Just like paying a visit to the dentist, most of us only think about our tyres when it’s too late, that is when they have failed and need replacing. It’s only when we walk into a tyre showroom that we realize there are literally hundreds of brands and models to choose from.
They’re all round, black, with various markings on them, so how do you make the right choice?
To help make the selection process easier, we’ve put together a list of questions every car owner should ask when buying tyres.
1.Will it fit my car?
The most important thing to remember when shopping for new tyres is to buy ones that are suitable for your vehicle. Make sure the one you choose is the same size as the original tyre fitted to your car. If you’re in doubt about the size, consult your car owner’s manual. Your tyre specifications can sometimes be found on a sticker either under the bonnet or on one of the doorsills. If you have a brand new car with original tyres, then you can simply read the marking on the side (sidewall) of your tyres.
An example of a sidewall marking would be: P215/65R15. P indicates the tyre’s purpose, in this case for Passenger cars. The next three digits that follow it, 215, is the tyre’s width in millimeters. Then, the two-digit number, 65, refers to the tyre’s aspect ratio or the ratio of the height to the width. Next, a letter, R, indicates radial construction. Lastly, another two-digit number, 15, is the internal diameter in inches, or the diameter of the wheel the tyre is intended to fit.
Remember to check the front and the rear tyres because some cars are of staggered fitment meaning the front and rear tyres are different sizes.
2.Will it perform well in various climatic conditions?
The tyres you choose must be able to handle a variety of climatic conditions, whether it be rain, snow, ice, or simply dry weather, as these can affect their performance. Wet weather tyres are naturally optimised for grip whereas dry tyres are optimised for speed and milege. This is the reason why all-season tyres are a popular choice among car owners as they provide a safe driving experience all year round. It’s important to note though that all-season tyres can’t be expected to be as good as specialist tyres because of the compromises made when it comes to the opposite ends of the weather scale.
3.Will it suit my driving condition?
Different driving styles and usage require different tyre characteristics. For instance when it comes to city driving, it’s ideal that you select tyres that feature optimum braking distance, increased longevity, and low rolling resistance.
If you drive your vehicle in a sporty manner, consider looking for a tyre that offers excellent grip, steering precision and good stability. For driving on main roads or motorways, tyres that offer low vibration and noise level, excellent stability and grip, and optimum braking distance are your best bet.
4.How much can I afford?
Just like everything else, a wide range of tyres is available to suit different budgets. Tyres from leading brands such as Michelin and Continental usually carry a premium price; while lesser-known brands can offer better prices in return for lesser quality. The saying “you get what you pay for” holds true for tyre shopping, and because tyres are such critical components that contribute to the safety of your ride, it is recommended that you get the best tyres that you can afford. Just like the Goodyear slogan “If it only saves you once a year…” Of course, it helps to compare prices so you can find the best deals.
Tyres may not be something that you want to think about on a daily basis; however, they are critical to your vehicle’s safety and performance. So it’s important, when it does come time to replace your big round rubber donuts, that you spend some time to really think about what tyres you need in order to pick the right type for your car.