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A Guide to Car TyresBack

Investigations by TyreSafe in partnership with Trading Standards over the past five years have revealed 139 of the 152 part worn outlets visited were selling illegal and unsafe tyres to unsuspecting motorists, leaving just 13 dealers selling roadworthy tyres from inspections spanning from Scotland to London.

Tyres are arguably the most important part on your car and an essential factor in road safety as they are the only part of the vehicle in touch with the road. There are many factors that contribute toward what makes a good, safe and legal tyre. Using illegal rubber can land you with a hefty fine and points on your driving licence.

Below, Trusted Dealers provides motorists with a short guide on all you need to know about purchasing the right tyres for your vehicle.

Best tyre specialists

Being aware of the ‘premium’ tyre brands on the market is useful if you’re considering purchasing new tyres or are about to purchase a used vehicle. Michelin, Bridgestone, Pirelli, Goodyear, Continental, Dunlop and Vredestein are several brands that you’ll pay a premium for, but it is certainly worth the extra spend for the added peace of mind.

What’s your budget?

Purchasing tyres is very much a personal decision based on your budget and the type of car you’re driving. For example, tyre fitment can be vehicle specific so if you pick the wrong ones it could affect the handling of your car. If in doubt, check your service manual to see which type are recommended for your vehicle. Also, don’t be put off by cheaper tyres – budget tyres can often perform well against other premium brands.

Labelling system

Taking note of above, since 2012 there has been an industry-recognised labelling system for all new tyres. All new tyres should carry a label like this which shows the following factors:

  • Fuel efficiency – the rolling resistance of the tyre has an effect on how much fuel your car uses. Efficiency is listed from A (best performer) to G (poorest fuel economy)
  • Wet grip –tyres with better wet grip have shorter braking distances in damp conditions. Again this is labelled A-G with A being the best performer.
  • External noise –two ratings are provided – one for the level of noise the tyre makes measured in lab conditions and displayed in decibels, and one that shows one, two or three ‘soundwaves’ which refers to the rating context with other tyres

 

 

Tyre sizing

All tyres for road use in the UK come with a standardised set of numbers on them telling you their precise size displayed in this format: 205/45 R17 91W. If broken down the digits refer to the following:

  • 205 – the width of the tyre in millimetres
  • 45 – the tyre’s aspect ratio, or the ratio between the tyre’s width and its height. R –This letter stands for the type of tyre it is with R referring to ‘Radial’, a common type of tyre.
  • 17 – the diameter of the tyre in inches
  • 91 – the load index of the tyre, i.e. how much weight it can carry
  • W – the tyre speed rating. W equates to168mph

Legal tyre tread depth

The current legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm, but many industry safety bodies state that 3mm is the depth at which you should consider changing tyres. You can use a 20p coin test to measure tyre tread depth by using the outer rim of the coin, which measures 2.7mm in diameter. If you can see the bottom outer rim from side-on when inserted in the shallowest part of the tyre, then it’s time to think about changing your tyres.

 

Posted by Leana Kell on 29/08/2018