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  • Shopping for tires can be a difficult and intimidating process.  Each company takes a different approach to quoting, offers different services, and approaches a sale in different way.  This can make comparison shopping difficult.  In this post, I’ll try to lay out the questions you need to ask to effectively shop for tires and ensure you get the product and services you need.

    Does this tire meet or exceed the load and speed rating requirements of my vehicle?

    Choosing the right tire for your vehicle starts with making sure you have the right size, load index, and speed rating.  While some slight size alterations are allowed, maintaining the original equipment size is almost always preferable.  The load index represents how much weight the tire can hold.  Meeting or exceeding the manufacturer’s recommendation is critical.  Each vehicle also has a recommended speed rating.  This rating correlates to how much heat the tire can sustain and directly affects the handling of the vehicle.  Lowering the speed rating can decrease vehicle responsiveness.

    Does this price include free rotations for the life of the tires?

    Rotating your tires is critical to get the most out of your tires.  In fact, all manufacturers’ mileage warrantees require that you properly maintain your tires to uphold the warrantee!  So if you buy a 60,000 mile tire, it will most likely only see that mileage if you do your tire rotations.  Rotations are recommended every 6,000 miles and are done for free with any tire purchase from Sullivan Tire.

    Will you check the alignment angles for free with the tire purchase?

    Changing tires does not affect your alignment angles, but a misaligned vehicle can affect the way your tires wear.  Premature wear caused by misalignment is another item not covered by the manufacturer’s mileage warranty.  Alignment angles should be checked every six months to one year and performed as needed.  Sullivan Tire will check your alignment angles for free with all tire purchases.  Also, most vehicles require a four wheel or thrust angle alignment if adjustments are needed.  This is because the front angles are based on the rear.  Adjusting only the front without doing the rear first can actually make the alignment worse than it was before.  Be leery of anyone offering a free “Front End” alignment.

    Does the total price include balancing the tires, valve stem service, and disposal of the old tires?

    Don’t confuse “Free Mounting” or “Free Installation” with being everything needed to install tires on your vehicle.  There are three things you always want to make sure are included in your quote:  Balancing, valve service, and disposal of the old tires.

    Wheel Balancing – Balancing is necessary for almost all tires purchased.  Failing to balance tires can cause the vehicle to vibrate at high speeds.  Every time a tire is installed on a rim it should be balanced.  It is also important to note what kind of balancing is done.  Road Force balancing for instance is a unique form of balancing that helps ensure uniformity in the tire and wheel assembly.  This helps reduce high speed disturbances beyond what a standard high speed balancer is capable of.

    Valve Stem Service – All vehicles are equipped with either a rubber valve stem or a metal tire pressure sensor valve.  It is very important to service this every time the tire is removed from the wheel.  For a vehicle equipped with a rubber valve stem this means replacing that valve.  For vehicles equipped with tire pressure sensors this means rebuilding the pressure valve with a new grommet, nut, cap, and core.  This service is important because rubber breaks down over time and can cause pesky slow leaks.  Servicing valves will help to prevent this from happening.

    Disposal – Tires are considered hazardous waste and should be disposed of through the proper channels.  This usually carries a charge.  When trying to compare pricing, always make sure this is included in the price.

    At Sullivan Tire, upfront and honest quoting is a high priority.  You can access all of our tires through our tire search feature.  You can see also see any potential installation charges by clicking on “View Total Price”.  Feel free to utilize the “Help Me Choose” functionality on our site or call our tire experts at 877-855-4826 to help find the right tire for your needs!

    Josh Sweeney
    Sullivan Tire
    TIA Certified Tire Expert

  1. One of the most important parts of shopping for any important item is to listen to the person representing the product or service you are purchasing. Is he or she knowledgeable? One of the most frustrating things for me is to find that after doing only basic research, I find oten that I am better informed on the product than the salesperson !

    Pete Pelletier on March 8, 2013 at 2:26 pm

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