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Choosing your car tyres

calendar Published on: Wednesday, 16th January 2019 | female icon Author: Aminta Gagnon

Buying car tyres is probably not the most exciting purchase you’ll make this year. However, tyres are crucial for the safety of your car so it is important to choose the right ones for your vehicle and driving style. With a large selection of brands and tyres available, the choice can sometimes be overwhelming. For this reason, we have created this simple checklist to help you select the right tyre for you.

What do I need to know about my tyres?

Before you buy tyres, you will need to know the measurements of your car tyres to ensure that they fit. You can find this information on the sidewall of your tyre. You should see something that looks like this: 165/65T14. This number shows you the tyre’s width, ratio, speed rating and finally rim size. It is recommended that you don’t fit tyres with a lower load index or speed rating than the manufacturer’s specification. If you’re ordering online, our website will find the recommended tyre size for your vehicle when you input your number plate. However, it is worth checking this against your tyres to make sure that they match up.

Your driving habits

When choosing your tyres, it is important to take into account your driving style, requirements and where you do most of your driving. There’s not one perfect tyre that suits every driver. In the UK for example, it is important to take into account the ‘wet grip’ element of the tyre label due to the rainy climate. It is also worth considering your vehicle type and choosing tyres that are recommended for that specific vehicle type. Whether you often drive on motorways or in the city can also have an impact on which tyres you should choose. Taking these factors into account will enable you to ensure that you choose tyres that suit your lifestyle and vehicle. Your budget will of course also play a significant role in choosing your tyres. Premium tyres perform better in independent tyre testing so it is important to do your research and not simply select the cheapest option.

Understanding tyre energy labels

These labels can be a useful tool to compare different tyre options. Tyre suppliers have to provide this information to help the consumer decide which tyres are most economical. The three categories on these labels are fuel efficiency, wet grip and noise. Fuel efficiency measures the tyre’s rolling resistance. Tyres with a lower rolling resistance provide better fuel economy. Look out for high energy ratings for the most fuel efficient tyres. The wet grip rating measures the tyre’s braking performance in wet weather conditions. The tyres are graded from A to G with A grade tyres offering shorter stopping distances. The final aspect of the tyre label is noise. This refers to the noise a tyre makes on impact with the road. The noisiest tyres have three black sound waves whilst the quietest tyres have only one. Quieter tyres mean less cabin noise and a more comfortable driving experience.

Should I choose run flat tyres?

A run flat tyre has reinforced sidewalls for example when you suffer a tyre puncture. Usually a run flat tyre can run for 50 miles at 50 mph but should be inspected by a professional as soon as possible. These tyres prevent the need for a tricky roadside tyre change by enabling the car to be driven to a safer location where the tyre can be changed more easily.

Looking after your new tyres

Before you get tyres fitted, you should have your car checked. Issues with your car such as you’re your brakes or alignment can cause damage to your new tyres. It is important to get these issues fixed to get the most out of your tyres. Regularly checking your tyres will ensure that they remain in good condition. There are three important routine checks that you should carry out regularly to ensure that your tyres are in the best possible condition. Firstly, maintaining the correct tyre pressure is crucial for vehicle safety. Tyres that aren’t inflated to the correct pressure won’t grip the road as they should which makes it harder to control your vehicle. Not only are under or over inflated tyres a safety risk but also these issues can cause your tyres to wear unevenly and prematurely. If you’re unsure about the right pressures for your vehicle, you can find them in the vehicle handbook or on the inside of the driver’s door.

You should also inspect your tyres for signs of external damage such as cuts and bulges which can be cause if you hit the kerb or other objects. These external signs are easy to spot by checking yourself and should be checked out before they impact on your vehicle’s driving capabilities.

It is also important to check your tread depth regularly to make sure that your tyres are safe. The UK legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm. However, tread depth under 3mm can reduce your vehicle’s braking ability. A simple test you can do to check your tread depth is the 20p test. Place a 20p coin inside the main groove of your tyre. If you can see the outer edge of the coin then your tyres might be approaching 1.6mm.

Ask a professional

If you’re unsure about which tyres are best suited to your vehicle and requirements, simply pop into your local Tyre City or you can browse our range of tyres online.