If you read last week’s article on when to replace your tires, you might be in the market for a new set. Tires come in all shapes, sizes, and prices, so replacing worn-out ones might seem overwhelming—but it’s important that you take the time to understand what tires are best for your vehicle. This week we’re going to address the difference between high-mileage and lower-mileage tires.

When it comes to choosing tires, perhaps the most important choice you make is whether you choose the higher or lower-mileage option. Many motorists opt for the higher-mileage tires in an effort to save money, which at first glance might seem like a wise decision. In theory, higher-mileage tires save you money in the long run by going a longer period of time before needing to be replaced, and replacing tires is usually a costly venture—setting you back an average of seven or eight hundred dollars.

However, let’s take a step back and evaluate how important your tires are to your safety and your vehicle’s well-being. When you’re taking a corner at a higher speed or driving on icy or snowy roads, how much grip your tires have on the pavement is the most important factor determining the safety of you and your passengers. The four softball-sized spots on the bottom of your wheels are your only point of contact with the road, and in order to stay on it they need to be on their game.

When you take this into consideration, it becomes very important that you have tires with high-quality composition that is going to give you the most grip (or friction) possible—and almost all of the time, this means lower-mileage tires.
The specific reason that your tires wear down is from friction, usually referred to as traction. If your tire wears quickly, you know that more of your tire surface area is touching the ground, and you have more traction.

The problem with high-mileage tires is that they substitute some of the rubber compound, which is what chiefly contributes to traction, for silicone. Silicone is harder than rubber, and wears less quickly; the higher mileage tire you can safely bet has more silicone.

When shopping for new tires, take these facts into account and consider buying lower-mileage tires. They do tend to run at a higher cost—averaging between $150 and $200 per tire—but an average repair bill from an accident is much higher, and you can’t put a price on your life or health. Visit one of our AAMCO locations to get an opinion from an expert car mechanic on what your best options are. Do yourself and other drivers a favor: buy tires that do what they’re meant to do—grip the road.

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