The Chevrolet Tahoe is a popular, well-known sport utility. The Tahoe is large, family-friendly, and very capable. Most models of current-generation Chevy Tahoe include 20-inch and 22-inch wheels. Your Tahoe may have come with smaller wheels, but tires for sizes between 18-inch and 20-inch are largely the same in this category. The original equipment tires may suit your needs just fine, that many owners find that their needs are more specific than the general-use scenario OEM tires are aimed towards. Read on to find out more about the best tire choices for your Chevrolet Tahoe.
The current-generation Chevrolet Tahoe is sold with three tire sizes, depending on trim level and wheel size:
We’ve recommended three replacement tires in 18-, 20-, and 22-inch sizes, in budget, moderately priced and cost-no-object varieties. Whatever your wallet size and expectation, we’ve got you covered here.
Two things are the harbingers of change for your Tahoe’s tires: time and wear.
Because most drivers cover between 12,000 and 15,000 miles per year, most Tahoe owners will go beyond the tires’ wear limits before they reach their “use by” date.
It’s possible to predict the rough expected lifespan of your tire in mileage (wear) by using the manufacturer's Uniform Tire Quality Grade (UTQG) rating. These are applied by the manufacturer and are voluntary, but have become universal. They are a good general expectation, but usage will mean that your mileage may vary. (Get it?)
The UTQG gives information on the tire’s expected treadwear, wet traction rating, and temperature. These are given with a three-digit number and lettering. For example, a rating of 500 A A is a common option on SUV tires like those found on your Tahoe.
You can glean a bit of info from the tires by reading that rating:
Time, of course, is the other consideration for tires. If you are not driving on your Tahoe’s tires for at least average mileage annually, you’ll likely reach the “use by” date for the tires before you wear the tread too thin.
Every tire made for sale in the United States is required to have 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.
So, 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. At that point, it doesn’t matter how good they look. It’s time for replacements.
The tires that came with your Tahoe are a good, generalized option, but they may not fit your specific needs. Chevrolet chose the tires based on several criteria, including its relationship with the manufacturer, costs, expected fuel economy returns, and so forth. Many of these reasons may not apply to you.
Tire replacement only happens every three or four years for most Tahoe owners. This makes it a big investment that will last for a while. Replacing the original tires that came with the SUV may come as a need due to wear and tear, as an upgrade, or as an essential requirement because more capability is needed.
Perhaps you need a tire that is better in the winter, has more off-road prowess, or that stops faster than the OEM option.
Sometimes, replacing the tires comes because the wheel is being replaced as well. Perhaps you want a smaller wheel and more sidewall to add extra road cushion for a more comfortable ride? Or perhaps you want the bling of bigger wheels and thinner profile tires? Or maybe the tires you really want on your Tahoe don’t come in a size that will fit on the wheels that came with your SUV?
Depending on the year and model, you may be shopping tires to fit anything between 17-inch for older models to 22-inch wheels with various widths and sidewall sizes along the way. It is possible to change the wheel and tire sizes, but a general rule of thumb is to keep the total diameter of the wheel and tire the same. Thus if you downsize an 18-inch wheel to a 17-inch wheel, there would need to be a proportionate upsizing of the tire sidewall to compensate.
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 Chevrolet Tahoe’s 18-inch wheels come with P265/65R18 112T touring tires:
Now that it’s understood what might come on a new Tahoe and how to read the size numbers on its tires, 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
Inside the driver’s door on your Tahoe is a yellow and white sticker with a black grid. That grid will show the tire requirements for the SUV, including sizes, recommended inflations in PSI, etc. The same information will be found in the Tahoe’s owner’s manual. Note that the pressure on the tire itself is never the correct setting, but rather a maximum.
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. A two-wheel drive car may not require tire rotations as often as a four-wheel drive will. Check your owner’s manual if you’re using OEM tires and check the tire manufacturer’s recommendations otherwise.
Your Chevrolet Tahoe should have come equipped with a spare tire and changing tools. This means 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. Upgrading the jack to something larger may also be a good idea.
Several online retailers like Tire Rack offer regular discounts and free shipping for their tires. Their sites also have tire fit guides and pricing estimators to help you understand what you’re buying.
Most online tire retailers have free shipping or reduced shipping cost when you choose to have them installed at a partner shop. The retailer may have an arrangement with a local tire chain or installation center and can ship the tires there for free.
Retailers like Tire Rack offer fast shipping and can often have tires to your preferred installer in as little as two days. Many others, like Discount Tire Direct, offer the same fast and free shipping. It also depends on where you live. If you’re in a large metro area, close to a distribution center, it should be relatively quick. If you live 5 miles from East Moosejaw, it might take a little longer.
Some shops will offer free installation when you purchase tires from them, and online retailers often promote the same deal for people who choose to have installation done at one of their partners. If you do find yourself paying for tire installation, expect to pay between $15 and $50 per tire, depending on what is needed. That money pays for mounting and balancing the tire to ensure a safe and comfortable ride.
The tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) is independent of your tires but should be checked at regular intervals to ensure no damage or malfunctions are occurring. Your local tire shop can perform this check as part of normal tire rotation or installation.
Yes! You can find the right fit, tread pattern, and speed rating on nearly any online retailer’s site. They sometimes offer specials and rebates around the time when people start looking for winter tires (late fall).
It’s certainly not a requirement to buy your tires and wheels from the same place, but you’re more likely to get a deal on the package if you buy from the same place. Check the retailer’s specials and decide from there. You may also find a better deal ordering either the tires or wheels online and buying the other component from your local shop.
Yes, and in some cases, rebates are offered alongside discounts on the tires. It’s important to ask questions and understand what you’re getting, so be sure to chat or call the retailer before ordering if the rebates are unclear.
Ordering your tires online vs. the shop will save you money