Buying Walk Through

When it's time to replace the tires on your automobile, you want your tire buying experience to be as easy as possible. Skip's Tire and Auto Centers' new tire buying guide is here to help you ask the right questions and get the right answers for your tire buying needs.

We'll walk you through the 4 important steps of tire buying:

  1. Knowing when it's time to replace your tires
  2. Determining the number of new tires you need to buy
  3. How to pick the right size tires for your vehicle
  4. Choosing the tires that are best for the roads you travel

Skip's Tire and Auto Centers' new tire buying guide is sure to help you make the right tire choice.

Step 1: How Do I Know When I Need to Replace My Tires?

Knowing when you need to buy new tires can be tricky. In order to begin checking your tires for wear or damage, the tire(s) should be inflated properly. Once your tires are properly inflated, you are ready take a look at the tire(s) that you think you need to replace.

Tire replacement is best determined by the amount of wear that a tire has. There are two common ways to check tires for wear:

  1. The Penny Test
    Insert a penny into the most shallow tread groove of the tire with Lincoln's head facing down. If the top of his head is still visible, then that used tire needs to be replaced.
  2. Tire Bar Wear
    Tires have narrow bands that appear in the grooves across a tire's tread called "wear indicators". When the wear indicators are even, or flush, with the tread of the tires, it shows that the tire's tread limits have been reached and the used tire needs to be replaced.

Do I Need to Replace Worn Tires?
Absolutely! Worn out, used tires are against the law. The legal minimum for tire tread depth is 2/32 inch. Worn tires are also unsafe to drive on. When roads become wet, a tire tread depth of 4/32 or less can increase the chances of hydroplaning and loss of vehicle control.

Do I Need to Replace a Flat Tire?
Many people assume that if a used tire has gone flat that it needs to be replaced. This is not always true. There are times when a tire can be successfully repaired instead of replaced. Your flat tire might be repairable if:

  1. You have not driven on the flat tire
  2. The damage is on the tread of the tire, not the sidewall
  3. If there is a tire puncture, that it is smaller than a ¼ inch In any case, if you have a flat tire that you think is repairable, visit one of our six convenient Skip's Tire and Auto Centers locations. Our tire service technicians will be able to let you know if your flat, used tire can be repaired or needs to be replaced with a new tire.

Step 2: How Many Tires Do I Need to Replace at One Time?

Most people replace tires either two new tires or all four new tires at one time. However, it is possible for you to simply replace one tire or even three tires at a time. No matter the number of new tires you need to replace, Skip's Tire and Auto Centers have new tire replacement tips that will help you choose the right tire to maintain optimum handling and stability.

Tips for Replacing One New Tire

  • Find an exact match for the damaged or worn used tire.
  • Replace your used tire with a new tire of the same brand, model, speed rating and load capacity.

Tips for Replacing Two New Tires

  • Find new tires of the same or better quality than the used tires you're replacing.
  • Replace the two used tires as matched set to allow for even wear and similar performance.
  • On front wheel drive cars, put your new tires on the front of the car for better road grip and performance.

Tips for Replacing Three New Tires

  • Find new tires of the same or better quality than the used tires you're replacing.
  • On front wheel drive cars, put your new tires on the front of the car for better road grip and performance.
  • Be sure to check the wear on the used tire you have elected not to replace. If there isn't much tread life on the tire, you may want to replace all four tires at the same time for even wear and optimum vehicle performance.

Tips for Replacing Four New Tires

  • If you are replacing all four tires at one time, you do not need to replace your used tires with the same brand, model, speed rating and load capacity.
  • Use Skip's Tire and Auto Centers' Online Tire Search Tool to find a wide variety of new tire options that are suitable for your vehicle.

Step 3: What Tire Size Do I Need for My Vehicle?

There are two different ways to find the right size tires for your vehicle. You can use Skip's Tire and Auto Centers' Online Tire Search Tool, also known as a Tire Fitment Guide tool. You can also refer to your vehicle's owner's manual, manufacturer's information sticker or analyze the sidewall of your current tires.

Using an Online Tire Fitment Guide Tool
You can search by your vehicle year, make, and model with our tire fitment guide on our website. Our online tire search tool will provide you with many options that are available to you. If you have questions about a tire that is suggested for your vehicle, please contact us and we'll gladly assist you.

Find Sizing Information
By looking at your vehicle owner's manual, the manufacture's information sticker on the inside of the door column and sidewall of your current used tires will provide you with the tire sizing information you need. Analyzing your current tire's sidewall can be confusing, so here are some tips that will help you.

How to Analyze the Sidewall
When you are analyzing the sidewall of your tire, you'll need to look at the following measurement numbers: tire width, aspect ratio, radial, tire diameter, tire load rating and tire speed rating. Here is a picture of a typical tire's sidewall to refer to:

Tire Width, Aspect Ratio, Construction, Diameter, Load Rating and Speed Rating |

Tire Width
The Width number measures the distance between the inner and outer edge of the tread of a tire. There will also be a letter on your tire, before the width number. This letter indicates the type of vehicle that fits this particular tire. If there is a "P" on the sidewall, then it is a passenger or p-metric tire. If there is an "LT" on the sidewall, then it's a light-truck tire. If there is a "T" on the sidewall, this particular tire is to be used as a spare or temporary tire.

Aspect Ratio
The aspect ratio measures how tall your tire stands. Higher performance tires usually have a lower aspect ratio than most all-season passenger tires.

Radial Construction
The "R" on the sidewall of the tire indicates that this is a radial tire. If there is a "VR" or a "ZR", the "V" or the "Z" simply is a speed rating for that radial tire.

Tire Diameter
The diameter of the tire measures the "inner hole" in the tire. The diameter is basically the rim size that this particular tire can fit on. The tire image above shows a "14". Due to that diameter number, we know that this tire would fit on a 14-inch rim.

Tire Load Rating
The load rating measures how much weight the tire was made to carry. In order to calculate the load rating of all four of your tires, you would simply multiply the load rating on your tire by four. That is the maximum load capacity for your tires. Always choose tires that have a load rating that meets or exceeds what the vehicle manufacturer recommends. You can refer to the chart below to find the amount of weight your tire can carry.

Tire Load Rating |

Tire Speed Rating
The speed rating of a tire tells you how well a particular tire will reach and maintain a certain speed. The higher the speed rating of the tire, the better the tire will handle high speeds. Always choose tires that have speed ratings that match. Mixing different speed ratings on your vehicle can lead to serious handling issues that could result in the loss of control of your vehicle. Please reference the chart below to find your tire's speed rating.

Tire Speed Rating |

Step 4: How Do I Choose Tires That Best Match My Local Road Conditions?

Choosing new tires that best match your driving environment is the last step in buying the right tires for your vehicle. It is best to think of the environment you live and drive in, as well as how and where you'll be driving your vehicle. For example, if you regularly drive in rain or snow, you'll want to choose new tires made special for those conditions. If you drive your truck off road, there are specific tires that will support that type of activity.

Worst Possible Driving Conditions
There are two ways to buy tires that will perform well in the worst possible driving conditions you expect to drive in. One way is to purchase new tires that are made for specific seasons. You can have one set of seasonal tires used only for winter use and one set of tires for summer use. If you choose to have one set of tires, it is best to choose tires that will perform well under the worst possible driving conditions you'll encounter.

Typical Driving Conditions
You'll want to take into consideration your typical driving conditions when buying new tires. If you typically drive on congested city streets or busy roadways during rush hour, you may want to consider a more responsive tire. If you generally drive on long stretches of interstates, a quiet, smooth-riding, long-wearing tire may be the best choice for you. If you drive on winding roads, you want to look for a better handling tire. Each type of typical driving condition has a tire best suited to match.