With so many different types and makes of tyres out there, it can be quite difficult to choose the best set for your car. On the other hand, the choice you make directly influences the safety of all passengers and the performance of your car, which means you really need to know what you’re buying. To help you select the best possible tyres, we’ve prepared a list of things you need to consider when making a purchase.
Understand the code
Each tyre has a code that may seem confusing if you don’t know what the numbers and letters stand for. Let’s say the tyre has the following code: 17550R1596H. It might be broken down as follows: 175/50/R/16/96/H. The first number (175) denotes the width of the tyre in millimetres, while the second one (50) refers to the aspect ratio, showing the height of the tyre as a percentage of the width.
The letter “R” stands for radial and that is the most common type of tyres nowadays. They are constructed from cords (usually polyester) positioned across the width of the tyre, so at 90 degrees to the direction of the tread. This provides more strength to the tyre in comparison with older tyres, which had cords in a diagonal angle.
Then we get to number 15, which tells you the width of the wheel rim in inches on which the tyre can be fitted. The following number, in this case 96, indicates the load rating, for which you’d need to refer to the load table list to understand. Finally, the letter H denotes the tyre’s speed rating, i.e. the maximum speed at which the tyre is designed to be used.
Types of tyres
Broadly speaking, there are three types of tyres. Summer tyres are designed to perform best at temperatures above 7°C, on both dry and wet surfaces. These tyres are made from a softer compound that provides reduced resistance, i.e. better fuel economy. Winter tyres are best used in cold climates, where temperatures often drop to zero or even lower. You can recognise these tyres by a symbol showing a snowflake within a mountain.
Many people living in areas with a moderate climate, such as in some parts of Australia, don’t switch to winter tyres, because there is no need. They rather opt for reliable cheap tyres in Sydney and simply have them replaced more often. Finally, we have all-season tyres, which are very popular, though they don’t perform so well in the winter. They represent a compromise between summer and winter tyres, which means they also boast a mixture of advantages and disadvantages offered by those two types.
Premium to budget
Once you’ve realised what size and type of tyres you need, you have to decide what model you want to buy. Premium tyres are produced by famous companies, such as Bridgestone, Continental, Goodyear, Michelin and Pirelli and their tyres are supposed to give you at least 30,000 miles. Needless to say, you have to prepared to pay more for such tyres.
If you can’t afford a premium brand and model, you can go for Firestone (owned by Bridgestone), Uniroyal and Yokohama, companies that manufacture cheaper tyres, but you can’t expect their products to last as long as premium ones. Finally, you have budget tyres, which don’t give you a great mileage, but are the most affordable. You should also be aware that the quality of tyre may depend on the type of driving you do. If you drive in heavy traffic regularly, you need to resort to braking a lot, which will result in wear and tear on the tyres. In such situations, budget tyres are not the best solution and you should ideally go for a premium model.
No matter what tyres you opt for, you have to maintain them properly. Make sure they are always properly inflated and check for signs of uneven wear and tear. You can also rotate your tyres periodically, to ensure that wear and tear is even. Manufacturers often recommend you rotate your tyres every six months, but that really depends on whether your car is a front-, rear- or four-wheel drive vehicle.
It’s vital you get the right size and type of tyres, but the actual model you choose depends on how much money you’re ready to invest. A sound piece of advice is to buy the best model you can afford.