Are you planning to have your first tyre replacement but have no idea what to do and where to start? Then you’ve come to the right place because this buying guide to car tyres will help you make the right tyre choice for your car. 

For first-timers, buying tyres can be complicated due to the many sizes and varieties you can choose. It’s not the easy way you thought it is–not just because it’s the brand or size you want means it’s the perfect fit for your vehicle.

Unfortunately, many customers struggle to find the right set of tyres that matches their car’s needs. That’s why it is essential to consider a few things first before buying one to ensure the safety and quality of your ride.

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When to Get New Tyres

There are three significant factors to consider to tell if you need new tyres or not: treadwear, heat exposure, and tire age.

1. Check your tread wear

It’s critical to check the depth of your vehicle’s tyre tread regularly to ensure that your tires grip firmly on the road to avoid any accident. Tyre treads that are worn out can’t withstand extreme weather and cause other parts of your car to wear down more quickly. 

2. Exposure to heat

Excess heat and ultraviolet rays from the sun can damage your tyres’ structure. Temperature change changes your tyre pressure as well. Any extreme weather conditions can badly affect them and their performance. That’s why ensure that you choose the right one appropriate for the climate and season of your place.

3. Tyre age

Generally, many vehicle manufacturers recommend replacing your tyres after six years, some at ten years. It is advised to ask for your manufacturer’s recommendations regarding the expiration of your specific tyres because old tyres are already dangerous to use.

Different Types of Tyres

Most confusion among customers is caused by a wide variety of tyres classified based on material, pattern design, construction, and application. Upon determining that your tyre needs to be changed, your next move is to analyse which type most suits your vehicle.

The following are the most common tyre types:

1. All-Season Tyres

These are the most common 14-18″ tyres, which offer all-year grip and long-lasting use. They typically have speed classifications of S (112mph) and T (118 mph) and can travel 40,000-100,000 miles. 

These tyres are called “all-season” because they blend the characteristics of both summer and winter tyres. These have a tread pattern between a regular summer tyre and a winter tyre, with high silica content for driving in low-temperature areas. 

2. All-Season Performance Tyres

These tyres will give you all-year traction and better handling. Sizes vary from 15 to 20 inches with speed ratings of H (130 mph) and V (149 mph) and mileage of 40,000-80,000.

This type of tyre is intended exclusively for speed fans. They have a more excellent speed rating, more responsive braking, and better handling than all-season tyres.

See also Should You Buy Part-Worn or Secondhand Tyres?

3. Ultra-High-Performance Tyres

UHP tyres are typically 17-22 inches and are found chiefly on high-end luxury and sports cars. Their speed ratings are ZR (above 149 mph), W (168 mph), and Y (186 mph), and they can go about 30,000-60,000 miles. 

These tyres are good with their improved performance, speed, and steering. There are two types of tyres in this category: All-season and Summer UHP.

4. Summer Tyres 

These tyres are made explicitly to perform in warmer weather. They have improved braking performance and increased cornering traction. 

Summer rubber comes in a wide variety and can be mostly seen on cars such as Corvettes, Mustangs, and Porsches. It’s worth noting that most summer tyres are only effective at around 40 degrees Fahrenheit and higher.

5. Winter Tyres

Also known as snow tyres, winter tyres give excellent cornering and braking and provide more improved traction on wet surfaces and snowy conditions. The sizes range from 14 to 22 inches, with speed ratings at Q (99 mph).

The rubber in standard tyres begins to harden at temperatures below seven °C, limiting traction on snow and wet roads. Winter rubber provides maximum traction allowing you to drive safely and more relaxed in snow.

Important Considerations

Tyre Code – It contains important information about the tyre’s specs.

  1. Tyre Type – The first letter represents:
    • P for Passenger tyres
    • LT for Light Truck 
    • ST for Special Trailer
    • T for Temporary
  2. Tread Width – In millimetres, this three-digit value shows the tyre’s width, from sidewall to sidewall. 
  3. Aspect Ratio – The aspect ratio indicates the tyre’s height to the tyre’s width. For example, ’75’ means that the tyre’s height is 75% of the width.
  4. Construction
    • R for Radial
    • B for Bias-Belt
    • “–” for Bias-ply; same with D for Diagonal 
  5. Rim Diameter – For example, a ’16’ rim diameter indicates that the tyre is compatible with 16-inch wheels.
  6. Load Rating (index) – A two- or three-digit number indicates the capacity of the tyre to bear weight. A load index chart provides info about the load index and the associated carrying capacity of the tyre.
  7. Speed Rating (index) – This is symbolised by a letter representing the speed rating that should match the speed of your vehicle.

Other Letters and Symbols

If you want to guarantee performance for your tyres, consult your manufacturer agent and learn about the different tyre brands, their advantages, disadvantages, and cost.

Final Thoughts

For a first-time tyre buyer, it’s essential to keep in mind that your tyres determine the quality of your ride. Make sure to consult a tyre buying guide to make informed choices regarding your first tyre purchase. Choosing the right tyre for your car improves your driving performance and can save you from unprecedented accidents.

Read: What is Wheel Alignment and Balancing

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