Las Vegas is known for sparkling lights, loads of entertainment options, and is surrounded by breathtaking sights. Getting you to and from all of the attractions in Vegas are the unsung heroes of your vehicle—your tires.
In this ultimate tire shop guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about picking the best tires for your car, truck, van, or SUV.
What Different Tire Seasons Mean
Tires in Las Vegas are subject to some pretty wild temperature swings and a very dry climate. The weather plays a huge role in how well your tires hold up over time, so selecting tires that are made to work with your location and driving habits is key.
Once you start shopping for new tires, you’ll see several options for the tire season including:
- All season: These tires are best during the summer, spring, fall, and early winter months and are especially good for wet conditions. They provide a smooth ride and have a relatively good level of performance virtually year-round. To provide a good middle ground between summer and winter performance, all season tires sacrifice a little performance of both of these. Meaning, an all-season tire won’t provide the same level of agile handling as a summer tire nor are they designed to handle heavy winter snow.
- All weather: Like a cross between all season tires and winter tires, all weather tires have varying tread patterns that afford the greatest control across different seasons/driving conditions.
- Summer: These tires provide the best performance during the hot summer months. Summer tires are also known as performance tires due to their superior handling. They work well in both wet and dry conditions, but are built for providing responsiveness during cornering and increased braking. Special treads and specific rubber compounds help summer tires achieve maximum grip for both speed and agility.
- Winter: While accumulating snow is rare in Las Vegas, the many mountain ranges we have surrounding us definitely experience snow and icy conditions on the roadway. Winter, or snow, tires help get the best traction in snow and ice. Winter tires have tread rubber made to remain flexible and provide grip in extreme cold. They also offer deeper treads and patterns that provide the best traction on snow. Like an off road tire, winter tires employ biting edges, which help provide better traction in winter conditions.
If you’re unsure which tires are best based on your driving habits, let our ASE-certified pros walk you through your options. We’ll help you understand which tires would work best based on where and how you drive.
Determining the Right Tire Size for Your Vehicle
When you look at your tires, you’ll see a string of letters and numbers that can help to designate the precise size, performance level, date of manufacturer, and other identifying characteristics. You can also find tires that match your vehicle by looking at the small placard affixed to your driver’s door jamb or within your vehicle’s owner’s manual.
To help give you a better idea of what to look for, let’s look at an example. Let’s say you see the following information on your tire and loading information placard – 255/45 R 18 103 H.
- 255 – This is your tire’s section width (sidewall to sidewall) measured in millimeters.
- 45 – This is known as your aspect ratio and is an indication of the height as a percentage of the section width.
- R – This is the tire construction. “R” means this is a radial tire. Radial tires have cord plies, which are constructed at 90 degrees from the direction of travel.
- 18 – This is the wheel diameter measured in inches.
- 103 – This is the load index, which is the maximum weight your tire can safely carry.
- H – This is the maximum speed rating that your tires are safely rated for. Generally, a higher place in the alphabet indicates a tire mitigates heat and handles better at high rates of speed. H-rated tires are common with cars and some light trucks and have a speed rating of 130mph.
Understanding your tire’s measurements will help you in deciding which tires would work best based on your individual driving habits, as well as fit your vehicle. Our pros can help you narrow down your search by shopping tires made to work with your unique situation. For more information on tire measurements, see our “How to Read Your Tires Guide”.
What Do the Letters and Numbers on the Sidewall Of the Tire Mean?
The mix of letters and numbers that are found on the sidewall of tires identifies both the type of tire and the size information. The tire type is indicated by the first letter in the chain. A passenger tire will have a “P” at the beginning, while a light truck tire will have “LT”.
Next, after the first letter(s), there will be three numbers before the slash. These are the width of the tread (section width) in millimeters. Then, after the slash and before the “R” are two numbers. These indicate the height of the sidewall (aspect ratio), which is expressed as the percentage of the tread that is the tire’s sidewall. The larger the sidewall, the larger this number will be. Finally, the last two numbers after the “R” are the diameter of the tire’s rim in inches.
As an example, let’s say that the chain of letters/numbers on your tire was P245/45R18. This indicates:
- Passenger tire
- Section width = 245mm
- Aspect ratio = 45% of 245mm. So the sidewall height would be 110.25mm
- The rim’s diameter = 18 inches
Our experts at any one of our convenient tire shop locations can help you decipher your tires and determine the right replacement tires for your vehicle. We also frequently offer tire deals to help make even new, high-quality tires more affordable.
What are the Downsides in Changing the Size of My Tires?
You can easily change the look of your vehicle by increasing or decreasing the size of your tires. But, it is important to understand that doing so can impact your vehicle’s handling and overall performance.
Changing to a smaller tire to lower the profile of your vehicle will impact its handling as well as the clearance you have over hills, speedbumps, and other road height variations. If you change to a taller, larger tire you will first need to have your speedometer recalibrated. This is because the tires will be spinning fewer revolutions per mile and, without recalibration, the speedometer will display a slower speed than you are actually going. Also, with larger tires, you may notice an increase in road noise and a difference in the way the vehicle handles. You will also need to take into account how much clearance you have in your wheel well.
If you are considering changing the size of your current tires/wheels, you should first talk with a tire expert here at Tire Works. We’ll explain the pros and cons you’ll need to consider in regards to your specific vehicle. We can also determine the differences in tire revolution per mile, speed rating, etc., and what this will all mean for your vehicle’s handling, suspension, and more.
What Is Tire Balancing?
Tire balancing ensures that the weight of the tire is equally distributed around the entire wheel unit, which results in the smooth ride you expect. Balancing will be done when new tires are installed and can also be performed as a preventative maintenance service.
To balance a tire, the wheel/tire unit is mounted on computerized equipment that pinpoints any imbalances. These imbalances are then corrected by attaching small weights on the rim and then the wheel/tire unit is remounted onto the vehicle.
Ensuring your tires are properly balanced is one of the easiest ways to extend the life of your tires. If they are not, the tread will quickly start to wear unevenly and you will probably feel a vibration in the steering wheel or floorboard while driving.
Why Should I Have a Tire Alignment Done When I Get New Tires?
New tires are an investment that you want to protect. One way to do this and extend the life of your tires is to make sure they are in proper alignment. When they are, your tires/wheels are in the optimal position relative to each other and the road and are spinning properly. When everything is in alignment, you minimize uneven tire wear and your tires and suspension can perform optimally.
This is why regular alignment checks are so important as well. Things like hitting a pothole or driving over a curb can cause a misalignment. If something like that has happened recently or you’re seeing increased wear along the outer edges of the tire, bring your vehicle in ASAP for an alignment check.
Why Do I Need to Have a Tire Rotation Done Regularly?
Having regular tire rotations done on your vehicle is another easy way to help your tires last and ensure they are wearing evenly. Reduced fuel economy, tread issues, and tire repair needs can all be attributed to uneven tire wear.
New tires are more susceptible to uneven wear because they have a deeper tread. So, we recommend that for newer tires a rotation is done at the 5,000-mile mark. For older tires, you should have a rotation done every 6,000 to 8,000 miles to maximize tire life.
A good preventative maintenance habit to get into is having your tires rotated at the same time that you are bringing your vehicle in for its routine oil and filter change.
Can I Just Rotate My Tires Myself?
Technically you could, yes. But “should you?” is the more important question. A tire rotation is best left to the professionals. At Tire Works, our ASE-certified technicians will follow the proper pattern of movement for the rotation and ensure proper positioning. As the tire rotation service is performed, we will also check your tires’ air pressure and inspect them for any early indications of other issues that need to be addressed.
If I Have Two Worn Tires and Two Good Tires, Where Should the Good Ones Go?
In this case, most tire experts will agree that the newer/less worn tires be on the rear of the vehicle to help prevent it from fishtailing. This is the case no matter if the vehicle is front-wheel, rear-wheel, or all-wheel drive.
What Other Things Can I Do to Protect My Tires?
- Make sure you know how to use a tire pressure gauge and check your tires’ pressure regularly, especially when preparing for a long drive.
- Regularly look your tires over for anything out of the ordinary. Look for any punctures or objects in the tread or sidewall, excessive or uneven wear, etc.
- Avoid hard braking, fast starts, hard corners, potholes, or driving over debris in the road.
- Prevent tire overheating by knowing what the load capacity of your tires is and not going past it.
- Establish a routine for regular pressure checks, tire rotations, and balancing at your closest Tire Works location.
Are There Some Basic Tire-Related Terms I Should Know?
Here are a few common terms you may hear when you are in a tire shop:
Rim: This is the round, heavy metal piece that is surrounded by the tire. It is also sometimes referred to as the wheel. Lug nuts, which screw onto the center bolts, are used to attach the rim to the axle.
Tread: This is the tire’s grooved outer surface that meets the road. Tread patterns vary between brands and types of tires. For example, the tread of high-performance tires will look much different than an off-road tire. If your tread is overly worn or cracked, it’s time to visit your local tire store for a replacement.
PSI: This stands for “pounds per square inch” and is the measurement of your tire’s air pressure. You’ll usually find the manufacturer-recommended PSI numbers stamped near the center rim on the tire’s sidewall.
How to Browse Tires In a Tire Store
Once you have your tire measurements down, you’ll be able to browse our full selection of tires made to fit within those specifications. At Tire Works Total Car Care in Las Vegas, we like to make this process as easy as possible. Just enter your width, profile, wheel size, and desired tire season and you’ll be presented with all of our available tires from top brands like Goodyear, Michelin, Yokohama, BFGoodrich, and more.
You can browse all your new tire options, find the perfect set for your vehicle, check out, and even schedule your installation all right from our website.
Tire Maintenance Tips to Help New Tires Last Longer
One of the most important aspects of buying a new tire is having them installed correctly. This may seem straightforward, but it requires some sophisticated measurements to ensure your tire is right in line with your vehicle’s specifications. This starts with tire balancing and alignments.
Not every tire shop out there offers alignments, so make sure you stick with a shop that can perform this critical service with your new tire installation. Not having properly aligned tires can begin to wear down your brand new tread right out of the shop, which can lead to premature treadwear. In addition, hitting a big pothole can cause a misalignment, so be sure to watch for signs like your vehicle pulling to one side or uneven treadwear.
As you drive on your new tires, also be sure to periodically check your tires air pressure and ensure it’s within the specifications you’ll find printed on the information placard on your driver’s door jamb or within your owner’s manual. Lastly, be sure to have your new tires rotated regularly. We recommend having this performed every 6,000 miles or so to help prevent uneven tread wear.
Getting a Great Deal on Tires
To get the best price on new tires, always check our tires coupons page. We have tons of manufacturer rebates and other promotions, which change throughout the year, so be sure to check often.
Another great option to explore is to have your new tires financed on a Tire Works Total Car Care credit card offered through CFNA. You can enjoy no annual fee, low monthly payments, and an easy application.
Finding a Top Tire Shop in Las Vegas
When it comes to tire shops in Las Vegas, there are plenty of options, so how can you tell the difference between a quality shop and one that is so-so? The most important designation any tire shop can have is to employ ASE-certified master mechanics. Obtaining an ASE certification requires mastering all the ins and outs of vehicles, including proper tire maintenance and installation. Achieving this distinction is the equivalent of a master’s degree for mechanics and shows that a technician has the experience and knowledge required to safely work on your family’s vehicle.
Tire Works Total Car Car is your one-stop tire shop, only employing ASE-certified professionals to perform tire service and new tire installation.
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