Most often we only ever think about our tyres when we either; a) Fail a Warrent of Fitness or b) have their current state pointed out to us by someone else.
Now of course this isn’t entirely true, because there are many vehicle fanatics out there, who are frequently fussing over their cars and making sure not a speck of dust is showing on the inner panel of the rear left-hand-side tail-light cover. These people would typically notice when their tyres are getting worn or unsafe.
But for the rest of us, my first statement was probably true…
“While it doesn’t really appeal to anyone, we do actually have to buy tyres from time to time. Make sure you buy the right tyres when you do.”
What influences your decision?
So many things can influence your decision on what you will buy, but let’s face it, usually it is just what the local tyre shop guy has in stock and what he recommends. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though. The local tyre guy has probably got a bit more of an idea than most of us about tyres (after all that’s what he works with all day)!
There are about 6 things that you should consider when forking out for some black hunks of rubber:
- Tyre Safety & Handling
- The Terrain they are going to be driven on
- What sort of driver you are
- How long you want your tyre to last
- Road Noise & Comfort
- and of course, Price
Tyre Safety & Handling
The chief role of tyres is to keep the driver and passengers safe in the vehicle right? You can’t put a price on life so perhaps this is why safety should always come first. You want to be sure that when you’re travelling the country at 100km/h, your tyre isn’t going to blow-out, sending your vehicle into a severe accident. You also want to know that the last shower of rain isn’t going to slide you off a corner.
Tyre testing results will always show braking distances and traction results which you should check out. Every tyre will boast it has the ‘best’ performance but realistically it can be hard to categorically say that one tyre is definitely better than the other. I would say, do your own research first. Search for reviews and testing data (if you are that way inclined) to get an idea of how certain tyres perform.
“It’s no point buying mud terrain tyres if you’re going to be spending 99% of your time driving around the city, that’s pointless.”
If you’re driving around a farm all-day-every-day, then yes, mud terrain tyres might be the option for you. There are some really good all-terrain tyres out there these days that will easily get you around most places you’ll think to take your vehicle.
And then quite simply, if you’ve got a Toyota Corolla that you use just for going to and from work every day in urban areas, there’s not a whole heap of point buying the flashest Continental track tyres. (Of course we wont stop you though, if that’s what you want to do!)
Your Driving Style
Most drivers will very rarely test the limits of their tyres. Of course it’s not recommended that you do, but then there are some drivers who like to ‘keep it going’ when they’re travelling from place to place. And it’s right that these chaps should have a bit better quality tyres. There are pros and cons for driving either way – I wont go into that here…
“Don’t be afraid to let this influence your decision, be honest with yourself, be realistic, this will help you get the best tyres possible.”
If you just want some tyre to chuck on your car to get a WOF before you sell it, how long the tyre lasts probably isn’t going to be important to you. (It’s not a very ‘cool’ thing to do, but it does happen…)
“If you’ve got a car that you’re planning on staying with for a while, I would suggest you go for a tyre that is going to last the distance.”
Some test results may tell you this but once again I would suggest you Google some consumer reviews or content that can help you regarding these things.
Usually this would be a big factor for luxury car owners rather than anyone else, but it is worth considering. Most tyres will feature some element of noise reduction technology but as they get worn the road noise can get louder. The other thing is, is that if you’ve got a Porsche 911 Turbo you’ll be listening to the sensational engine noise and any tyre noise will be unnoticeable.
Yep, this is seemingly the biggest factor of the lot! You might want the safest, quietest, long-lasting tyre but whether it fits your budget is another matter. Each of you will know how important price is to you. If price is what matters most, you may need to rethink this mentality a bit. Like I said if you’re just wanting to ‘flick’ the car off, then price will most likely come at the top of the list. However for the rest of us, consider that if you spend less, your return-on-investment will be less. If you spend a little bit more, the tyres are going to last longer, be less noisy, be safer and so on.
“Value for money is what it’s all about and getting it right first time is very important.”
There is noone who will be able to say, ‘Yes, Tyres X are exactly the right tyres for you’. For this reason YOU are the right person to make the decision. Whatever that decision is, I hope you are pleased with it!