5 Tyre Buying Tips - Helping to Keep You on the Road!

Tyres are possibly the most important part of your car. Those four bits of rubber which are the vehicle’s only connection with the road - without them, you wouldn’t be able to drive.

Having good, safe and legal tyres is extremely important, of course for the driver and passenger’s safety, but also because illegal tyres can land you with a large fine and points on your license.

There are numerous things that you need to think about when it comes to purchasing new tyres for your vehicle. While most think of purchasing new tyres as a bit of a chore, it is, in fact, a very important process that shouldn’t be done half-heartedly. Your tyres are a vital part of your car, having a massive impact on your vehicle's performance, from stopping distance to road handling. 

With many tyres available, choosing the right ones for your vehicle and specific driving needs can seem pretty scary. We’re going to run through the steps to take before-hand so you can choose the best tyres for your car.                              

1. Understanding your tyres

First and foremost, you need to know the size of tyre fitted to your car. You’ll find this printed on the outside edge of the tyre, in raised lettering. This will give you most of the information you need for choosing the correct tyres.

For example, let’s take a tyre carrying the size lettering: 195/50 R15 92H

195: the tyre’s width, in mm

50: the ratio of the tyre’s width to height, as a percentage

R15: the diameter of the wheel the tyre will fit, in inches

92: the load capacity of the tyre

H: the speed rating of the tyre* 

2. Tyre Speed Rating*

Although often disregarded, the tyre speed rating is a very important factor. If you end up with a tyre with the incorrect rating, you might invalidate your car insurance. It basically indicates the maximum speed at which the tyre can carry a weight corresponding to its load rating. See the chart below for a breakdown…

Code

MPH

Code

MPH

N

87

U

124

P

93

H

130

Q

99

V

149

R

106

Z

150+

S

112

W

168

T

118

Y

186

3. Tyre Labels

All new tyres on sale in Europe must have a tyre label, much like those found on white goods. The labelling structure is pretty easy to understand once you’re familiar with it. This will also help you to buy safer and better gripping tyres, saving you fuel and making your driving experience quieter.

4. Quality

Now you know the right tyre size for your vehicle (or at least how to find it), it’s time to think about the quality of tyre that will suit your needs. All tyres that are on sale in the UK have to meet strict safety standards, but a better quality tyre will last you longer and give you a better driving experience, so it’s a good idea to take into consideration your individual driving needs.

5. Maintenance

So, you’ve invested in the right tyres? It doesn’t end there! It is just as important to ensure that they are well maintained and kept in the correct state, so be sure to regularly check the state of your tyres.

The legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm, you can use a 20p coin to measure your tyres tread depth. Just use the outer edge of the 20p coin, if you can see the bottom outer edge from side-on when inserted in the thinnest part of the tyre, then it’s time to think about changing your tyres.

In addition to road-legal checks, we also advise carrying out frequent tyre pressure checks, especially before a long journey. Things like tyre pressure and tread depth need to be monitored regularly to ensure your tyres last as long as they should.