How Research and Development helps you to stop safely

contidrom research and development centre

When it comes to putting money aside, we all know it’s more pleasurable to do so when it’s for something we really, really want – a dream holiday perhaps, or maybe the latest electronic device. At Asda Tyres we know from many years’ experience that most people don’t set aside money for replacing their tyres. Who wants to think about that?!


Aside from not being the most pleasurable financial experience, buyers also have to negotiate the often huge array of tyre choices, the many different price points, the endless list of benefits and – worse than anything – the technical jargon that is, frankly, often very bewildering.


We feel your pain. It’s why in this article we focus on one very important aspect of the tyre buying decision process – budget vs premium tyres – including why the latter are undoubtedly the best car tyres and a better choice, and why there’s such a price difference between them.


Tyres quality is all down to research and development


Let’s face it, we all know that premium tyre brands are more expensive than budget brands, no argument. So the first question we want to answer is why?


The answer is financial investment. Major tyre manufacturers continually invest millions into research and development, year after year. They’re always innovating to keep up with the ever increasing rate of change that’s taking place with new vehicle development, including not just driving performance but driver safety too. With many of the major automotive manufacturers now committing to the development of autonomous vehicles, R&D expenditure into tyre development will only go higher.


Take highly regarded premium tyre manufacturer Continental. They have test sites all over the world where each year over 140,000 tyres are tested, driven a total distance of around 125 million miles! Before any of their new tyres goes on sale its prototype forerunners have been through an exhaustive process that involves over 67,000 separate tests.


What does all this testing really mean?


Faced with a difference in price for a purchase you didn’t necessarily want to make in the first place, this is a very important question…


Premium tyres are safer – period


While budget tyres are fine, compared to premium tyres they’re not as good. Consider this; your tyres are the only contact your car has with the road. And while your vehicle may have all the latest safety features, this won’t necessarily help you if your tyres can’t cope when you need to brake suddenly and come to a safe, controlled stop. However well budgets may perform, premium tyres will always do it quicker, safer and better.


Throughout any rigorous R&D progamme, tyre makers like Continental precisely fine-tune their rubber compound formulations, tyre tread patterns and tyre structures for every vehicle type they manufacture tyres for. No two tyres development programmes are the same, since different vehicles have different driving characteristics, and so their tyres need to be developed specifically for their end use, as well as the ever changing British weather.


research and development stopping distances


And the result of all this experience and expertise? Simple. Vehicles achieve superior grip in wet weather conditions, and brake faster when they need to the most. Unfortunately budget tyres – which do not benefit from the same level of R&D investment – can take as much as 14 metres longer to stop in the wet (from a speed of 50mph) when compared to a premium tyre, like the ContiPremiumContact 5.


The smaller investment in budget tyre R&D results in a typically lower-grade rubber compound, the result of which is longer stopping distances. Think about that fact, particularly in a high-speed motorway scenario… You may already have experienced what can happen in 14 metres if you can’t stop.


AIBA – the home of tyre safety


At Continental’s AIBA (Automated Indoor Braking Analyser) dedicated tyre testing facility, tyre safety testing is taken to a whole new level. In a fully automated process, a wide variety of test vehicles are accelerated to speeds of 75 mph in the “Contidrom”, based in Hanover, Germany. Here, braking performance is tested over and over again on interchangeable road surfaces, and in different weather conditions, like black ice. Testing takes place throughout the year and the real-time results define Continental’s product development, all in an on-going quest to provide the ultimate driver safety. It’s part of Continental’s Vision Zero safety initiative, their drive to ultimately reduce driving accidents, injuries and fatalities to zero.


aiba contidrom external


aiba contidrom internal medium


aiba contidrom internal close


Not just saving lives, saving you money too


While it’s true that in the beginning you’ll pay more for premium tyres that have been developed in this way, it’s important to consider the significant safety benefits –markedly superior stopping distances and performance in wet weather conditions – which premium tyres offer.


And that’s not all. Over time there’s are also the financial benefits. With premium tyres, typically the rate of tyre wear is – thanks to research and development process resulting in better tyre compounds – much, much slower, when compared to budget tyres. And who wants the hassle of having to keep buying budgets?


aiba wet track


Says who? Says Which?, the highly regarded consumer testing publication. Their tyre tests – which were based on 12,000 miles driven annually – demonstrated that budget tyres only last for two years. Premium tyres by comparison tend to last for five years. In the long run, budgets end up costing you more, without the superior characteristics you get with premium tyres.


Furthermore, premium tyres are also designed to reduce “rolling resistance” (friction). The Which? tests also showed that lower rolling resistance results in your car typically using around 80 litres a year less fuel, and that’s not to be sniffed at! Turns out premium tyres not only save you money, they help you to reduce your CO2 emissions too. How good is that?!


Speak to Asda Tyres for expert tyre advice


Ultimately, your choice of tyre will depend on the type of car you have, and how often, where and how you drive it, as well as many other factors. With this in mind it makes sense to speak with a tyre professional if you’re unsure. Asda Tyres can offer you impartial, expert advice. Click here to live chat to one of our experts, or find you nearest fitting station.

  • How Research and Development helps you to stop safely
  • How Research and Development helps you to stop safely

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