If you are a truck owner, you know better than any other driver that choosing the right truck tire for your vehicle is probably one of the most important automotive decisions you need to make. Since your truck drives thousands of miles each year you need to make sure it is in perfect condition – and that includes having good tires.
The tires are the parts on your truck that do all the hard work. They carry the heavy load of the whole vehicle and the cargo. They ensure good steering, proper grip and safety in all weather conditions. It’s an important job! And since your truck drives thousands of miles each year, you need to make sure you have reliable tires too!
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report, each year there are about 11,000 tire-related traffic crashes in the United States. Many accidents can be prevented if we give more attention to choosing the right tires in the first place.
Of course we understand that shopping for new tires is not an easy task. You cannot really tell which ones provide the best grip, the shortest stopping distance or the longest life-span just by looking at them. There are a lot of factors to consider and think about when choosing the right tires for your vehicle. But even though it can be a difficult task, there are a few things you can do ensure you will make the best decision in the end.
1- Don’t be cheap
First of all, don’t be cheap! There is nothing wrong with trying to be thrifty and economical – in most cases it is the best approach. However, truck tire shopping is not one of those situations. When it comes to shopping for new tires you should never let the price decide.
Good quality equals safety, and good quality costs more. If you are looking for tires that will combine the best grip with the longest tread life, you have to be prepared to pay a little bit more for them. According to the tests run by the Consumer Review: “the best all-season tires can last as many as 97,000 miles; the worst would need replacing after 55,000 miles. It’s pretty straightforward: a $130 tire that will last twice as long as an $87 tire is a better bet, assuming other factors are equal.”
If you are planning on keeping your vehicle for a long time, spending a bit more on tires could be a good idea. In the long run it will turn out to be cheaper since you won’t have to replace your tires as often and this will ultimately lower the tire cost.
Truck owners often wonder if they need to replace all the tires a once. If you are on a budget, you might be wondering the same thing. However, while replacing just one or two tires could certainly be cheaper, it is not necessarily safer or good for your vehicle.
First of all, if you don’t replace all of your truck tires you will end up with a mix of new tires and bald, old ones with no traction. This will make it more difficult to turn your truck in wet weather conditions.
What’s more, according to some auto experts replacing only a few of your tires instead of the entire set can increase the chance of fishtailing or hydroplaning. It can also unbalance the truck’s suspension.
If the price is important to you, there are shops that can offer you some great deals, low tire prices and most importantly great advice.
2- Think of what you need
Before you even start thinking of brands, costs and sizes, the first thing you should consider is the type of tire to best suits your needs. When it comes to truck performance and limitations, different types of tires can give completely different outcomes. There is a wide range of truck tires available on the market today which means that you have a good chance of finding the ones that fit your priorities and the way you use your truck.
So before you make any decisions think of how you usually use your truck. How often do you drive it? What is the mileage your truck makes each year? Do you drive it in extreme weather conditions? What kind of surfaces do you drive on?
Once you consider all these factors, do some research on different types of tires to best suit your needs. Here are a few types you should probably consider:
- All season tires － if you mostly drive your truck on-road, all-season truck tires are probabaly the best choice for you. When your truck spends most of the time on-road it doesn’t require higher truck performance limitations. All season tires are designed to provide the best year-round performance on the road, a quiet ride and good tread life. They will also ensure a smooth, peaceful ride as well as good rain traction.
- All terrain tires － if you often use your truck for more rugged work or adventure, you should consider all terrain tires. This type of tire ensures improved dirt and snow traction, so if you need your tires to give you that extra grip this should be your choice. However, there are some disadvantages to all terrain tires. When you drive your truck on-road with all terrain tires fitted, you can expect some extra noise. What’s more they are more prone to cupping and, due to their weight and tread, they can decrease the fuel economy of your truck.
- Mud terrain tires － if you are the kind of trucker looking for the maximum off-road performance then mud terrain is something for you to consider. As you can probably imagine, mud-terrain tires are designed to perform best in challenging off-road environments. So if you spend around 70%- 80% of the time off-road, and only about 20% on-road, you should invest in these types of tires. They will give you truck superior off road and mud traction and you can expect them to perform great in deep snow. However, they can be quite noisy, especially on the road, they will also give you less traction in rainy conditions and light snow. They are also more expensive than other types of tires.
3- Stick to what you know
If you are not sure what type of tires you need, stick to what you know. When looking for new tires it is usually a good idea to choose the same size and type your truck originally came with. Your vehicle was designed in a certain way and the people who made it knew what type of tire would be the best choice for your truck. So if there are no real reasons to look for a different size or type of tire, stick to what you had before.
4- Ask an expert
If you have considered all the factors and types of tires mentioned above and you know more or less what you are looking for, it is still a good idea to talk to a professional who can discuss your tire needs in more detail, give you some useful tips and suggestions and help you choose the right tires for your truck.
If sticking to your budget is also important to you, it can be a good idea to visit a shop or talk to an expert who does not work for one specific brand but specializes in all kinds and brands of tires. This way you can rest assured that you are given a wide range of good options to choose from and you don’t limit yourself to one brand.
Choosing new truck tires can be a daunting task, but is also one you shouldn’t rush. Take your time to research and consider all the options. Talk to an expert to get a professional opinion. Plan your budget but allow yourself to be flexible. Remember that it is a long-term decision that can affect your truck’s performance and safety. So take your time and choose wisely.