Buying Tires & Wheels
by Pat Goss
Not only are tires and wheels the focal point of an automobile, they’re also one of the prime components in the car’s safety systems. And to explain some of this to us we have Matt Edmonds from The Tire Rack.
Pat Goss: Hi, Matt.
Matt Edmonds, Director of Marketing, The Tire Rack: A pleasure to be here.
Goss: Now you kind of reinvented how tires and wheels are purchased.
Edmonds: We’ve tried to make the whole experience educational for the consumer, but make it very concentric around their vehicle and what’s important to them.
Goss: Okay. Now you have a selector guide.
Edmonds: Yes, we do. It is a process that leads a consumer through the questions, very much like what they would do with any of our sales people, as they are trying to understand how the product works and what’s best for their vehicle.
Goss: Okay, so you give ratings on the different types of tires and so on.
Edmonds: We give ratings on the tires. We have consumer ratings, over a billion miles of information from consumers, as well as our own test information. It gives people a good basis on how to compare what tire does what best.
Goss:Okay, now you’re big on tire and wheel packages, so you can update the car like we’ve done on this Nissan Z. It makes all the difference in the world.
Edmonds: It’s really an opportunity to personalize your vehicle from an appearance as well as handling standpoint.
Goss: And the tires and wheels come assembled.
Edmonds:They come mounted, balanced. Everything’s ready here, the hardware, everything you need to install this on a vehicle, including a manual that also helps to explain the process.
Goss: I’ve seen the manual. It’s pretty slick. Now, there’s a general misconception about high performance tires, that they’re no good in the rain.
Edmonds: That’s something that’s developed over the years as people look at high performance tires that worked very well on the dry and not very well on the wet. As you can see from this tire here, the tread patterns have evolved to where these tires work extremely well in the wet, and actually are some of the best wet-performing tires.
Goss: So tires are just like the cars. They’ve evolved over the years. Now, another issue for certain parts of the country are snow tires.
Edmonds:Absolutely. If you have a tire like this, it’s not going to work very well, if at all, in the winter conditions. And so you need to have a dedicated snow tire, winter tire, that works well in snow and ice, or at the very least an all season tire.
Goss: Now, you also sell tire and wheel packages, snow tires.
Edmonds: Absolutely. If you go you can select a tire that’s best for your vehicle and also a wheel, that may be a steel wheel or an alloy wheel, depending on your vehicle and what you want to spend in your budget. But that then also gets you to something that’s going to fit and work on the vehicle and make changeover very, very easy.
Goss: Now, when we talk about snow tires, we’re talking about four of them, not two.
Edmonds: Absolutely. If you put two on, these snow tires have become so good that part of your car will be disconnected. You may be able to turn, but the back end’s not going to stay planted very well either.
Goss: There you go. All right, SUVs. Hot, hot market. People like to update them.
Edmonds:Everybody wants to upgrade. Again, personalizing the vehicle, personalizing the look, personalizing the performance and handling of the vehicle. Going to a 20-inch tire and wheel, such as we have here, with the AT Italia. It features a stainless steel face, low maintenance, a little different than a chrome wheel, but actually it looks extremely attractive on this vehicle and transforms it, as you see.
Goss: Yeah, very impressive. Matt, thank you very much.
Edmonds: It was a pleasure to be here.
If you have a question or comment, write to me. The address is MotorWeek, Owings Mills, MD, 21117.