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Car Tyres Buying Guide

Every day that you drive your vehicle, you are putting wear and tear on the tyres. Over time, the tread will wear down, and if they aren't replaced, the tyres could be in danger of blowouts from thin walls and sliding or skidding if you need to stop quickly or if you are driving in poor weather conditions. It's important to get into the routine of regularly checking your tyres to ensure they are properly inflated and to check for signs that they may be wearing out.

Many people take a look each time they fill their vehicle with petrol. This is a good habit to get into since you will likely have an easier time remembering to check. When your tyres become worn down, you must remember to replace them for your own safety as well as the safety of other drivers on the road.

Choosing the right tyres can be somewhat confusing if you have never purchased them before. There are different sizes and you do have to know the correct one for your vehicle. You simply can't just purchase whichever tyres you think look the best since they probably won't fit.

Before you even begin shopping, take a look at the ones currently on your vehicle. There is a set of three numbers you need to look for. They will be listed somewhere on the sidewall of the tyre facing out from the vehicle. They will look something like 245/70/16 or P215/65R15 89H. Your goal is to locate the set of three numbers and write them down exactly. They will give you the information you need to purchase your next set of tyres.

Tyre Types and Sizes

So, now you have the numbers. What are you supposed to do with them? They indicate three specific things about the type of tyres your vehicle needs.

  • If there is a letter in front of the first number, it refers to the type of vehicle you have. P would stand for passenger car if you see LT, that stands for light truck and is usually referring to a truck or an SUV.

  • The first number itself refers to the tyre width. In the examples, 245 would translate to 245 mm while 215 would mean your vehicle needs a 215 mm tyre.

  • The second number is an aspect ratio or a percentage. It refers to the height of the tyre's sidewall when compared to the width. In the first example, it means 70% and in the second, 65%.

  • If there is a letter, it stands for the tyre's construction type. In the example, R refers to radial, which is by far, the most common.

  • The next number you see is the wheel diameter of your car. 16 and 15 are 16 and 15 inches respectively.

  • Some tyres may have a speed and load rating, which would be a separate number and letter after the three. In the second example, you see an 89H. You have to find charts to decipher this, but in this example, the 89 means the tyre can support 1,279 pounds and the H means it can handle speeds up to 130 mph or 209 kph.

Specialty Tyres

When you start shopping for tyres, you will find there is much more to decide than just choosing the right size and brand. There are different types of specialty tyres that are built to handle different conditions. They will have varying tread patterns; tread depths, sidewall thicknesses, and other details to make them perform better. You don't have to purchase these specialty tyres since they can run higher in price, but in certain situations, you may wish to consider them.

Some types you may see include:

  • All- Weather

  • Winter

  • High Performance

  • All-Season

  • Rain

  • Performance

  • Touring

To determine if you do need specialty tyres, you have to think about two things: driving style and environment. Obviously, if you never see snow or ice, you don't have to worry about choosing winter tyres. However, if it rains a great deal in your area, it could be a good idea to choose all-weather or rain tyres since they will help you avoid sliding or hydroplaning.

Touring tyres are designed for people who need to make long road trips, either for work or leisure. They are softer and offer a more cushioned ride. Performance and high-performance tyres will be harder, offering less comfort, but they will handle speed better and can get better petrol mileage. They are best used with sports cars and for those who want their vehicles to perform the very best.

Tyre Pricing

A number of factors will go into the cost of tyres, including the size, brand, and specialty features. The price within brands can vary immensely as well since there are many different features of different model tyres. To choose best quality models, you should consider paying a little more for popular brands like Pirelli, Yokohama, Hankook, Goodyear, Toyo, and Falken.

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