Your tyres are the sole point of contact between your car and the road. At any one point there are just four small areas of rubber, each about the size of a saucer, keeping you from swerving off the road. This is why it is imperative your tyres are in good condition and the first step in ensuring this is the case is by buying quality new tyres.
For new motorists, or those who have never had the pleasure of replacing their tyres before, investing in a new set can be a daunting task. Things such as the tyre’s aspect ratio, load rating and rim diameter all need to be considered and can leave the inexperienced feeling confused. At the end of the day, buying new tyres is all about ensuring quality and value for money. This guide will show you how.
Before you take a trip to your local garage or contact a mobile tyre fitter you should work out the size of tyre you require. This can be found in your car’s manual. It will look something like this:
190/50 R15 95H
The first number refers to the section width, which is literally the width of the tyre in millimetres.
The second is the aspect ratio, also known as the profile, which is the width to height ratio of the tyre, given as a percentage. Low aspect ratios tend to give tighter handling and a firmer rider, whilst higher aspect ratio tyres are cheaper and less noisy on the road.
The next number, which is preceded by an ‘R’, details the diameter in inches of the rim onto which the tyre is designed to fit.
The load rating can be found next, and describes the maximum load each tyre can support in kilograms. In some situations a load index is given, rather than the actual load rating. The lowest load index is 0 and is equivalent to a load rating of 45kg. Check a load index chart to convert between the two.
Finally, the speed rating is detailed by the final letter. It describes the maximum speed the tyres can be driven at whilst supporting a load detailed in the load rating.
The minimum legal requirement for the tread on a car is 1.6mm, although this won’t come into consideration when buying brand new tyres. However, you should expect a new set to come with around 8mm of tread if they are to last you any reasonable length of time.
The tread pattern of each of your tyres should match and be in line with the manufacturers recommendations. These can be found in your manual. Going against this advice can lead to a noisier drive and faster tyre wear.
The traditional method of getting new tyres is to take your car to a local garage, select a set and have them replaced during the day or whilst you wait. This typically means you get to take a look at the new tyres, ask the advice of the technicians and have some form of guarantee on the new product.
On the other hand, it can be a pain to take your car to the garage and have to potentially leave it there for part of the day. This is where mobile tyre fitting companies are great. These companies bring the tyres to you; simply ring up and book online for a convenient time and let them do the rest. If you are local to Oxford search ‘mobile tyre fitting Oxfordshire ’ to find your nearest firm.
Tyres can loosely be grouped into three categories: premium, mid-range and budget. Premium tyres last for up to 20,000 miles under normal usage and have superior stopping distances, fuel economy and handling. They are also the quietest to drive on the road. Unfortunately, they are also the most expensive.
As you might imagine, mid-range tyres are cheaper but of slightly lower quality and you could expect to get up to around 14,000 miles out of a decent pair. At the bottom end, budget tyres are certainly the cheapest although you might only get 8,000 miles out of a set. They are also difficult to drive on in wet and slippery conditions.