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The first thing that you can do is check your owner's manual for the correct size, but tires must be the same size and construction on each axle. If you must mix the constructions, the radial pair should be on the rear axle.

If you're buying only a pair of replacement tires, put the new ones on the rear wheels for better handling.

Buy tires according to your needs. If you are planning to sell your car soon, don't buy long-lasting radials-get a shorter-term tire, such as bias-ply or bias-belted.

Consider the new all-season tires especially if you live in a colder climate. These radial tires combine the traction of snow tires with the quiet ride and longer tread wear of a highway tire. Twice-a-year changing is not necessary as it is for the conventional snow tires.

Radial tires are expected to last for 40,000 miles, bias belted tires for 30,000 and bias-ply tires for 20,000.

Spring and fall are best for good discounts on tire prices.

All tires sold in the US must meet Department of Transportation standards. You should always look for the DOT symbol on the sidewall of any tire sold in the US, whether foreign or domestic.

Any tires, old or new, must be properly inflated if you expect good performance.

Buying the right size of tire is also important:

If you are an aggressive driver, you will want a wider, low-profile tire that puts more rubber on the road.

If you're an average driver, who makes modest demands of his car, switching the original tires may not be a worthwile expense. However, even an average, non-high-performance driver can gain some safety advantages in braking and wet weather adhesion by investing in higher rated (wider,lower) tires.