Selecting The Right Tyre
Choosing the Right Tyre
Selecting the right tyres for your vehicle is an important decision. Your safety, as well as driving enjoyment over the next years and thousands of miles will be determined by this decision.
The information provided here and the advice/recommendations from the experts at R-Tec Auto Design will ensure you select tyres that match your vehicle...and the way you drive it!
Since tyres affect the personality and performance of your vehicle, all four tyres should be as identical as possible or handling problems may arise. If your tyres don't match, it is possible that one end of your vehicle won't respond as quickly or completely as the other, making it more difficult to control.
How many tyres do I need?
Consider the following:
JUST ONE TYRE?
If your tyres have a lot of remaining tread depth, but you need to replace just one that has been damaged by an accident, road hazard or a vandal, you should replace it with a tyre that exactly matches the others. Select a replacement tyre of the same brand, line, size and speed rating. While there may be a less expensive tyre available, it wouldn't be a bargain this time because it would be different than the other three tyres on your vehicle.
A PAIR OF TYRES?
If two of your tyres have a lot of remaining tread depth, but you need to replace the other two because they were damaged or have worn out, you should replace them with a pair of tyres that come as close as possible to matching your existing tyres. While identical new tyres are desirable, others of the same size and type can also provide good results. Only consider selecting new tyres that are from the same tyre category as your existing tyres. New tyres should be installed on the rear axle.
While your vehicle is being serviced ask your mechanic why one pair of tyres have worn faster than the others. Was it caused by a lack of tyre rotation, out-of-spec wheel alignment or loose mechanical parts? Once the problem has been found, it can be corrected before it damages your new tyres. Keep in mind that your ultimate goal is that all of your tyres always wear out at the same time so they can be replaced as a set.
A SET OF TYRES?
If all of your tyres are wearing out together, you have the greatest flexibility in tyre selection. If you were happy with the original tyres, simply replace them. If you want longer tread wear, a smoother ride or more handling, there are probably tyres that will help you accomplish that. Review the tyre category types until you find a category description that describes a tyre that fits your needs.
Once you know how many tyres you will be replacing, determine size and type by answering the questions in the box below...
What is the right size for my vehicle?
Buying the correct tyre size can get complicated, especially if you decide to upgrade from your vehicle's Original Equipment size. The expert sales team at R-Tec is always ready to offer performance and fitment advice, please call 01727 790100
A tyre's first requirement is that it must be able to carry the weight of your vehicle. No matter how good a tyre you select, if its capabilities are "overworked" just carrying the load, it will have little reserve capacity to help your vehicle respond to quick emergency. So when you are in the selection process, make certain that your new tyre's size is designed to carry the weight of your vehicle! Don't undersize.
The other size consideration is overall tyre diameter. Since many of the functions of today's vehicles are highly computerized, maintaining accurate speed data going into the computer assures accurate instructions coming out. And an important part of the speed equation is your tyre's overall tyre diameter.
For cars and vans, staying within a 3% diameter change is desirable. Pick-ups and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) are usually engineered to handle up to a 15% oversize tyre. Most tyre dimensions can be calculated. For more information please see the Tyre Calculator section. While at first a 3% diameter increase or reduction in tyre diameter may sound very limiting, in most cases it allows approximately a 3/4" diameter change.
Additionally to help with the selection of substitute sizes, a system called "Plus Sizing" was developed. We use Plus Sizing to take into account the diameters of the available tyres and the wheels, and then helps select the appropriate tyre width that ensures adequate load capacity. Maintaining the tyre's overall diameter helps maintain accurate speed data going into the computer.
Do I need summer tyres, winter tyres, all-season tyres?
Do you drive your car only in sunshine, or also through rain and snow? Do you drive your light truck on the road, off the road, or are you the one responsible for clearing the land to build the roads? To successfully meet each of these driving conditions requires a different type of tyre.
Ask yourself these questions to determine which performance category you should choose from:
WHAT IS THE WORST DRIVING CONDITION I WILL ENCOUNTER?
If you use more than one set of tyres and wheels (for example, summer tyres in summer and snow tyres in winter), you can select tyres that exactly meet your diverse needs. If you use one set of tyres for every season, you may get good performance under many conditions, but you will compromise your vehicle's performance when the conditions are at their worst.
So the important thing to do is to select your tyres so that they match the worst driving condition you expect to encounter. When you're stuck in the snow or in the mud because your tyres don't have the appropriate capabilities, you'll curse their limited performance in your worst driving condition...and you'll quickly forget how smooth and quiet they were at other times!
WHAT ARE THE TYPICAL DRIVING CONDITIONS I WILL ENCOUNTER?
If you only drive around your neighborhood and a "long trip" is one that's just down to the corner convenience shop, almost any tyre will do. But if you drive your vehicle on congested city streets and motorways during rush hour you will be better served by more responsive tyres. If you drive extensively on the motorways, you will want quiet, smooth riding, long wearing tyres. Or if you like to drive quickly on twisting roads or through the mountains you will want good handling tyres. And if you drive on the track or in autocross events, you will want the best competition tyres available.
BALANCING THE REQUIREMENTS OF YOUR DRIVING CONDITIONS.
If your worst driving conditions and your typical conditions are similar, one set of tyres will be all you need. If you live at the edge of the snowbelt and infrequently get snow you may want to select an all-season tyre. If your SUV is used as the family's station wagon and driven on the road all of the time, overly aggressive light truck tyres aren't for you (unless you really like the "look").
If your worst driving condition occurs frequently (you drive through snow all winter) and is dissimilar to your typical driving condition (you commute to work on the expressway during the week and spend your weekends at the beach), you may want to consider selecting two sets of tyres for your vehicle. Each set will be designed to master the specific conditions without compromising your driving satisfaction at the extremes. While purchasing two sets of tyres may appear expensive, the set you're not using won't wear while you are using the other set, and combined they'll provide longer total wear than either set could individually!
Tyres are legally worn out when they have worn down to 1.6mm of remaining tread depth. To help warn drivers that their tyres have reached that point, tyres sold in the UK are required to have molded indicators called "wear bars" across their tread pattern from their outside shoulder to inside shoulder. Wear bars are designed to visually connect the elements of the tyre's tread pattern and warn drivers when their tyres no longer meet minimum tread depth requirements.
However, as a tyre wears it is important to realise that while its dry traction and handling will improve its ability to perform in rain and snow will diminish. At 3mm of remaining tread depth, resistance to hydroplaning in the rain at highway speeds has been significantly reduced and traction in heavy snow has been virtually eliminated.
If rain and wet roads are a concern, you should consider replacing your tyres when they reach approximately 3mm of remaining tread depth. Since water can't be compressed, you need enough tread depth to allow it to escape through the tyre's grooves. If the water can't escape fast enough your vehicle's tyres will be forced to hydroplane (actually float) on top of the water, loosing traction.