Find information and jump directly to the following tire topics:
The owner's manual for your vehicle, or the label inside the glove box, tells you the proper tire size. It’s important information, because putting an undersized tire on your car can overheat or overload the tire, while an oversized tire can rub parts of the vehicle.
No owner's manual? Call your vehicle’s manufacturer or dealership or a tire dealer and ask what tire size you should use.
Visit Transport Canada’s website for information on how to buy the right tire. Always use a reputable dealer when looking for tires.
Find a CAA approved facility in your area who can help with tire questions and advice.
Use this diagram to decode the information on a tire sidewall:
Uniform Tire Quality Grading (UTQG) is a system that provides useful information on tread wear, traction, and temperature. The ratings are based on standard tire tests, under controlled conditions following the United States Department of Transport standards. All tires for sale in North America have their grades branded on the sidewall. The grade designations are used for comparison purposes only between tires.
Tread wear: Tread wear is a comparative rating based on the wear of the tire, when tested in a controlled environment. For example, a tire grade 400 would wear two times as well as a tire graded 200. The grades range from 50 to over 600, increasing in 20-point increments. The actual life and performance of a tire depends upon the conditions of its use.
Traction: Grades indicate the measurement of a tire’s ability to stop a car in a straight-ahead motion on a wet test surface pavement. Traction ratings are assigned to the tires that were tested and range from AA (highest) to C (lowest). Tests are performed only for straight-ahead sliding and don’t apply to cornering traction acceleration.
Temperature: Grades range from A (highest) to C and represent a tire’s resistance to heat and its ability to dissipate heat under controlled conditions. Tires that receive a “C” grade meet minimum performance standards. The higher the grade, the better the performance. Grades are based on tires that are properly inflated and not overloaded.
Are you unsure about what type of tires to buy?
Do a little research and find out what the experts have to say. Search the Tire Rack website to find tire reviews. You can search by type of vehicle or by tire brand. You can also submit your own tire review.
Epinions.com also offers reviews and ratings of tires, which can be searched by brand, or by type. The site offers a price comparison tool.
More information about tire ratings can be found at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website.
Proper tire maintenance is critical to the safe operation of your vehicle. It will also help improve your fuel efficiency, extend the tire’s life and provide better vehicle handling.
For tips on tire maintenance and driving, visit Transport Canada’s site, or Be Tire Smart. Both sites offer information about how to properly inflate your tires, how to check your tire pressure, when and how to rotate your tires and a simple tire safety checklist.
A winter tire's tread is made of a much softer compound, so it remains flexible well below the freezing point, which helps maintain the desired level of grip. Its open, aggressive tread pattern also means it has the ability to bite into the snow and keep the tread clear.1
Winter tires, however, wear down quickly and need to be changed every two or three seasons. Buying new tires can be confusing. A major influence on tire life is how they are used, your driving style, vehicle, where you drive and maintenance.
1 - "Winter Tire Technology," The London Free Press. Wednesday, December 12, 2007.