Car maintenance is an unavoidable and crucial part of car ownership. Solid maintenance ensures longevity, and also keeps costs down – a mercy in tight-budgeted times like these. Whether you are a new driver or an experienced one, knowing the general basics of car maintenance, both with regard to the interior and exterior, can help you make informed decisions.
One of the more accessible – and critical – aspects of car maintenance is choosing the right tyres for your vehicle. Here, we’ll explore what it is that you need to be looking for when selecting the best tyres for you.
Tyre Markings Explained
The markings on the sidewalls of your tyres might be confusing at first glance, but they contain all the right information to help you in choosing the right ones. These markings contain five key pieces of information: width, profile, rim, speed, and load.
Width refers to the width of the tyre in millimetres, while profile is the height of the tyre’s sidewall as a percentage of its width. Profile refers to the thickness of the sidewall. The rim marking can be subdivided into two sections, that indicate the size and type of the wheel that the tyre fits on. Lastly, the speed and load ratings refer to the maximum speed and weight that the tyre can handle safely.
Different weather conditions bring different requirements from tyres, meaning that different kinds of tyre are more suited to different seasons. Summer tyres provide excellent performance in warm and dry conditions, owing to the suppleness and of the rubber compound. Meanwhile, winter tyres are designed to perform better in cold and icy conditions by remaining soft, and offering more tread depth.
There are also all-season tyres, which seek to find a compromise between seasonal requirements. These do not provide optimal performance for any vehicle, but are reliable year-round and reduce the administration associated with regular tyre changes.
Budget, Mid-Range, and Premium Tyres
Tyres also naturally comes in a range of prices, from budget to premium. Brands positioned as premium tyres such as Pirelli, are recognisable for a reason, being durable and performance-oriented products that command a high price for high performance. Budget tyres are the most affordable option, and a common choice for the average driver; however, their decent performance is betrayed by a relative lack of durability.
Original Equipment (OE) tyres are a specialist sub-category of tyre, in the higher end of the price range. They are designed to work perfectly with a specific model of vehicle, providing the best possible driving experience for that vehicle. OE fitment tyres are tested rigorously to ensure they meet the manufacturer’s standards. OE fitment tyres might not be within budget for the vast majority of UK drivers, but they can do their part to ensure optimal performance, safety, and comfort.