To demystify the world of tyres, try Motokiki, which is packed with information about tyres and lets you easily compare their specification and prices. It’s part of the MotorEasy project to make everything about car owning simple and painless.
Here are the basics about buying the right tyres for your vehicle.
How to know when your tyres need replacing
The main reason tyres need changing is that the tread wears out. The minimum legal depth for a car tyre tread is 1.6mm. An easy way to measure this is to stand a 20p coin in the tread groove. If the rim round its edge stands out, your tyre does not have enough tread.
The right tyre specification
Tyre specifications are shown on the side and are in a format such as 215/45 R16. The first numbers indicate the tyre’s width in millimetres across the ground. The fourth and fifth digits are the height of the tyre wall between the ground and the wheel. This is expressed as a percentage of the tyre’s width.
The smaller this number, the lower the profile of the tyre. While lower-profile tyres give more responsive handling, they can also make the car’s ride less forgiving over bumps. Lastly, the R16 means it is a radial tyre that fits on a 16in diameter wheel.
If all that sounds a bit overwhelming, you could go to Motokiki, simply enter your registration number and it will show you a list of suitable tyres for your car and their prices.
How to strike the balance between quality and price
With tyres, cheapest is not always best. Big-name companies such as Continental, Bridgestone and Michelin spend millions pushing the boundaries of research and development.
Their tyres may be slightly more expensive but can last longer than cheaper rubber. They may also be safer in the wet, use less fuel – and could be quieter too. You can see how they perform across these three important criteria with the EU tyre label that every new tyre has. Motokiki has compiled a handy guide on how to compare tyres.
If you want to save money and are trying to decide between new or part worn (used) tyres, choose new every time. Part worn might be cheap but research by charity TyreSafe found 98pc were being sold illegally and a third (34pc) were in a dangerous state.
What tyre pressure you should run at
Tyres are designed to be inflated to a certain pressure. You check this with a gauge. The air machines in filling stations have these but can be inaccurate. However, motor retailers sell affordable pressure gauges that you can use when it suits you.
Air pressure in tyres is important because underinflation causes faster wear, uses more fuel and could prompt sudden deflation, known as a blow-out. And an under-inflated tyre won’t be able to perform how its maker designed it to.
Tyre companies recommend you check pressures on a cold tyre at least once a month. You will find the correct pressures in the car’s user manual or shown on a sticker behind its fuel filler flap or on the driver’s door pillar.
There are different pressures depending on how loaded the car is, so if you’re off on a trip with all the family and lots of luggage you’ll probably have to put more air in the tyres.
To find out how to protect your car, save money and avoid hassle, go to motoreasy.com