The only contact your car has with the road are four patches of rubber. But how long do you take choosing which tyres to buy when you need new ones? And do you pay attention to the labels?
Without tyres your car won’t get very far. But how long do you spend picking out which ones to get? And is price your main consideration or do you think about fuel economy ratings, wet grip levels and noise levels that are now published with them?
According to a recent survey across the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy, most tyre buyers don’t pay much attention to the new labelling. They are swayed more by tyre retailers’ recommendations, price and brand loyalty – with performance proving less influential.
Price and popular brands of tyres
But what about you – do you scour our tyre reviews to find the exact ones you want or let the garage pick them for you? Or do you simply choose the cheapest?
The sheer choice of tyres can be baffling. If you drive a typical VW Golf with 17-inch alloy wheels, one popular website currently lists 423 tyres to choose from. Prices range from just £41.70 all the way up to £233.30 per tyre. So for the price of just one high performance unit you could get four budget tyres and have £66.50 change for a new spare and wheel.
Unsurprisingly, the budget tyres don’t perform particularly well in the ratings, scoring an F (A being highest, G being lowest) for fuel economy, an E for wet braking and a noise rating of 72db. You’d think that more expensive tyres would perform better in these tests, but it’s not that simple with one £118 tyre scoring a G, an F and 72db respectively.
Fuel economy versus wet braking
Judging purely on the labels, the top performer scores a B for fuel economy and an A for wet braking. So would that be the one you’d choose?
Call me picky, but I never let a garage choose tyres for my car and read lots of different tyre reviews, so I can be sure they will suit my driving style. I don’t drive to save money, so I consider how well the tyre performs for the price rather than just looking at the price and ignoring performance.
But what about you? Do you see tyres as the key part of your car or an unwanted expense to be dealt with as quickly and cheaply as possible?