9th September 2021
Need to buy new tyres for your car and unsure where to start? We’re here to help. With the right sized tyres, you can improve your car’s handling on the road and have a smoother overall driving experience.
If you were to fit an incorrect tyre with the wrong speed rating, tyres that are designed for different seasons, and different tyres on the same axle, you’d be at risk of comprising the safety and performance of your vehicle. Luckily, we’ve put this guide together to give you everything you need to know about what to look out for when shopping for new tyres.
Whether you’re a new driver or don’t know much about tyres, there are some easy ways to check if you’re due a tyre upgrade.
Many manufacturers like Continental make it easy to find your tyre size. All the important information will be embossed at the top of your tyre sidewall in a series of raised letters and numbers.
In the example above, each section breaks down as follows:
The designation R, which comes before the rim diameter marking, means that this is a radial tyre. Other types of tyre designations are B for Bias-ply and D for Diagonal Construction. Nowadays, radial tyres are the most common type on the road and they have a variety of advantages. These include reduced fuel consumption due to less rolling resistance, less vibration and an extended tyre lifespan due to less heat being generated by the tyre.
If you want to find out about the quality of the tyres you are buying, look at their EU tyre label. Since 2012, all tyres in the UK have been required to have a tyre label attached detailing the tyre’s performance in three key areas:
These labels are easy to follow and use a visual grading system to rank tyres from A to G, while noise levels are indicated by the number of decibels and the letters A, B or C.
In May 2021, a new EU label was introduced to help drivers make more informed decisions when buying new tyres. One of the key changes was the addition of QR codes that you can scan to find more information about the tyre. The new label also features two pictograms for different types of winter tyre.
Tyres produced before May 2021 will still have the old EU label and as long as they’re deemed road safe, you can still drive on these.
Whether you bought your car brand new or second hand, its advised that the tyres you have on your vehicle are produced by the same tyre manufacturer. This is because each manufacturer makes their products differently, so the road grip that one tyre has could be completely different to the next – causing safety to be comprised as each tyre is working differently, which then reduces handling.
If you bought your car brand new, you can buy the same tyres by looking at the manufacturer 'OE' – Original Equipment – Codes. These are designed to identify your tyre (e.g. AO for Audi) and bring out the best performance and safety characteristics of the car.