevertheless you should check for yourself, you can never be too careful, getting the proper tires and caring for them properly will cost less in the long run and just could save your life one day.