When was the last time you took a good look at your tires? 

 If they’re old, cracked, or the tread is worn, it may be time for a new set.

“If your tires are six years old, you should think about replacing them,” says Darrin Bossence, vice president of sales at Dynamic Corporation, which represents Sailun Tires. “You can tell how old they are by checking the sidewall for an alphanumeric series that begins with “DOT” (the U.S. Department of Transport). The last four digits will tell you the week and year the tire was made – so “1209” means the tire was built in the 12th week of 2009.”

At first, the choice of tires may seem overwhelming and buying a set of original equipment tires can be a costly expense. However, with a little research you’ll find a number of new replacement tire brands out there that are eager to deliver great value and even offer long tread-wear warranties to make sure you get the most out of your tires. “At Sailun Tires, we recognize the importance of protecting drivers against premature tire wear ,” says Mark Pereira, marketing and communications manager at Sailun Jinyu International. “We have established a Limited Tread Life Protection Program of up to 120,000 kilometers or 48 months on select Sailun Tires to both promote and illustrate the performance you can expect.”

Here are a few more important tire shopping tips:

Check your owner’s manual to see what size and type of tire is recommended by the manufacturer.
What are your needs and priorities? Think about the type of driving you’ll be doing. Do you prefer a soft ride, a firm ride, or a combination?
You’ll want a tire that’s capable of supporting the load your vehicle requires – so you don’t want to buy a passenger tire if you need a light truck tire.
Avoid buying more tire than you need. It’s tempting to overestimate your tire needs, but a good quality all-season tire will often do the trick.
Whatever you choose, you’re balancing ride quality, noise suppression, fuel economy, wear, load capability and cost. Do your research – go online, shop around and see what works best for you and your vehicle.
One of the current trends in the automotive world is “plus sizing,” or mounting bigger wheels to enhance the look of the car or improve its handling. Bear in mind that while bigger wheels can increase cornering response and traction, it will often mean a rougher ride. Also, larger wheels and tires aren’t as durable.

The codes on the sidewall of your tire will tell you what you need to know – whether it’s a passenger car tire, the tire’s width in millimeters, the diameter, the load rating and speed rating. These are the types of details we talk about on Dave’s Corner Garage.

It’s crucial that any new tire and wheel are approved for use on your vehicle, and have the same load carrying capability. Also, the new wheel and tire combination should be within three percent of the original tire diameter.

Choose a tire that’s right for you and your car. The most important things to do are research, assess your situation and your budget. Don’t settle for anything less than what you need – your tires should last many seasons to come, and keep you connected to the pavement as safely and economically as possible.

For more consumer automotive information, go to www.davescornergarage.com.

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