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3 options for a better trip on your tires

Tire size can optimize the ride and safety of your vehicle.

Car performance and ride can be improved with the purchase of the right size of tires for your vehicle. Before replacing the tires with the same size on which your vehicle rolled out of the dealership, check out these three options for maximizing your ride.

1. Lower profiles for small cars

Small cars ride better with a wider tread and a lower sidewall, which can usually be found on the next lower profile than the tires that came on the compact. Wider treads and lower sidewalls improve handling and stability.

2. Plus size

Or you can go to the plus size, which is a tire that is the same height as the original but with shorter sidewalls, improving handling and response.

3. Upsize

Different from plus sizing, upsizing means the tire is bigger than the original, all the way around. Especially popular with sport-utility vehicle and truck owners, taller, wider tires improve the traction, load-carrying capacity, ride quality and performance.

Before going with a bigger tire, you need to follow these guidelines:

• Load-carrying capacity must be equal to or greater than what is on the vehicle's placard.

• Rim width must accommodate the new tire size.

• Make sure no rubbing occurs by checking the tire-to-vehicle clearance, suspension clearance and the lock-to-lock steering.

Climate conditions also can affect tire performance as well. Weather extremes might even call for seasonal tires. In the Coastal Bend, all-season tires should serve any vehicle well. New tires have been developed — and are becoming popular — for dry, summer climes. These new designs include superior dry handling and traction.

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