Good quality tyres make the most difference to the quality of your driving experience. As the only part of your car that touches the ground, your tyres have an impact on your steering, braking, acceleration and suspension. The quality of your tyres affects both fuel consumption and noise emission. Your tyres are critical to road safety, especially when it comes to making an emergency stop or if you are travelling on wet road conditions. ‘Bald’ and ‘thread-worn’ tyres undermine your ability to stop your car on braking and they struggle to support the weight of your car as well as your passengers and cargo. If your tyres fail, you, your passengers, and other road users are all at risk of serious injury. It is important to use good quality tyres, that are properly maintained and suited to your vehicle and lifestyle.
Maintaining good tyre quality
When it comes to evaluating the quality of your tyres, there are some basic legal requirements to consider. By law, you need to ensure that your tyres are compatible with your car and are inflated to the pressure recommended by your vehicle manufacturer. Tyre wear and tear can be measured by tread depth. The ridges between your tyre treads should meet a legal minimum of 1.6mm across the entire circumference and 75% of the centre in a continuous band. Checks should be carried out at least once a month, and where in doubt, it could be a life-saving decision to check-in with a professional tyre service. You should have a tyre shop inspect your tyres on a routine basis anyway, and include a tyre rotation to ensure that your tyres wear out evenly.
When you are ready to change your tyres, it is recommended that you replace all four tyres at the same time or at least in pairs, so that those that share the same axle, meet a similar standard. Your car’s manufacturer is likely to suggest that replacement tyres be the same as the originals to maintain well-rounded driving performance.
You should also have spares checked regularly and although you are not required by law to carry a spare, having a spare is often a requirement of breakdown cover.
Match your tyres to your lifestyle
Good tyres should also match your driving conditions and terrain. No one tyre can meet all driving conditions effectively. Do you spend a lot of time driving on the motorway? Then your tyres should be able to handle higher speeds.
Or perhaps you spend more of your time driving through country roads? You will want tyres designed to last longer and cope with a variety of surfaces. These are often made from tougher compounds and grip surfaces better. Wintry conditions require tyres that provide good traction in rainy and snowy conditions. Tyres with a big “footprint” or greater surface area that touches the road surface are more ideal for dry weather conditions.
Finally, you should never mix tyre types, as this affects driving control and it will affect you under any conditions.