Tyres are one of the crucial components of your vehicle. Without them, cars would just sit there, unable to move. Meanwhile, many people rarely give a second thought to the tyres while purchasing a vehicle.
Nearly everyone buying a car might compare and even analyse other parts and features like the comfort features engine, fuel economy, and other similar factors. But, hardly would you find a person reviewing the tyres and comparing them with one another.
Based on experts' reports, tyres should get more attention than changing them when worn out or barely filling them with air at regular (in most cases, random) intervals. They are an indispensable component of keeping you and your vehicle safe. It is the tyres that stop when you step on the brakes, not the car. And it must maintain a balance between being nearly indestructible and being as supportive as possible.
It is also vital to understand what sorts of tyres suit your vehicle. Among many reasons why people do not give much thought to tyres when purchasing a new vehicle is because they come as a fundamental component of the car. They are already fixed - as an integral part of the new car - something that gives new car owners less thing to worry about.
Once the tyres wear out, one simply selects an easy replacement option within budget. It is necessary though to know more about the various types of tyres and tyre brands so you can make a smart choice. Knowing which tyre would suit your vehicle will make purchasing a tyre an easy task. Nonetheless, before you choose a brand to buy, you need to understand what sort of tyre fits your vehicle the most.
It's no doubt that SUVs are the commonest type of vehicle for drivers, with nearly all car manufacturers producing one or more models to include in their line-up. This notable trend in buyers' choice of vehicle globally has also made tyre brands design more SUV tyres considering that driving an SUV - which is generally taller and heavier than hatchbacks and sedans - places different demands on tyres.
When looking for SUV tyres, one would be considering qualities like excellent handling and braking along with durability. Extra rigidity for improved off-road control performance is also a requisite of SUV tyres.
The Australian motorists, as reported by Canstar Blue's 2019 Customer Ratings, voted the Michelin tyres as the best brand. The brand obtained high ratings on overall satisfaction, dry weather performance, wet weather performance, value for money, stopping ability, and longevity, among others. Michelin Primacy SUV is one of their SUV tyres.
Sports cars are specifically designed for agility and speed and require optimum-performance tyres to match. They need to have decent wet traction as well as superior dry grip and be reasonably durable - although this depends on how much you drive it on the road.
Of course, sports tyres also cost much more than regular tyres - just like your sports car. There are inexpensive options available as well since the majority of tyre brands provide sports tyres that offer high-performance grippy rubber a little different from a racing terrain.
Over time, Pirelli and Michelin have been at the top of the pack and have pretty much dominated the performance tyre market. Michelin's Pilot Super Sport tyres and Pirelli's P-Zero Corsa line are top on the consideration list.
For the top tyre choices of Australians, Pirelli, the most popular sports tyre brand, held the third position in 2019. Pirelli Tyres, who is the only supplier of racing car tyres for Formula 1, has returned to the top after being ranked low by the Australian vehicle owners in previous years. There is a possibility that the low rating is because their line-up of high-performance sports tyres is not an ideal fit for family cars. They do come as very pricey and may not be very long-lasting too. However, this topping the table indicates that Pirelli's latest tyre offerings have won the customers' hearts. They gained four stars for overall satisfaction as well as for value for money and superior stopping ability, with three stars for noise while driving.
Other than SUVs, there is a massive rush in the small car market. Global demand has boomed such that both single drivers, and even couples and smaller families alike are rushing to buy them. Many vehicle brands are equally producing small car models.
In recent times, compact cars have gained more popularity as they don't require a lot of space and are very affordable, easy to drive, and perfect for weekends in the country as well as city commutes. For small car tyres, value for money and longevity are the main factors that determine buyers' choices. And it all makes sense since those are pretty much the same conditions that led to the acquisition of the small car.
Top brands such as Continental Tyres, Goodyear Tyres, and Michelin offer incredible choices for small car tyres.
As the name suggests, all-season tyres can be used in all seasons of the year. They can withstand the winter cold and summer heat and are a practical and convenient choice for most drivers. These tyres offer all-year-round traction, comfortable ride, and lasting tread wear.
Meanwhile, they may not offer exact grip and handling like what is achievable with performance tyres and as well not withstand extreme temperatures on both ends of the thermometer, unlike dedicated winter and summer tyres.
The majority of tyre brands offer All-season tyres for a wide variety of vehicles. For instance, with a wheel size of 14-18 inches, all-season tyres like the Roadstone range of all-season Tyres, can fit everything from pickups to small cars and light-duty SUVs.
All-season performance tyres – These tyres, including the Pirelli Pzero Nero All-Season tyres in the market, are in 15 to 20 inches wheel size. With them, the drivers get to enjoy excellent grip all year round. All-season performance tyres have higher speed ratings and deliver better braking and handling features than a regular all-season tyre.
Ultra-high performance tyres – summer and all-season ultra-high performance tyres are commonly found gracing upscale luxury sporty or sedans vehicles. The all-season UHP tyres provide responsive steering and excellent handling in both dry and wet conditions although ride comfort and tread wear might be affected. Moreover, the summer UHP tyres are not fit for cold weather, as they won't grip in icy or snowy conditions. All-season versions of Ultra-high performance tyres may compromise of some wet and dry grip to achieve winter traction.
Snow/winter tyres – These functional tyres provide superior grip to set off, halt, and corner in cold, wintry conditions. Their tread is specially designed to bites into the snow and ice; hence they have faster tread wear than all-season tyres. Besides, the rubber stays pliable at freezing temperatures thanks to its formulation. On cleared roads, these tyres can stop longer than all-season tyres.
The top specification of these tyres is minimum cabin noise.
A lot of people ignore this when picking tyres. Road noise can be bothersome, especially when it is non-stop on a long road trip. Your tyres go a long way in reducing road noise so you can enjoy a more relaxed and comfortable drive.
The Continental Pure Contact tyre, in 2019, was considered to be the quietest of the tyres. The likes of Dunlop Grandtrek AT20 All-Season Tyre, Michelin Energy Saver A/S, and Goodyear Assurance Comfortred Touring Radial are also on the list.
Now that you know the different types of tyres, the next question is, which brand to choose? Well, it is a difficult one to fix because each category has countless options. There's a massive list of tyre brands, and each of them comes with individual strengths and weaknesses. Check out the (*Canstar Blue) table below:
|Brand||Overall satisfaction*||Value for money||Life of tyre||Wet weather handling||Dry weather handling||Stopping ability|
|Michelin||5 stars||4 stars||5 stars||5 stars||5 stars||5 stars|
|Bob Jane||4 stars||4 stars||4 stars||4 stars||4 stars||4 stars|
|Bridgestone||4 stars||4 stars||4 stars||4 stars||4 stars||4 stars|
|Dunlop||4 stars||3 stars||3 stars||3 stars||4 stars||4 stars|
|Goodyear||4 stars||4 stars||4 stars||4 stars||4 stars||4 stars|
|Kumho||4 stars||4 stars||4 stars||4 stars||4 stars||4 stars|
|Hankook||4 stars||5 stars||4 stars||4 stars||5 stars||5 stars|
|Pirelli||4 stars||3 stars||3 stars||4 stars||4 stars||4 stars|
|Continental||3 stars||3 stars||3 stars||3 stars||3 stars||3 stars|
|Yokohama||3 stars||3 stars||3 stars||3 stars||3 stars||3 stars|
*Data from canstarblue.com
From the table, it is apparent that Michelin tyres are the most preferred tyres by the Australian drivers. They have been chosen as the most reliable set of tyres. Since these ratings are from those motorists who have purchased tyres over 24 months earlier, it signifies a lot. It is the evaluation of the drivers who have made use of these tyres. So, it is safe to conclude that as much as the best tyre brand in Australia is concerned, Michelin wins the race.
You would be wrong to think that this rating is just a game of chance. Michelin had on top of Canstarblue's rating charts as far back as 2015. It has sometimes tied with Pirelli, which drops to third place this year, and Dunlop becoming the surprise silver placer.
Now with an idea of which brand to select, let's consider the factors that affect tyre performance and longevity.
Lots of factors influence tyre life – either adversely or positively. Let's consider some of them:
Tyres are possibly the only component of a vehicle that comes in direct contact with the road repeatedly - and more precisely, permanently. Therefore, it is normal that the road conditions would affect the durability of a tyre. Sound road conditions translate to less wear and tear of the tyre and consequently, longer life.
Due to their specialized nature, performance tyres work well under particular circumstances. They provide enhanced grip and tread so that they perform maximally in all situations. They make driving safe and better under challenging conditions. That's why it is vital to select the appropriate type of tyre for your vehicle. You don't want to place SUV tyres on your sedan and vice versa.
Tyres are one of the vital elements that guarantee the safety of the vehicle. As we stated earlier, your brakes technically stop your tyres, which in turn stop your car.
Safety should be the top priority of the buyers when choosing tyres. Long-lasting, reliable, high-grip tyres with optimal air pressure will make your vehicle safer. It is essential to put reliable tyres on duty along with other features like traction control and ABS, among others.
The longevity of tyres is also dependent on maintaining optimum tyre pressures at all times. While a large number of car owners would get their vehicle tyres inspected for air pressure only once or twice a month or even longer, it is expedient to have the air pressure checked every week. Deflated or unduly inflated tyres are neither friendly towards the vehicle nor your pocket.
Put less air than recommended - your tyre would not be as rigid as it ought to and will be predisposed to punctures. Inflate them too much - you may be expecting a blow out as the rubber will round out at the top way too much and the centre tread will wear out faster.
Owning a tyre with a premium tread is imperative to your safety and a pleasant drive. The tread has to be in good form since it is constantly in contact with the road. In case the tread wears off, you need to change the tyres at the earliest. A tyre with less than 1.5 mm tread depth across its entire face is not roadworthy. What's interesting is that a survey revealed that although about 76% of the drivers assumed they understood the process of checking the tyre tread depth, only 58% knew what the actual legal tread depth was.
There are several tyres presently with tread safety indicators that can alert you when the tread has worn down to illegal and unsafe levels. Notwithstanding, you must also be well-informed, and of course, make it a point of duty to check these indicators from time to time or else it will count as nothing.
If you do care about the safety of your passengers and yourself, then you can't afford to take chances. Ensure that:
Your tyres are in impeccable condition, with no objects stuck in the tread. Get rid of anything stuck within the tread for a safer trip. If there are cuts and bulges on the sidewalls, you may want to have the tyre checked, as the damage might be more critical than it looks. Examine air pressure frequently and maintain optimum levels of air.
Even though with all the care, the tyres would eventually wear out. When that happens, do not delay in changing them as soon as possible. Recognize that the value of the new tyres is much cheaper than the cost of your life.
Accordingly, for a safe and better driving experience, don't delay purchasing a new set of tyres. Changing an infotainment device can wait, even new carpeting and your new paint job can wait - but switching your old tyres for a decent tyre brand can't. Always go for a reliable brand and steer clear of cheaply made and second-hand tyres as they will compromise your safety.