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Tire Buying

The next time you're in the market to buy tires, be sure to print out these Tire Buyers' FAQ to equip yourself with key purchasing information about tires. Once you've selected the right tires for you and your vehicle, our Congratulations on Your New Tire Purchase Handout can help you locate and record important information that you'll need throughout the service life of your new tires.
What type of tire should I buy?
This will vary by where you live and the typical weather you drive in.

  • All-season tires can handle a variety of road conditions. They have some mud and snow capabilities.
  • Winter tires are more effective than all-season tires in deep snow.
  • Summer tires are warm-weather tires that are not designed to operate in temperatures below freezing, or on snow and ice.
  • All-terrain tires are mainly used on four-wheel drive vehicles. They provide a good compromise between on-road driving and off-road capability.
How are tires rated? What does the tire rating mean?

Tire ratings
Many tires are rated by the U.S. Government on treadwear, traction performance and temperature resistance. It's called the Uniform Tire Quality Grading Standards (UTQGS) (PDF 5 MB), and the tire ratings are on the sidewall of every passenger vehicle tire sold in the United States.
What size tires should I buy?

Tire and Loading Information Label
Check your owner's manual or the Tire and Loading Information Label located on the driver's side door edge or post to find the correct size for your car or truck.

DOT Tire Identification Number (TIN) with 4-digit Manufacturer Code
DOT Tire Identification Number (TIN) with 6-digit Manufacturer Code
How old is the tire I'm buying?

All tires have a DOT Tire Identification Number (TIN) on the sidewall. The last four digits represent the week and year the tire was made. NHTSA recommends checking this date when purchasing tires, along with knowing the vehicle manufacturer's recommended tire replacement timeframe. Look on both sides of the tire. The TIN may not be on both sides.