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As previously mentioned in part one of our Tire Buying Guide, fall is the best time of the year to buy new tires. If you’re not sure if you need new tires, click here. If you do need new tires, the next step is to choose the right tires for your car. To help make the process easy, we explain where to find this information and how to choose the best tires at the shop.

How do you know what kind of tires you need?
You can look in your owner’s manual, or if you look on the sidewall of your tire you will find a code. This code can help you determine what size and type of tires to buy. Rene from J.C. Tire, helped us breakdown this sample code:

P195/60R16 63H M+S:

  • P – Type of tire (P-is a passenger tire, LT-is a light truck tire)
  • 195 – Width of the tire across the tread in millimeters
  • 60 – Aspect ratio of the sidewall compared to the width
  • – Construction used (R-is radial construction, B-is belted bias construction, D-is diagonal bias construction)
  • 16 – Diameter of the rim in inches
  • 63 – Tire’s load rating
  • H – Tire’s speed rating
  • M+S – Tire is suitable for all-season driving


How do you know if you are purchasing quality tires?
car-tires-shopGary from Aero Motors stated you should pay close attention to the Department of Transportation (DOT) Serial Number located on the sidewall of the tire. The DOT number holds information that discloses the “born on” date of the tire, and where exactly the tire was manufactured. It is exceptionally important to know how long ago the tires were made when you are purchasing discount tires or tires on sale. This guarantees you are not purchasing tires that were made an extremely long time ago that could potentially be recalled or rotted.

How do you read a DOT number?
Here is an example of a DOT number broken down into what each section means:

DOT H2 CX 2AF 2713:

  • DOT – Identifies the beginning of the DOT number
  • H2– The place the tire was manufactured
  • CX – The tire’s size code
  • 2AF – The type of tire (optional)
  • 2713 – The week and year the tire was manufactured. In this example it was manufactured in the 27th week of 2013.

Need new tires before winter hits, but short on funds? Mariner Finance is here for your financing needs! Contact your local Mariner Finance branch to speak with a knowledgeable member of our staff and get the money you need today!

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