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Tires 101

Welcome to Tires 101

Tires 101 has everything you want to know about tires.

  • When to Buy Tires
  • How to Choose Tires
  • Tire Maintenance
  • Gas Mileage & Tires
  • What to Ask Your Tire Dealer

When to Buy Tires


Tires don’t last forever. The two main reasons one may buy new tires are tire wear and tire damage. Another reason is if you choose to upsize your tires, which some drivers do for improved traction and cosmetics. Some drivers also require (or prefer) seasonal tires and need to change them to match the season.

Tire Wear & Damage

Tire Upgrade

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How To Choose Tires

Choosing tires is a blend of science and art. You first need to know your vehicle’s correct tire size, obviously. But of equal importance is understanding how you drive, the conditions you drive in and what to ask tire dealers when you’re ready to shop for tires.

Seasonal Tires
Winter, spring, summer and fall. Some tires handle them all. Some handle the seasons one at a time.

High performance sports cars need high performance tires.

Mixing Tires

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Tire Maintenance

To get the most out of your tires—maximum mileage, safety and wear—you’ll need to properly maintain them. (With help from your local Michelin dealer, of course.) But don’t worry. It’s not as complicated as it sounds, and we’re here to help.

Reading a Tire Sidewall
The numbers and letters on the side of your tire have very specific meanings. From left to right: Tire type, Tire width, Aspect Ratio, Construction, Wheel Diameter, Load Index, and Speed Rating.

Check Tire Pressure

Penny in tire tread measurement

Inspect a Tire
Use a penny and hold Abe's body, if any part of Abe Lincoln's head is covered by the tread, you're driving with the legal and safe amount of tread. If your tread gets below that, your car's ability to grip the road in adverse conditions is greatly reduced.

Tire Rotation
Regular rotation helps extend the life of your tires and improve performance.

Tire Balance
You should balance a tire is when: A tire is replaced, a balance weight is moved or removed, you purchase new tires.

Tire Alignment
You should have the alignment checked if: You’ve hit something substantial, you see a wear pattern developing on the shoulders (outer edges) of the tires, you notice a difference in your vehicle’s handling

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Gas Mileage & Tires

Old Gas Pump

Not all tires are created equal. Some tires last longer than other tires, obviously, but did you know that some tires are designed to improve gas mileage versus other tires? It’s all in the technology.

The most important gas mileage features in a tire are:

Proper Air Pressure
Under-inflated tires are one of the biggest causes of using excess fuel in the world. The American Automobile Agency has stated that operating a vehicle with underinflated tires can result in a 25% reduction in fuel economy.

Tire Construction
The lower the rolling resistance, the less effort from your engine, the better the gas mileage. This is why passenger tires offer better gas mileage and longer tread life than SUV/Light Truck tires and winter tires, whose heavier tread patterns are designed with maximum traction in mind.

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5 Questions to Ask Dealers

Buying new tires doesn’t have to be intimidating. Below are 5 questions to ask your dealer about your tires.

  • Are my current tires the best tires for my vehicle?
  • What are the best tires that match my driving habits and my price?
  • Can you give me a pricing tier of my tire type with three choices?
  • What is the mileage warranty (if any) of my new tires?
  • Is the tire manufacturer highly reputable?

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