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What to Consider When Buying a New Tyre

Here are our top tips to help you buy the right tyre

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Top Tips For Buying the Right Tyre

While tyres might look like they are just black, round and made of rubber, there are a surprising number of things to consider when purchasing a new tyre.

Your tyres are the only thing between your vehicle and the road, and they have a massive impact on your vehicle's performance, from stopping distance to handling on wet roads.

The TyresOnTheDrive team has put together this handy guide on the factors to consider when purchasing your new tyres.

1. Always double check the size, speed and load rating of your tyre

Your tyre size probably isn't one of those things you've memorised, but luckily, if you’re after a quick quote to compare our prices, we have a vehicle registration checker linked to the DVLA that allows us to access your vehicle details, including tyre size.

Simply enter your vehicle's registration and you'll be offered a range of suitable tyre sizes. However, not all of these will be an exact match for your tyres as they might have been modified since leaving the dealership. As such, we always advise our customers to double check their tyre size on the side wall of the tyre before confirming any booking.

2. Tyres come in two by two

There are lots of reasons to have your tyres fitted in pairs, from balance and stability to even wear, and at TyresOnTheDrive we think it’s so important that we offer FREE mobile tyre fitting on two or more tyres. Amazing, right?!

You’ll notice when you order your new tyres that if you change the quantity from 1 to 2 or more, the charge for mobile fitting disappears in the basket. Magic!

So apart from the cost (which is always a bonus) why fit tyres in pairs?

The front two tyres are fitted to the same axel on your car, as are the rear pair. It’s a little like a seesaw – if you have a worn tyre with 4mm tread on one side, and a new tyre with 8mm tread on the other, the balance between the tyres won’t be right, leaving you with an uneven, unstable drive.

This could cause you issues while you’re out and about, from an unpredictable drive at best to being uncontrollable in emergency situations at worst.

That’s why it’s also really important to make sure that the tyres on each side of the axel are the same size and brand, with the same tread pattern and ratings. You definitely shouldn’t mix winter and summer tyres either.

So next time you need new tyres, think about fitting them two by two!

3. OE fitment

Most vehicle manufacturers will have worked closely with a premium tyre brand to optimise a tyre for the needs of their vehicles, called Original Equipment, or OE fitment.

More common with premium or high performance brands, an OE tyre will have been finely tuned and matched to a particular vehicle. For example, Jaguar has a specific range of tyres that are marked with a J rating, usually found after the tyre size on the sidewall.

Manufacturers will always recommend that you purchase an OE tyre because of the technology and time spent tailoring the tyre to the needs of a specific vehicle. This is by no means mandatory, but it is worth checking whether your warranty becomes invalid if you purchase a different tyre.

4. Making sense of EU ratings

Since November 2012, it has been compulsory to display the EU tyre ratings on every tyre sold. This labelling demonstrates the tyre's fuel efficiency, wet grip and noise performance, showing the standard of the tyre using a visual grading.

The tyre's fuel efficiency is measured on its rolling resistance (how long it takes for a tyre to spin round to the same point). The longer it takes for it to spin around, the more fuel it takes to power the wheel. As a tyre's rolling resistance is accountable for 20% of fuel consumption, it’s definitely cost-efficient to purchase a higher-rated tyre.

5. Time of year

Are you buying your new tyres in winter or in summer? The significant difference in driving conditions can have a dramatic effect on the handling of your vehicle. In recent years, there has been a huge increase in demand for winter tyres as the public are educated on their benefits.

All-season/summer tyres – a standard, all-season tyre is designed to withstand the heat built up from the friction between the road and the tyre, giving improved grip to the road.

Winter tyres – not just used in extreme weather conditions, winter tyres improve the handling and control of your vehicle in all road conditions below 7 degrees, whether wet, dry or indeed icy. Made using more of a natural rubber compound with a wide groove pattern, a winter tyre stiffens up once the weather reaches below freezing point, giving improved grip on snow.

6. Premium, mid-range or budget?

One of the main factors in the decision-making process is budget. Like most things in life, the phrase 'you get what you pay for' rings true with tyres.

  • Premium – premium brands receive their status because of the knowledge, expertise, money and time invested in optimising a specific tyre for the needs of a specific vehicle. It takes around three years to develop a new tyre type before it hits the shelves as the brand seeks perfection in the balance of ride, handling and road noise.
  • Mid-range – when comparing price, technology and specifications, you’ll find that, as the name suggests, mid-range tyres sit in the middle of the marketplace as they clearly offer more in the way of performance and wear when compared to the budget brands, but benefit from similar technology and performance as the premium-branded tyres, made with materials of a lesser quality to allow for a reduction in price.
  • Budget – tread patterns cannot be patented, so when a premium brand releases a new tyre you tend to find a budget brand will mimic the styling and pattern of the new product, getting through quality control in around three months. So the big difference between premium and budget brands is not in the look of the product, but in the compounds and quality of rubber used, which dramatically affects stopping distances and the overall lifespan of the tyre.

With access to over 55,000 different types of tyre, coupled with a vast knowledge of the tyre industry, our advisors will be able to find the right tyre to suit your needs, your budget and your vehicle. For more help and advice, please call one of our friendly advisors on 0800 433 4717.