After brakes, your tyres are the most important thing on your car but they don’t have to be complicated writes Suzanne Keane
Not only is it important to have enough thread on your tyres but you should also check your tyre pressure regularly (too much air can be as bad as too little) and remember, correctly inflated tyres will use less fuel so that’s more money to spend on you!
Buying new tyres can be a daunting experience, but the more prepared you are the better.
Firstly, sizing – We will take a 215/45/17 tyre size as an example
So this tyre is 215mm wide. Simple, right? Or maybe not…
The 45 stands for 45% of the width – so the 215/45 tyre is 215mm wide and has a sidewall of 96.75mm.
And if that wasn’t confusing enough – 17 stands for the wheel diameter…. in inches!
But don’t worry. All you really need to know is the size of your own tyres – which is always printed on the side in the above format.
Your tyres might also display their load rating (max load in KG which you won’t usually need to worry about in a car) and a speed rating – for example L is 120kmph and P is 150kmph
Your tyres will also need to be ‘E’ marked to pass the NCT.
Always make sure your tyres have been fitted in the correct direction before leaving the shop. Some will have arrows on the sides, some will have left and right printed on the side-wall and some will say outside (you shouldn’t see where it says inside!). If you can’t see these markings just ask the tyre fitter. Not all tyres are directional but if they are it’s important they are fitted correctly because they are designed to throw off water in that direction only.
Secondly, shop around! Make a note of the different tyre brands and prices you are quoted and research them on the internet. If you do plenty of mileage, a harder tyre compound will last longer but if you’re a fast driver a softer tyre will give you better grip so do discuss your driving style and don’t just settle for the first suggestion.
So next time you need new tyres don’t just ask someone else to do it. Know your sizing, be assertive about what you want/need and don’t settle for the first offer!