Only in 2016, over 30 people were killed in the UK because of their vehicle’s tyres. Yet, the majority of incidents and collisions related to faulty, old, or underinflated tires could be prevented. And, it all starts when you are buying the tyres!
The best alternative is always to get in touch with an expert tyre management company to find the right type of tyres for your car. While nothing can replace the guidance that an expert can offer you, in the sections below, you can find an overview of what you need to know when buying new tyres for your car. Or, get in touch with D&R Tyres today and speak directly to one of our experts.
Understanding the Numbers
The first – and often most confusing – aspect to look into is the series of numbers or code displayed on the tyre. Every tyre in the UK has a code printed on its side, and you will always find a standard format across all UK tyres.
An example of this would be: 195/55/R/16/91/H
When breaking down this number, your will find:
195 – the first set of numbers refers to the tyre width, calculated in millimetres
55 – the second set of numbers is the aspect ratio or the ratio between the height and the width of the tyre
R – the first letter refers to the tyres’ construction. R stands for radial, which describes that the polyester cords that compose the tyre are arranged across the tyre width, so they are perpendicular to the tread and give the tyre increased resistance.
16 – the third set of numbers refers to the wheel rim width
91 – the last set of numbers refers to the load rating, which corresponds to a specific weight load that the tyre can carry
H – the last letter in the code represents the tyre’s speed rating or the maximum speed at which you can use those tyres. In this case, H refers to a maximum speed of 130mph.
Price and Quality
Understanding the numbers on the tyre is an important first step. However, once you are clear on what the different letters and numbers mean, you should look into the quality of your new tyres. Indeed, not all of them are as suitable for a certain type of driving. Here’s an overview of the three categories.
Budget tyres are usually the most affordable ones, but they might not last as long as high-quality tyres. For example, these tyres might be able to withstand around 7,000 to 8,000 miles before they need changing. Generally, they are suitable for drivers who only cover a limited mileage per year.
Mid-range tyres are among the most popular for everyday drivers or commuters. They offer an excellent balance between quality and price. While you might not be able to get premium tyres for a mid-range price point, you can enjoy the latest tyre technology and enjoy a comfortable driving experience for over 10,000 miles. Some of the best manufacturers of mid-range tyres include Firestone and Yokohama.
High quality or premium tyres, such as the ones produced by manufacturers such as Pirelli, Michelin, Goodyear, Continental, and Bridgestone, can be more expensive but last for over 20,000 miles. These tyres are usually the ones that boast all the latest technologies and developments, and they guarantee you unparalleled driving experience, high safety levels, and reduced rolling resistance. Overall, these tyres can increase your car’s fuel efficiency and refine your vehicle’s responsiveness.
Tyres should be changed according to the season. Ideally, you should have winter and summer tyres, which you can change depending on the season. However, depending on the climate in your area, you might also be able to benefit from all-season tyres.
Winter tyres are designed to increase your vehicle’s safety and driving performance in snow or icy conditions. In certain parts of the UK, including northern England and Scotland, you should change your tyres to the winter models at the end of autumn. However, in the rest of the UK, many drivers decide not to switch their tyres because these conditions are unlikely.
Summer tyres perform best on roads that are wet or dry but in temperatures above 7°C. This is because summer tyres are made from a softer material designed to improve fuel economy by reducing tyre resistance.
All-season tyres are the ideal choice for many UK drivers, especially those that travel in winter but don’t want to switch tyres between the seasons. All-season tyres are made of a material that allows them to reduce aquaplaning on wet roads, withstand temperatures lower than 7°C, and avoid hardening in cold conditions.