7 essential factors you must consider to choose the best tyres for your car

Car Advice    Zia Xin


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Changing car tyres is an essential part of maintenance that every driver has to face. The tyres you choose can determine your whole driving experience—tyres affect how well your car handles, the speed which you can drive at, and the conditions you can drive in. But most importantly, they affect your car's safety. The best tyre is not the same for everyone—it depends on your personal driving style. Using these 7 criteria, you can judge which tyres will be most suitable for your own requirements.

1. Tyre Width

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The width of your tyre is shown in the first 3 digits of your tire label. For example, A P197/40/R15/V tyre would be 197 millimetres wide. Tyre width is important for grip—a wider tyre has more contact with the road, so it's better on wet roads. A narrower tyre is less useful for providing grip, but the smaller contact area makes less noise while driving. All-weather performance or driving comfort: it's up to you.

2. Tyre Profile

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Another factor closely related to tyre width is the tyre profile. This is the thickness of the sidewall, as a percentage of your tyre's width. You can find your tyre profile on the label as well. If your tyre label is P197/40/R15/V, your tyre profile is 40. A high profile (above 50) provides more protection, for a more comfortable drive and longer lasting wheels. A low profile tyre, on the other hand, is more prone to damage, but the narrower sidewalls are considered better-looking, and provide better steering performance.

3. Tyre Size

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For safety purposes, it's important to get tyres that are the right size for your car. Tyres that do not fit properly can cause additional stress on the heel, or even come off while driving, causing road accidents. The tyre size is represented by the two digits of your tyre label that comes after the letter "R". For example, in P197/40/R15/V, the tyre size is R15.

4. Speed Rating

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Your speed rating is the last letter on your tyre label, so if your tyre label is P197/40R15/V, then V is your speed rating. This letter will corresponds to a certain speed on the speed chart, listed below. In general, a higher speed rating means a better grip and stopping power, but also less durable treads. If you're planning to drive fast, it might be worth it to get tyres that handle a higher speed, and change them more often.

Speed chart:

Q - 160 kph

S - 180 kph

T - 190 kph

U - 200 kph

H - 210 kph

V - 240 kph

W - 270 kph

Y - 300 kph

(Y) - Above 300 kph

5. Tread Pattern

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There are three possible tyre tread patterns—symmetrical, directional, and asymmetrical.

Symmetrical is the most common type— narrow treads arranged in a wave pattern. These tyres are best for a quiet performance, but perform less well in the rain, as the design is not suited for water dispersion.

For top rain performance, you will need a directional tread—treads in a wide V-shape, designed to rotate only in one direction. Because of the wider design, these tires are better at dispersing water and road grip. However, this design also makes them much noisier than symmetrical tyres, which can be irritating while driving.

An asymmetrical tread can help with both concerns—these treads are designed with half the surface suited for rain, and the other half for noise reduction, so you can have the best of both worlds. They do tend to be more expensive, so it's up to you whether the extra cost is worth it.

The right tread pattern for you depends on your driving needs and habits—do you need better wet weather performance, or do you prefer a quiet drive?

6. Tyre Age

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Tyres do not have to be on the road to deteriorate—even when stored, the rubber can soften over time. To be on the safe side, do not get tyres that are more than 6 years old. The manufacturing date can be found in the last four digits of the DOT code on the sidewall. For example, "3210" would mean the tyre was manufactured in the 32 nd week of 2010. Check your manufacturing dates to make sure you're buying safe tyres!

Click here to find out some other reasons why your tyres might spoil!

7. Manufacturer's Warranty

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Manufacturers normally offer a warranty for their tyres. But the warranty on tyres can be quite limited—there's often a long list of damages that aren't covered. Different manufacturers also offer different time periods for their warranty. While choosing your tyre brand, take a look at the warranty as well, so you can choose a brand that provides good coverage for you.

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