An easy guide to buying tires -

An easy guide to buying tires

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, one out of every 10 vehicles on the road today has at least one bald tire. And believe it or not, two out of three drivers don't know how to tell if their tires are bald.

"No matter how well you maintain your tires, there's going to come a day you're going to have to replace them. And it's better you make that decision before you're not forced to," explains Auto Expert, Steve Strope. "You want to inspect your tires about once every month. What you're looking for is  cracked sidewalls, bulging or tread wear."

In most states, tires are legally worn out if they've worn down to 2/32" of remaining tread depth. There's an easy way to check to see if your tires are legal. All you need is a penny!

Select a point on your tire where the tread appears lowest. With Abraham Lincoln's head down, insert a penny into one of the grooves on the tread. If any part of Lincoln's head is obscured by the tread, your tires still have a safe and legal amount of tread left. If your tires fail the penny test, it's time for new tires.

Before you go to the tire store, check your owner's manual to make sure you know the correct size and type of tire the manufacturer specifies for your car.

The tire salesperson may try to sell you the most expensive tires they can. But unless you drive in extreme weather conditions or own a high-performance car, you probably don't need those expensive tires.

"But buying the cheapest tires isn't a good idea either," adds Steve. "I typically like to take a middle-of-the-road approach. I suggest buying a mid-priced, all-season tire with a brand name that you recognize. I would stay away from name brands you've never heard of before."

Once you've settled on the right tire for your needs, Steve recommends buying a complete set. Not only will this improve safety, but also give you better handling and a new starting point for proper tire maintenance, which will save you money down the road.

Copyright 2012 America Now. All rights reserved.

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