The Toyota Corolla is one of the most dependable and most popular vehicles on the road today. It’s not hard to see versions of the car that are several model years old still cruising around as if they were new. Even so, certain parts of the Corolla have to be replaced just like any other car, reliable or not. Tires are the biggest and most obvious wear item that needs to be replaced semi-regularly.
The 2020 Corolla sedan comes in six different trims: L, LE, Hybrid LE, SE, XLE, and XSE. The Corolla Hatchback comes in either SE or XSE trims. Depending on the trim, your Corolla could have one of three different wheel sizes:
For each stock wheel size, we’ll provide a recommendation for a Budget, a Moderately Priced and a Cost-No-Object replacement tire
The small 15-inch tire and wheel size opens up a world of affordable tires from nearly every major brand.
The Corolla SE and XSE come with 18-inch wheels, which means that several of the replacement tires you can buy will be performance-oriented. That’s fine if you live in a warm climate, but for everyone else, a solid all-season tire is the best choice.
Two major factors should be a consideration when deciding to replace tires on any vehicle, not just the Corolla.
Most drivers travel somewhere between 12,000 and 15,000 miles per year, so the tires are much more likely to pass their useful life in mileage before any time-based expiration date rolls around.
The life of your tire can be somewhat predicted by its UTQG (Uniform Tire Quality Grade) rating. Tire manufacturers apply their own grades to tires for treadwear, traction, and temperature. When you’re researching tires online, a UTQG will come up next to the tire name in three digits and a number (ex. 500 A A).
You can glean a bit of info from the tires by reading this rating:
The other consideration is time. Each tire has a raised date code on the sidewall. The number begins with the letters “DOT” followed by 12 digits in three four-digit groups. The date code is the third group of four digits. To decipher the date of your tires, the first two digits represent the WEEK the tire was produced, and the second two digits represent the YEAR.
For example, if your tire’s date code is 3217, that indicates the tire was manufactured in the 37th week of 2017, or sometime between September 11 and 17th that year.
Once tires go beyond five years old, it’s time to consider replacing them. Tires are made up not just of rubber and steel or kevlar belts, but chemicals that help the tires resist UV rays, temperature changes and a lot of other environmental hazards. Those chemicals start to break down after five years or so, and the tires aren’t doing the job that they need to do.
You may choose to replace the tires on your Corolla with the same tires that came from the factory. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you may choose to change the tire or wheel size and type depending on the kinds of driving you’ll be doing.
You only need to purchase ONE set of tires for your car every four years or so, depending on how much you drive. When an auto manufacturer purchases tires, they buy them by the hundreds of thousands. For the manufacturer, the decision to choose a supplier one brand or another comes down to a price point.
For you, your consideration may be completely different. If you could get a tire that stopped 20 feet shorter for an additional $10 per tire over the original equipment, you’d probably do it. Similarly, if there was a tire that provided less road noise or longer tread life for a minimal investment overstock, chances are, you’d probably decide on the slightly more expensive tire.
You may decide that the wheels on your Corolla need a change, either for appearance purposes or for practical reasons like needing a specific tire size that isn’t available for your current wheels. Whatever the reason, there are a few things to keep in mind when changing your wheel sizes. It’s easy to move up or down in wheel size, but the overall diameter of when and tire together should stay the same. This means that moving up from a 16-inch wheel to a 17-inch wheel is fine, but the tire sidewall size has to decrease to compensate. The same is true in reverse.
Downsizing wheels has its advantages. Benefits include:
On the other side of the coin, going up in wheel size has its benefits:
When reading tire sizes, it’s important to understand what the numbers mean. The Toyota Corolla LE’s P205/55 R16 all-season tires:
Now that you know what comes on the new Altima and how to read the size numbers, let’s look at the different types of tires available to you. Depending on the type of driving you’re doing, where you live, and the weather, you have a variety of choices for tire types:
Online tire prices are usually less than in store
A: Toyota recommended tire pressures that range between 30 psi and 35 psi, depending on the specific Corolla model and whether or not the tires are on the front or rear of the car. Your vehicle’s specific tire pressure recommendation can be found on a yellow sticker inside the front driver’s side door jamb.
A: Rotating tires is more about the tire than it is about the car. A typical rotation interval is somewhere between 5,000 and 7,000 miles, though specific cars and tires may change those numbers a bit. The Corolla is a front-wheel-drive car, which means that the front tires are under more stress and may need to be replaced more often if they’re not rotated properly.
A: Your Toyota Corolla should have come equipped with a spare tire and changing tools in the trunk. In this case, you already have everything you need to physically change the tire, but you may want to carry an extra roadside emergency kit with an upgraded lug wrench, jumper cables, and emergency markers just in case.
A: All of that information is contained in the information on the sidewall of your tire. The Tire Industry Association provides an excellent guide to finding the tire size, the UTQG rating and the date code of your current tires at its website.
A: Absolutely not. There are many other reasons to replace your tires, mostly due to road hazards. Any punctures, cuts or abrasions -- especially in the sidewall -- should be a reason to consider at least replacing one tire. If there are any bulges or other visible deformities in your tire, that’s when it’s time to place a call to replace them.
A: It’s always a good idea to, but it’s not 100 percent necessary. If you’ve got one tire that’s had a puncture and the other three are in good shape, there’s no reason to replace all four. Tire rotation will become that much more important, though, to allow the tread on all four tires to wear more evenly.
A: That’s not such a great idea. If you’re going to replace two tires, it’s a good idea to find tires of the same brand. If you absolutely have to mix and match brands, replace two at a time on the same axle.
Ordering your tires online vs. the shop will save you money