The tyres on our car are often the least considered feature, but they are actually one of the most vital parts of any vehicle. Your safety, fuel economy and braking efficiency all rely on having the right tyres on your car.
So when it comes to replacing them, the decision is a critical one and many drivers will take the easy route and simply choose the previous make and type fitted to their car. This might be the right decision, but it could be that for the particular driving conditions that you face, or with new developments in tyre design, there are better choices available to you.
You can get advice from your local dealer or tyre fitting business, but sometimes they may not be offering the best make for your requirements. Budget, of course, also comes into it – and tyres conform to that old adage that it’s often wise to spend money to save money. Some of the more expensive makes on the market might also offer much greater longevity, working out more economical in the long run.
Safety, efficiency and economy are all good reasons for informing yourself about the right tyres for your car. Allianz Your Cover (www.yourcoverinsurance.co.uk) provides you with some tips on how to choose the right tyres for your car:
- Get to know the new labeling that is now compulsory on all tyres under a recent EU ruling. Tyre manufacturers now have to display performance grades on fuel efficiency, wet braking and external noise levels so that the consumer can compare different makes. But trying to interpret the string of numbers and symbols on the side wall of a tyre can present a confusing challenge for the average motorist. The key information that you need is tyre size and dimension, maximum load bearing ability, the maximum speed that you should run the tyre at, and winter markings – (if a tyre is specifically designed to operate in snow and mud). There are useful guides to the range of symbols on most major manufacturer’s websites.
- Given the level of rainfall in the UK it’s a good idea to research wet weather performance. Look at tyre tread patterns and grooves, and research what the manufacturers say about the ability of the tyre to operate safely in very wet conditions. It’s almost impossible to entirely prevent aquaplaning when driving in extreme weather, but because of their “anti-surf” tread design some tyres do a more effective job in sluicing away the water than others.
- Stick to the right tyre size and dimension for your car – mixing tyres can be dangerous at worst, and at best lead to quicker wear. If you have a 4×4 most manufacturers will strongly recommend you to use the same tyres on all four wheels – both make and size (unless your front and rear wheel sizes are different, of course)
- Match your choice of tyres to your usage. If most of your driving takes place in an urban environment, with lots of stop/starts, you will need to look for the tyres with the best braking distances and low rolling resistance to save fuel. If your job takes you on long motorway journeys then you’ll need tyres that provide the best braking distances in both wet and dry conditions which are designed to be safe at higher speeds, and that offer comfort in noise levels and vibration. Tyre noise over a long period can be a major cause of driver fatigue.