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# Mixing Tires and Matching Sizes

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When it comes to safety and performance there are important benefits to matching tires on your vehicle (in both brand and size), especially when facing dangerous road conditions

When it comes to safety and performance there are important benefits to matching tires on your vehicle (in both brand and size), especially when facing dangerous road conditions

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• 1. Mixing Tires and Matching Sizes
December 29, 2010
• 2. When it comes to safety and performance there are important benefits to matching tires on your vehicle (in both brand and size), especially when facing dangerous road conditions. If tires on your car do not match, handling and braking can suffer on snow and ice.
Whether you are shopping for new tires due to normal wear or want a dedicated set of winter tires, the first step is to get the right size tires for your vehicle.
• 3. Finding the Correct Size Tire for Your Vehicle
To find the correct tire size for your car, look at the information on the driver side door placard or in the owner's manual
Tire sizes are also located on the sidewall of your tires. However, always refer to the driver side door placard or the owner's manual in case the wrong size tires have been previously installed
• 4. Understanding Tire Sizes
Once you have located the right tire size for your car, you will find a number that looks like this P205/55R1691W. Here is how this tire size breaks down:
P 205/55 R 16 91 W
• 5. Tire Size Breakdown
P = PMetric– This identifies the tire as a passenger tire for vehicles including cars, station wagons, SUVs and some light trucks.
205 = Width of Tire – The number before the slash is the width of the tire. In the example above the tire width is 205 millimeters.
55 = Aspect Ratio – The number after the slash is the height of the tire sidewall as a percentage of the width of the tire. The tire in the example above has a sidewall height that is 55% of the 205 mm width.
• 6. Tire Size Breakdown cont.
R 16 = Rim dimensions – After the R, which simply stands for radial, the 16 stands for the tire hole diameter. This determines the rim dimensions that the tire can fit on (in inches).
91 = Load Rating – The 91 is the load rating of the tire, how many pounds the tire can support.
W = Speed Rating – Speed ratings (or performance rating) for passenger vehicles are represented by an alphabetical code. Each letter assigned to a tireindicates the range of speeds at which the tire can carry a load under specified service conditions and extended periods of time.
• 7. Four-Wheel and All-Wheel Drive, Require Matching Tires
If you are lookingfor new snow tires and have a four-wheel or all-wheel drive car or truck, refer to the owner manual about installing tires on your vehicle. Most car manufacturers recommend replacing all four tires at the same time. This is for a very simple reason: when a car is in four-wheel drive all four tires need to be rotating at the same exact speed for optimum performance.
Putting one snow tire that is different or new and has full tread depth can have a larger diameter and will rotate slower than the rest. Handling and braking will suffer, but this can also damage components in the car leading to expensive repairs that are more costly than having replaced all four tires.
• 8. Matching Tires to Deal with Dangerous Roads
The vehicle’s handling balance is extremely important in situations with ice or snow where a vehicle has less traction on the road. Different tire brands and/or sizes can throw balance off significantly and lead to serious vibration.
With two different sets of tires on a vehicle, such as all-season tires in the front and two winter or snow tires in the back, the front tires will have different traction levels and cornering capabilities than the tires in the back. At lower speeds, drivers might be able to get away with two winter tires. However, when driving at normal speeds or making a turn, the risk of spinning out increases because of the disparity.
In the short run, replacing one tire is a cheaper option for car owners. Matching tires can keep a car running smoothly throughout the year and when bad weather hits it is the only way to ensure your tires work for you and not against you. Whether you are purchasing replacement all-season tires or winter tires, matching them up is preferred for optimal safety and performance benefits.
• 9. People have trusted Belle Tire for the best value since 1922. Because at Belle Tire we challenge ourselves every day to make sure that you always get the lowest tire price, period. Prove it to yourself. Take the Belle Tire Price Challenge.
Challenge us online, over the phone or even challenge us right in the store. Come in to any Belle Tire, and we’ll check other stores’ prices with you, right at the counter, and prove to you that Belle Tire has the lowest tire prices, PERIOD! Plus, at Belle Tire, you’ll always get out the door with more value, services and protection with every tire installation than the competition can offer, at any price!
For the Lowest Tire Price, Period and great low prices on Custom Wheels, Alignments, Brakes, Batteries, Oil and Lube, Shocks & Struts, Windshield Repair and Replacement, and more. Visit http://www.belletire.com and also join our online communities: