Buying car tyres may sound simple, right? Everyone that drives a car has to do it at some point in their lives, and there’s plenty of information in your manufacturer’s handbook to help you along. However, you’d be surprised at the major details that are missed by many when they get to the garage. Having the right set of tyres is crucial, both for your safety and for the overall performance of your vehicle. They’re the foundation of your car and the only thing keeping it on the road. You could rely on the mechanic or tyre technician to aid you, but it’s always best to learn yourself.
According to AutoTrader, poor tyre maintenance was the most common reason for car accidents in Britain in 2017. Issues included low pressure, tyre tread problems and general damage to the tyre itself. In order to improve road safety, people must be educated. What better place to start than the initial buying process.
1) Size of Your Tyres
In the tyre industry, size really does matter. In fact, it matters so much that your vehicle won’t be able to function correctly without the right tyre size. The manufacturer of your vehicle deliberately chooses the tyre size and builds the performance around that tyre, so handling and performance is adversely affected if the incorrect tyre is installed. But where do you find this information?
Your first port of call should be your manufacturer’s handbook, as that should have all the details you’re looking for. Some people don’t have access to this though, so what then? There are plenty of useful resources online, and ASDA Tyres will even tell you the recommended tyre sizes if you put your number plate in. You can also look at your existing tyres, as the size is marked on the sidewall. We’ve got an in-depth guide to reading your tyres here, should you need it.
2) Speed Rating
Tyres are given a speed rating that defines how fast they can go before performance is affected. It’s usually located on the sidewall of the tyre, with a typical rating between H-V. (There are other ratings too, but they are usually for specific vehicle types.) The rating differs depending on the type of tyre that you’re buying.
Ideally, you should purchase a tyre within the speed rating that’s defined in your manual. High-performance tyres tend to sacrifice usability in icy and snowy conditions, but they more than make up for it during dry and wet weather. This generally changes the speed rating. It’s important to note that the more performance-focused the tyre is, the shorter the lifespan of the tyre will be. More details on the speed rating can be found here.
3) Check Those Labels
Labels are mandatory on all tyres that are sold in the EU, and they’re intended to provide guidance about your potential purchase. However, it might surprise you that many people ignore them altogether! They consist of 3 main elements that you should read before purchasing:
This is graded from A-G. As you can imagine, A is the most fuel-efficient rating, whereas G is the least. If you’re a driver that has to travel, you’ll want to aim for something within the A-C range. According to FleetNews, the difference in savings/cost between the A-G rating is 7.5%. This could result in savings of £110 per tyre lifespan.
Grip When Wet
To make things easier, this is also rated on the A-G range. It defines how well the tyres perform when you brake in wet weather, or when there is water on the road. There’s a drastic difference between A and G rated tyres, as the stopping distance can increase to nearly 5 car lengths.
Labels also display information on the noise that a tyre produces on the road. It’s important to note that the rating refers to the exterior noise that the tyres make, and winter tyres tend to have a higher rating due to the way they’re made. While this rating isn’t as important as the others, it could affect the overall quality and comfort of your journey.
4) Tyre Types
It’s important to choose the right set of tyres for the climate that you’re currently in. You’ll also need to match your driving style. Tyres are generally split by summer, winter and all-season, which makes it easy to choose which one you need. However, there can be elements of confusion, especially when it comes to changing tyres for different seasons.
It’s best to choose tyres from a trusted manufacturer, such as Dunlop. They provide summer tyres, such as the Sportmaxx, which provide a great balance between fuel economy and grip during wet conditions. If you need a winter alternative, they have several options that may suit your car. It is best to do your research first, and we have details on each tyre type here.
5) Mixing and Matching
We’d always advise that you buy 4 tyres of the same make at a time. This makes the drive consistent, as the tyres work together to maintain performance. In practice, you could reduce the car’s grip on the road with mismatched tyres. It can also worsen handling too, as the tyres perform differently even though they’re on the same car.
If you have to mismatch your tyres, whether due to the financial cost or purely for convenience, we’d recommend putting them on in pairs. If each axle has the same tyres on, it goes some way to alleviate reductions in performance. It’s not the end of the world if you need to mismatch your tyres, but it’s always best if you buy them in sets of 4.
Once you feel confident about the tyre buying process, you can browse the range on ASDA Tyres to find your favourite. Simply search your number plate and confirm your tyre size to see tyres that suit your vehicle. Fitting is included in the cost, or you can get them delivered to your home address and fit them yourself. The choice is yours!