Ok, I think I need new tires before the winter snow hits here in Ohio, but I do not know the first thing about tires. I see all kinds of ads for different types/sizes/qualities/etc. of tires. I have an 03 Grand Am. I do not have wads of money coming out my purse, so I need some basic info so that I don’t spend foolishly or get talked into it. I plan to have this care for 3-4 years more at least.


The first thing you need to do is, determine the size of tire on your vehicle. Look on the sidewall of the tires that are mounted on the vehicle now. This will show up as something like P175/65R14.

Now you have to determine if you want an all-season radial, or if you want a tire with a MUD/SNOW tread design. This depends on how much snow/ice you get in the your area.

Then with this information, you can price tires by size, tread design, and warranty.



I just bought new tires for my car - what a crazy mess it is trying to compare tire prices ! Make sure you go in to the tire shops and tell them you want to know exactly how much it costs for them all mounted, balanced, taxes, tire disposal, and any extra charges that they like to surprise you with - like these new shop fee charges they tack on. Some shops quote you cheap tire prices but charge lots for balancing which makes the tire then cost more than the others. Get an all season tire for the snow. The tires I ultimately bought had a lot better tire pattern and better lifetime miles specs than the other cheap tires that were only $5 less. So do your homework ! And don’t forget to include the cost of an alignment in your decision.


Once you know the SIZE you need, you can go to and use their wonderful site to learn a lot about tires.

Snow Tires work great in snow, but leave something to be desired the 95% of the time you will driving on dry roads…

“All Season” tires are a compromise and work “pretty good” in all driving conditions.

“Touring” or “Performance” tires accell on dry roads but are marginal on snow and ice. Tires have a tread wear rating. 400 is a good number to shoot for but don’t put too much faith in those numbers.


Don’t be afraid to pay more for a tire, they’re basically your only contact with the road. Just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean it’s good.
Provided your car is the SE sedan, here are some good rated tires I found on a quick search:


Your GrandAm is a front wheel drive car, so tire traction issues are a bit less important than with a RWD car. It also depends on what model you have. The GT comes with wider tires than the other models and will have less traction on slick surfaces than narrower tires (narrow tires “bite” through snow better because there is more weight per square inch on the tire surface). All tires will have a traction rating on the sidewall, so compare those. They will also have a mileage rating. Softer tread compounds will have more traction on dry surfaces but will wear out faster. Aggressive tread design with larger spaces between lugs will clear snow better but will be noisier on dry pavement and wear faster. It’s all about compromise.

There are some good posts about being careful about hidden costs like mounting, balancing, valve stems, weights, disposal fees, federal, city and state taxes. Be sure you get those before comparing prices.

You may not need to pay for an alignment. Look at your present tires and see if there is any uneven wear on front or rear. Most cars, if driven normally and not run into curbs when parking will retain good alignment. If the tires are worn excessively on either the inside or outside (but not inside AND outside or center, both of which indicate improper inflation), save your money on alignment.


I agree with all points and will add that winter performance tires are incredible in the dry/wet when cold and quiet and have much better winter/wet/dry traction than an all-season tire but do not have winter traction like a pure snow/winter tire.

Good generalizations and their are performance tires with good winter traction too however that is the more the exception rather than rule.

Which year and model Grand Am(eg GT, LE or SE etc) do you own. Some grand am’s had regular all-seasons and certain “sportier” ones had performance tires.

I have 20 years driving New England winters on basically performance all-season tires only and a few sets of winter tires.


Alignment checks that yield no adjustments by good tire shops only cost about $30-$40 and full cost(~$70) if adjustment is required. I would not skip this step on new tires. You can destroy a set of tires very quickly (<2000 miles) with a bad alignment. You may have knocked a car out of alignment just before replacement and never knew.


Thank all of you so much for your input. I think I have a clearer mind about it all. I didn’t realize that balancing etc would also need to be done, and I am glad to have learned that before I bought tires (for “more” than I thought!) If you were my neighbors, I would bake you cookies! :slight_smile: thanks again!

#10 has a good primer on tires. I recommend a visit.


thanks! will go there.


Don’t be afraid to pay more for a tire, they’re basically your only contact with the road. Just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean it’s good.

Just because it’s expensive doesn’t mean they’re good either.

I LOVE Michelin tires…but I can get VERY GOOD tires at about 50% LESS then Michelin tires…without sacrificing ANYTHING…


True, but I’d rather pay more for a better tire than get the cheapest thing I can find that isn’t good for anything besides sitting on the rim.


Tire shops? Try your trusted local repair shop as well. In my limited experience,my guy has matched the price of chain stores. I would rather give him the money. If your service provider is high, ask why they can not match the lower price.


True, but I’d rather pay more for a better tire than get the cheapest thing I can find that isn’t good for anything besides sitting on the rim.

I agree 100%…but there are VERY GOOD tires out there for far less then Michelins. Cooper truck tires are EXCELLENT tires…Yokahama are also EXCELLENT tires…both are about 50% cheaper then Michelins.


I don’t doubt it, but when I was shopping on, the michelins were the best rated tires in the size I needed. I was gonna go with BF Goodrich Traction T/A v, but the Michelins beat it out for snow traction.


Once you have decided on what type of tires you need, shop for the best price (installed & balanced). We buy Michelin tires and find Costco has by far the best deals. Plus free lifetime rotation. If you live in an area with a mild climate and not much rain or snow, winter tires are a waste of money. They wear quickly on bare pavement, and the tread warranty is about half that of good all season radials. In the New England states with snow and roads icing up, these tires are well worth buying. Tires are best bought in sets of 4, and regular rotation will make them wear evenly.