Here we are in 2017 and while it’s easier than ever for us to find the perfect car, shoe, or electronic device, we can’t seem to find the same type of definitive answers when it comes to tires. After practically being born into the tire industry I have seen the same mistakes made over and over again due to lack of communication between the consumer and the tire shop.
Why is it that when it comes to clothing we care about fit, but yet with tires so many people are just ok with something black and round? Tires help contribute to the way your car looks, rides, and to your safety. For example, it is no secret that poor quality tires can result in an accident lawsuit. That’s why it’s important to not buy your tires from mechanics, tire shops or department stores who know less about tires than a consumer who does some basic research on google. Here are the questions every person trying to sell you a tire should ask you:
What do you use your vehicle for?
Believe it or not, driving on the streets or highways are not the only answers. You have some people who are casual drivers, those who want to be prepped for severe winter conditions, and drivers who take their car to the racetrack or want pure performance on the roads beyond casual driving. When it comes to SUVs, it gets a bit more complicated. You may have seen those Jeeps with crazy tread designs, and that’s because there are tires specifically made for the sand, for the mud, or for regular highways.
Do you do a lot of driving?
I always ask this question because it tells me if I should concentrate more on the features of a tire (like snow performance or handling, to name just a few) as opposed to how long a tire will last. If a person uses their car just to drive their kids around, then I would advise that person to focus on the quality of the features. Now, if someone has a long commute to work every day from the suburbs to the city, I would advise them to buy a tire with a 75,000+ mileage warranty to avoid quickly burning through the tires. It may also be worth having a tire spare on the back covered by a custom tire cover to ensure you have a spare if anything goes wrong.
Do you care more about mileage or features of a tire?
This question goes along with the previous one but gives you a better understanding of the consumers personal priorities. Tires today have more features than you may realize. You have enhanced fuel efficiency, wet braking, and even some features that reduce the chances of hydroplaning in heavy rain. Someone who often drives to and from an area with bad weather, regardless of mileage, clearly values their safety and driving experience over making their tire last.
After spending 11 years in the industry, I have personally come to prefer safety and quality of the features over mileage. One of my favorite tires has a half winter tread and half summer tread, but only lasts about 30-40,000 miles. An average consumer might think that is a bad quality tire, but in reality, long mileage does not always equal quality.
What vehicle do you drive?
This may seem like an obvious question, but for those consumers who like to call for quotes, this is not always asked. You may assume that every car has a different size OR that cars and SUVs have different sizes — but neither is the case. There are models of SUVs that share the same size as models of cars. Tire manufacturers may make multiple models in the same tire size and that’s because they are meant for different purposes and different vehicle applications. Would you put the same tire on a Ford Mustang and a Volkswagen Tiguan? No, you wouldn’t, and you shouldn’t let the person selling you a tire do that either. Putting the wrong tire in general on a vehicle can affect your driving experience, how quickly the tires wear, and fuel consumption.
After a retailer guides you to a specific tire, make sure to look at all the warranties and features before you make that purchase. Be comfortable with what you decide to buy and understand what you are putting on your car because after all, that is the product that is between you, your car, and the road it drives on.
Written by: Jared Kugel
Jared Kugel is the CEO and co-founder of Tire Agent, a new smart tire recommendation platform for consumers that takes driving habits and purpose of a vehicle into consideration to suggest the perfect tire at the best price. At 31-years-old Jared boasts an impressive 11 years in the tire industry working with manufactures, distributors, and retailers. Many of Jared’s early years in the industry were spent working with his family’s business, where he initiated the company’s first online ordering system, which now represents a significant portion of their sales.