Which tyres should I get for my car?
There are thousands of tyre options available so how do you know which ones are right for your car? It’s a daunting task, but don’t worry! We’ve got some great tips to help find your new tyres.
Ideally you’d change all your tyres at once, but they do wear differently depending on where they’re placed. Check your tyres regularly as part of your maintenance routine and you’ll be able to identify when you need new tyres.
Bear in mind that the legal minimum for a tyre’s tread depth
is 1.6mm. If you’re approaching this, it’s time to start tyre shopping!
If you find any lumps or bulges, take your car for an inspection at your local garage – they’ll tell you if you need new tyres or not. If you have a puncture, chances are it will need replacing, but a garage will be able to advise you on the best course of action. Tyre problems are a leading cause of break-downs, so it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on yours.
Tyre size is probably the most important thing when it comes to selecting your new tyres. Choose wrong and your car won’t drive properly!
Find out your car’s tyre size by looking on the wall of your tyre or in your vehicle’s handbook. It should look something like this:
185/65 R14 85H
At the moment it looks like a jumble of numbers and letters, but we’ve provided a translation below:
• 185: the width of the tyre in millimetres
• /65: the aspect ratio. Width to height (as a percentage)
• R14: the rim diameter (in inches)
• 85: the load rating – how much the tyre can support on its own
• H: the speed rating – how fast the tyre can go
Select the right size tyre and you’ll have a safe and comfortable ride. Certain cars, vans, 4x4s and camper vans require specific tyres, so make sure you adhere to your car manual.
Quality vs price
Tyres can be an expensive investment, and like most things, with more expense comes a higher quality. The better quality tyres will last more miles and give you a better driving experience, but all tyres on sale in the UK will meet strict safety standards and be road-worthy.
Premium tyres last between 15,000 and 20,000 miles under normal usage. As the name suggests, the premium tyres are the highest quality with improved stopping distances, fuel economy, grip and a lower noise level.
The mid-range tyres are not as well-known as the premium, but share a lot of the same tech. These tend to be great value for money, and, depending on the type of driving you do, they can have a long life span.
In the summer, budget tyres will perform as well as premium tyres, but do not perform well in wet or wintry conditions. These will last for approximately half the life of a premium tyre (between 7,000 and 8,000 miles).
These are a relatively new innovation, designed to maintain the car’s mobility if it has a puncture thanks to having thicker sidewalls. These tyres allow for safe and convenient stopping so that you can get the tyre repaired. However, to install run-flat tyres, your car must have been designed to incorporate them.
Most UK drivers keep summer tyres on all year with no trouble, but it is possible to buy all-season tyres instead. You might want to consider this if your summer tyres aren’t working too well on wet or wintry roads.
All-season tyres were developed for countries with moderate climates characterised by wet and light winters – ideal for the UK. They’ll work better than summer tyres in winter, and winter in summer, but they will not be as good as the tyres designed for that season.
The bonus of all-season tyres is that you would not have to change tyres half way through the year and you would save money instead of having an extra set sitting in your garage.
Winter tyres do not harden at low temperatures, so they provide a much firmer grip on the road during cold and icy months. They don’t stop as quickly as summer tyres in the summer, but you are better off with using winter tyres all year round as the stopping distance is much further when using summer tyres in winter.