An important part of vehicle maintenance that every driver has to face is changing their car tyres. Your entire driving experience can be determined by the tyres you choose; tyres affect how well your car handles, the speed at which you can drive, and the conditions in which you can drive.
But most importantly, they influence the safety of your car. The best tyre is not a standard one-size-fits-all item. It relies on your personal style of driving. You are the best judge which tyres will be most suitable for your own requirements, and you can use these seven criteria to help you on your path to discovering the best replacement tyres for your vehicle.
Everything You Need To Know About Choosing Car Tyres
1. Tyre Width
You’ll be able to locate the width of your tyres by looking at the ones that are already on your vehicle. If they’re not too worn, you should be able to see the first three digits of your tire label which is where the width of your tyre is shown. A P197/40/R15/V tyre, for example, would be 197 millimetres wide. For grip, tyre width is essential; a wider tyre has more road contact, so it’s better on wet roads. To provide grip, a narrower tyre is less useful, but the smaller contact area makes less noise while driving. All-weather performance or comfort for driving: it’s up to you.
2. Tyre Profile
The tyre profile is another factor closely related to the tyre width. This is the sidewall’s thickness, as a percentage of the width of your tyre. Your tyre profile can be found on the label as well. If P197/40/R15/V is your tyre label, your tyre profile is 40. For more protection, and for a more comfortable drive as well as longer-lasting wheels, you should get a high profile tyre (above 50). On the other hand, a low-profile tyre is more prone to damage, but it is considered that the narrower sidewalls are better-looking and provide better steering performance.
3. Tyre Size
It is vital that you get tyres that are the right size for your car for safety reasons. Things that do not fit properly can cause additional heel stress or even come off while driving, causing accidents on the road. Your tyre size is represented by the two digits that appear after the letter “R” on your tyre label. In the P197/40/R15/V, for instance, the tyre size is R15.
4. Speed Rating
The last letter on your tyre label is your speed rating, so if the label on your tyre is P197/40R15/V, the V character is your speed rating. In the speed chart below, this letter corresponds to a certain speed. A higher speed rating generally means better grip and stopping power, but less durable treads as well. If you are planning to drive fast, it might be worth it to get higher-speed tyres and change them more frequently.
Q – 160 km/h
S – 180 km/h
T – 190 km/h
U – 200 km/h
H – 210 km/h
V – 240 km/h
W – 270 km/h
Y – 300 km/h
(Y) – Above 300 km/h
5. Tread Pattern
Symmetrical, directional and asymmetrical, there are three potential tyre tread patterns.
The most common form is symmetrical: narrow treads arranged in a wave pattern. For a quiet performance, these tyres are best, but perform less well in the rain, as the design is not appropriate for water dispersion.
You will need a directional tread for top rain performance-treads in a wide V-shape, designed to only rotate in one direction. These tyres are much better at dispersing water and have better road grip due to the broader design. However, when compared to symmetrical tyres, this design also makes them much noisier, which can be irritating while driving.
These treads are designed with half the surface suitable for both driving in the rain and also for noise reduction, so you can have the best of both worlds. An asymmetrical tread can help with both concerns. They do tend to be more costly, so it’s up to you whether it’s worth the extra cost.
Do you need a tyre for good wet weather performance or a quiet drive? The correct tread pattern for you depends on your driving needs and habits.
6. Tyre Age
Even when stored, the rubber can soften over time. Tyres don’t have to be worn out on the road to deteriorate or become unroadworthy. You definitely shouldn’t buy tyres that are more than six years old in order to be on the safe side. You’ll be able to find the date they were manufactured in the last four digits of the DOT code on the tyre sidewall. For example, in the 32nd week of 2010, it would show “3210” this is the date the tyre was manufactured. To make sure you’re buying safe tyres, check your production dates!
7. Manufacturer’s Warranty
Normally, manufacturers offer a guarantee for their tyres. There is often a long list of damages that are not covered, the warranty on tyres can be quite limited. For their warranty, various manufacturers often give different time periods. Ensure you look at the warranty too, especially while choosing your tyre brand, so you can choose a brand that offers you good coverage.
8. Winter Tyres
Winter tyres sound pretty self explanatory. The name kind of gives it away. If you’re thinking about travelling during the winter months, especially in Europe then you should know that winter tyres are required by law during certain months of the year in certain countries. At temperatures below 7°C it’s imperative to have winter tyres to ensure you and your passengers remain safe on the road.
If you live in areas prone to heavy snowfall or are thinking about visiting a winter holiday destination in Europe then you might also want to consider getting yourself some snow chains and making sure you have a spare wheel or emergency puncture repair kit / inflation kit in case you get stuck or stranded because of a tyre failure.
9. Dual Climate Tyres
If you just want one set of tyres and you don’t want the hassle of switching in summer and winter then dual climate tyres are probably the better option for you. They’re perfectly suited to all months of the year and can be used like winter tyres in the winter and summer tyres in the summer months. Michelin’s CrossClimate tyres are probably the most highly rated on the market – they performed best in wet weather which is a comfort if you happen to drive a lot in wet old England, Scotland and Wales where they would be extremely welcome!
We hope you found this post on what you need to consider when choosing replacement tyres for your car. Take a look at around the rest of our site or check out our other blogs to learn more about car tyres, space savers, spare wheel kits, puncture kits for tyres and more.