What should you know when buying new tyres?
Sets of new tyres can last up to 2-5 years, so making a good purchase is key. However, this is easier said than done – especially considering the fact that all manufacturers are likely to be saying that their tyres are the best in the market. Plus all of them look the same. (round and black 🙂 ). To help you with choosing new tyres, we have drawn up a list of the key things to consider.
So where should you start?
First of all, ask yourself if you are/were happy with your current/last set of tyres? If you are driving a new car, which still has an original set of tyres, you must remember they are there for a reason. Car manufacturers will always select the tyre which enhances the benefits of the vehicle and conceals the negatives. In conclusion, if you are happy with the way your car handles and you find your current tyres durable – replace them with like-for-like. If not, then you should factor in the below-listed items when searching for a new set.
Fuel Efficiency Rating
Every tyre manufactured post-2012 and sold within the EU must have an energy label on it. This outlines its fuel efficiency, external noise and wet weather handling. Fuel rating (others call it rolling resistance) will always be graded in alphabetical order. An A-rating is best in its class and G is the lowest possible score.
People often undermine this rating when purchasing new tyres, but there is a perfect reason to pay attention to this little detail. According to various sources, the difference between an A-rated and G-rated tyre is a saving in fuel used of around €250 per tyre during the life cycle of it.
Obviously, more fuel efficient tyres are dearer at the start and the benefit of saved fuel needs to measure up against the higher retail price of the tyre.
p.s. That €250 in fuel saving is achieved when tyres are performing at an optimum level. That means that you will have to keep tyre pressures in line with the manufacturer’s recommendations (checking once-a-month is recommended). As well as checking your vehicle for wheel alignment faults, on average every six to nine months.
Wet Braking Rating
This is a significant bit of information in Ireland given our climate! As with fuel efficiency, wet braking rating is also graded in sequence from A to G.
In this instance, the difference between the best in its class vs the worst is 80 meters of stopping distance, when driving at a higher speed. To visualise this, 80 meters is about the length of the football field. So, if your driving consists of motorway mileage, driving at high speeds, you must prioritise this rating when buying a new set of tyres. As the rainfall season is kicking in, a good set of “grippy” tyres will minimise the risk of an accident.
External Noise Rating
For most drivers, this is the least valuable information on the tyre label. New cars are well advanced with soundproofing, and tyre noise is becoming a minor distraction to the drivers. However, you do find to have an issue with your current tyres being noisy; you can compare different makes and models in this aspect.
Tyre noise is measured in decibels, for example, 71db, 67db etc. The lower that number is, the quieter the tyre will be.
D.O.B aka DOT
Every tyre has this short four digit number on the external sidewall which is called the DOT code. The DOT code states when the tyre was manufactured. The first two digits represent the week and last two digits the year. For example, DOT 2316 means the 23rd week in 2016.
You might be thinking ‘Why do I need to know this?’ Well, if the tyre is few years old (3-5) and it was not stored appropriately, it might’ve lost some of its principal features. Ageing tyres tend to harden and lose their ability to grip to wet surfaces. Although they can still be classed as new, some features might be far below the EU label ratings.
Lastly, a few tips from experience
Customers often ask me about the durability and ask will paying extra € means the tyre will last longer. The answer is no, not always. For example, if you’re a driving a sporty coupe, your ideal tyres will be very soft compound. Softer rubber will improve the quality and comfort of the driving experience but will wear much quicker. 30,000kms is the very maximum that you will get out of a set of sporty tyres and that is in ideal conditions. In real life, this number might be lower.
Lastly, if you are under a strict budget, there are plenty of subsidiary tyre brands that are made by premium makers. These brands (listed below) are often much cheaper than the parent company, but are still very good performers, often receiving great feedback for their value for money. As my old friend George once said, Barum (sub-brand of Continental) is the older version of Continental with a different name slapped on. Although he previously worked for Continental, to date, I am not sure if this story is a fact or fiction.
Anyhow, these are great value mid-range brands, owned and manufactured by the market leaders:
- Goodyear/Dunlop: Sava and Fulda brands
- Hankook: Kingstar and Laufenn brands
- Continental: Barum & Matador
- Bridgestone: Firestone
- Michelin: Kormoran
There are plenty of choices out there and we are here to help. For more advice just give us a call on 01 860 20 20 or send us an email via here.