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Tire Buying BasicsNotes From The Road

Tire Buying Basics - Choose the Right Tires
By Mike Bumbeck /

Driving to and fro, it's often easy to forget about the most basic of things that make the motoring miracle possible. One of the pivotal innovations in the history of the modern automobile was that of the pneumatic tire. Invented for use first on bicycles, the pneumatic tire eventually found its way onto the wheels of the then-new automobile. The air-filled tire has proved an invaluable part of automotive progress. Oddly enough, solid rubber tires were preferred over their air-filled pneumatic counterparts by the horse-drawn Brougham and Buggy crowd. So it goes.

Rolling Progress
While the technology of tires and tire manufacture has indeed progressed, the basic principle behind the pneumatic tire hasn't changed all that much over the years. A cushion of air inside the tire, in combination with the materials and construction of the tire itself, work together to not only let the car roll with minimum resistance but allow it to do so on a cushion of air. The compounds and materials in the tire tread and sidewall work with the suspension to keep the tire on the road surface and maintain vehicle control. It is the materials and construction of the tire itself that varies from tire to tire. Choosing the right tire starts with determining what type of driver you are, and type of driving you're going to do.

New Shoes
As anyone who has recently had to put a new set of tires on their vehicle can attest, new tires can be a pricey proposition. While saving money on tires is not always the smartest decision, spending too much on the wrong tires makes no sense either. The solution is to fit your vehicle with tires that not only suit the vehicle, but also your driving style or conditions at hand. The easiest and often most prudent choice to make is to put the same size, type, and rating of tire with which your vehicle was manufactured. The engineers with the white lab coats and pocket protectors with your vehicle's brand name on them usually know what's best. While stock replacement may be the easiest route, some vehicles come with a model designation of tire only available for that vehicle, and only from the dealership. Not to worry. A replacement is as easy as rolling into a tire of the exactly the same size and rating.

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