Once you've figured out if you're truly ready to shop for tires, there are a few things you'll need to know to ensure that it's a smooth process. As stated, not all tires are going to work for all vehicles or needs. So you need to account for these things beforehand so that when you get ready to go into the shop or start browsing online, you have a good idea of what you're looking for.
Fortunately, most of this information is relatively easy to figure out. You can determine most of these factors simply by looking at the information printed on your tires, as well as the stickers on the inside of your driver's side door and your truck's manual.
What you'll find out by compiling this information before you walk into a tire and wheel shop is what it is that you're looking for and what you're actually able to get. Once you know each of these things, you'll have an extremely accurate idea of what to look for once you start looking. This way, a clever salesman or flashy online ad can't sell you a set of tires that you don't want or need as easily.
The most practical factor that determines what kind of wheels and tires you can buy is the size. Every vehicle will be capable of supporting a limited range of sizes, and different tires will only fit onto certain wheels. The first step is to figure out what sizes of wheel/tire your vehicle is capable of supporting, which you can usually figure out with a quick internet search.
Next, you'll need to figure out what kind of wheels you want - assuming you're looking to change them out. The wheels on your vehicle have a huge impact on how your truck is going to look and feel. Not only that, but they also determine what kind of tires you're going to be able to buy.
If you're replacing the tires and wheels at the same time, then you can easily get a matching pair. But if you're only replacing the wheels or the tires, then the size of the one being replaced is going to be decided by the size of the one that you aren't replacing. So figure out the measurements that your truck can handle, the measurements within that range that you want, and how those measurements affect the tires/wheels you're able to pick.
When it comes to wheels, the finish is a major factor in the look of your ride. Nowadays there are all kinds of finishes out there, so finding the one that best suits your truck will largely come down to personal preference and budget.
First, there's the classy chrome finish, which is hard to go wrong with. One of the nice things about chrome is that you don't really have to worry about rusting. Powder coated finishes are also a great option, especially if you prefer something more on the understated side. Powder coats are less flashy but provide you with a substantial amount of protection against the elements.
If you're looking for a color, like black wheels, then you're going to need a paint coating on your wheels. Paint coatings are finished with a clear topcoat that protects it from rusting or scratching fairly well.
While mostly aesthetic, the style of your wheels is important as well, especially if you're looking to upgrade primarily for looks. Things like the number of spokes a wheel has, the size of the rim lip, how many lug nuts there are, and so on, will all determine if you're going for something sleek and smooth, or something beefy and tough.
The style of rims you get is going to have an impact on the way your truck handles as well. If you want something that improves your acceleration and cornering, then a wider diameter wheel will give you what you're looking for. On the other hand, if you want a sporty looking rim that still handles smoothly, then you'll want smaller wheels that give you more room for tire sidewalls.
More important than the look of your tires and wheels is your own personal needs. Sporty tires might be fun when cruising around downtown, but they're going to be less than ideal if you plan on taking your truck through some mud.
If you don't know what kind of tires you need, or you don't have any reason to care, then going with all-season tires never hurts. These are tires that are going to handle any kind of terrain and weather fairly well, as well as get you through your standard down the road drive with no issues.
If you live in an area that gets snow, then regardless of what kind of tires you want, you're going to be best off just buying snow tires. These kinds of tires will handle fine during the summer, and in the winter, they can be a literal lifesaver. If terrain, weather, and practicality all fall below having a fun ride, then you're going to be looking at performance tires, which are all about speed, cornering, and grip.
Like any substantial investment, your budget extremely important. While it may be the last item on our list of things to know beforehand, it is the thing you should start composing first. If you don't know where to begin, just look into the average price of standard, all-season tires for your vehicle, and use that as your baseline price.
Most tires are going to cost relatively the same, and are fairly straightforward. Just like when shopping for a battery, the more durability and performance you want, the more you're going to have to pay. Wheels, on the other hand, can be a little more involved.
The bigger the wheel's diameter, the more it's going to cost. This means that if you're looking to get wheels with a sporty feel to them, you're going to have to shell out a little more dough than normal. Chrome is usually more expensive than other wheel finishes, so keep that in mind if you're looking to secure that mirror-like finish for your truck.