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The Ultimate Guide to Choosing The Right Tyres

It is important that any car components that you purchase fit your car perfectly. From gearboxes to car seats, steering assists and tyres, everything needs to have the right measurements and dimensions for your vehicle as if not, you could be putting you and your passengers at risk. The Telegraph reported that between 2005 to 2009, 2.8% of fatal car accidents occurred due to vehicle defects, like bad tyres and dodgy brakes. Whilst this may seem like a low statistic in comparison to other dangers like reckless driving habits, speeding and road conditions, it does indicate that vehicle defects are a potential risk that needs to be considered.

However, how do you know what type of car parts you should purchase or source? With this in mind, here at Alban’s Car Clinic, we decided to dedicate this blog post to helping you to find and choose the right tyres for your vehicle. Tyres can vary depending on the size of your vehicle and the weather conditions that you’re most likely to encounter. Read on to find out more. 

Common Types of Tyres

It won’t be surprising that there are a large variety of tyres that you can purchase. These include the following:

  •       Winter Tyres
  •       Summer Tyres
  •       All-Season Tyres
  •       Part Worn Tyres
  •       Run Flat Tyres
  •       Energy Saving Tyres
  •       High-Performance Tyres

Each of these tyres are manufactured for each consumer’s interest and are then made to specifically fit the type of vehicle they are being added to. For instance, a 4x4 Range Rover is going to have different specifications than tyres produced for a Fiat 500 or a hatchback Citroen C1.

In addition to this, you need to consider tyre tracks. Tyre patterns are specifically produced to suit certain driver requirements. For instance, the arrangement of grooves, lines, and blocks largely vary for each tyre you choose. It is important that when you are choosing your tyres you don’t mix the tracks on a single axis as this could also impair your driving ability. Below, we examine the most common tyre tracks you are likely to find in your local car dealership.

Asymmetric Tyres - Asymmetric tyres have two alternate tread patterns; the outer edges of the tyre will have large stiff tread blocks which will help assist with cornering, whereas the inner treads contain smaller tread blocks that provide resistance. Asymmetric tyres are known for providing excellent performance as they provide good grip on a variety of road conditions.

Directional Tyres - Directional tyres are made specifically to rotate in one specific direction. The tread pattern is usually in the form of a ‘V’ shape which is intended to distribute water away from the tyres, to avoid aquaplaning. These tyres are also known for being particularly good at creating directional stability and reducing noise levels. These tyres are known for performing well in wet conditions - so consider purchasing these if you are expecting plenty of wet and rainy weather.

Symmetrical Tyres - Unsurprisingly, symmetrical tyres offer a pattern that is symmetrical. These tyres are great all-rounders as they can be placed in any position of the vehicle and can travel in any direction. Often commonplace for cars in urban locations, symmetrical tyres offer excellent grip. Yet, they are not advised for those in rural areas as they aren’t well suited to wet and slippery conditions. 

Reasons Why You Need to Change or Alter Your Tyres

Now that we have briefly discussed the different types of tyres you can expect to find in a dealership, we will now explore the different reasons as to why you may need to change or alter your tyres. Many car owners may not initially consider this as they may have the misconception that changing tyres is costly and time-consuming. However, this doesn’t need to be the case. What’s more, if it prevents you and your family from being involved in road traffic accidents, then it is certainly a worthy investment. 

You are moving to a rural area

If you are moving from an urban area to a rural area or vice versa, you should most certainly consider changing your tyres. As mentioned above, tyres have different tread patterns which affect their grip and road resistance. Therefore, the tread patterns that you had on your original tyres that allowedyou to smoothly cruise the streets of London, may not be suited to the small muddy country lanes of the Chiltern Hills or Hertfordshire.

You travel long distances for work by car

If you have moved to a rural area or you are self-employed, you may find that you need to travel long distances by car for work. If this is the case, having a small second-hand car with small wheels simply won’t cut the mustard. Having a sturdy car and tyres that travel out in all weather conditions and can survive a variety of road terrains is key. 

Seasons are changing

It is inevitable that seasons will change throughout the year, from icy winters to hot summers and as the weather changes, it is vital that you have car tyres that are optimised to perform well in these conditions. You simply don’t want to be stuck in a position where you cannot drive to work, take your children to school or find yourself in an emergency situation when it's snowing heavily outside. 

You can easily purchase the correct tyres with either optimised tread patterns or thicker rubber, which are purely designed to help with grip and keep you and your family safe.

Your tyres need replacing

This one may seem obvious, but if your tyres visibly look worn out or you have a flat tyre, then you need to have your tyres replaced. Blown out and flat tyres can cause a variety of problems on the road - if you do notice a problem before you start driving, make sure to contact a car mechanic near you.

It is recommended by the DVLA to check your car tyres when they are cold, before any long journey or simply every two weeks; this will help you accurately decipher whether the pressures are correct. What’s more, you need to make sure that your tyres have the legal tyre tread depth of 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tyre. However, many tyre experts believe that a tread depth of 3mm is best for tyre replacement. 

You can easily check your tyre’s treads by using a 20p coin to measure the depth of the tread. If you place the 20p coin within the tyres tread grooves, and you can’t see the outer band of the coin - then your tyres are considered safe to use. However, if you can see the outer band of the coin, you should look getting your tyres replaced.

What to consider when buying car tyres

Price

When searching for car tyres, you need to consider not only your budget but the price of the tyres that you are looking to buy. The cost of tyres will affect their quality and what they offer, such as extra safety and good eco-efficiency. The type of car that you have may also reflect the price. A 4x4 tyre will most likely be more expensive than tyres for smaller hatchbacks as they are larger, faster and can be driven on a wider variety of road surfaces.

Load index and speed rating

The speed rating of your tyre is often overlooked, but it is vital for having the right tyres fitted to your vehicle. A tyre speed rating is listed on the side of the tyre, alongside with the tyre size. The speed rating is the maximum speed that the car can travel with these tyres. These are often quite particular increments as they are based on a conversion of kilometres into miles per hour. 

Similar to the speed rating, the load index is a numeral value that indicates the maximum load weight that your vehicle can carry. If you are unsure about this, then either check the old tyres or consult your vehicle handbook. It is important that you check this as if you get the wrong tyres, then your vehicles insurance could become void.

Second-hand tyres

For many drivers, getting brand new tyres aren’t an option simply because they are too expensive. Luckily, there are many second-hand tyre options out there. There are many misconceptions that buying second-hand tyres will mean that you are compromising on both quality and safety. Yet, second-hand tyres, when bought from a manufacturer or accredited mechanic must comply to legal standards - so you can be assured that they are safe to use. 

St Albans Car Clinic - Car Garage and Reputable Mechanics in Hertfordshire

If you are looking to buy tyres online or you are searching for ‘car mechanic near me’, then you have come to the right place. Well seasoned in car repairs, here at St Albans,  we offer a variety of services including MOTs, fault diagnostics, general car maintenance and, of course, car tyre supplies. Our team can check for your tyres’ safety and whether they are legal to use on the road. What’s more, we supply a wide variety of tyres for cars of all shapes and sizes, from part-worn tyres to shiny new tyres.

We can understand that tyre emergencies can occur, especially when we least expect it. That is why we pride ourselves on offering car tyre repair and fitting in a same-day turnaround, so you can get back out on the road as soon as possible. To find out more or to speak with a member of our team, simply contact us today.

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