When it comes to car parts and systems, it will come as little surprise that tyres are often among the ones which receive the least amount of attention from motorists. That is until something goes wrong.
Unlike bodywork, tyres are all about performance and very little about appearance. You need your tyres to go the distance, offer adequate safety and prove good value for money before you need to replace them. Cheap reliable tyres can be found at places like this local tyre fitters. This leads directly to the subject matter of this post: “which ones are better: cheap or expensive tyres?” As we shall presently see, there are no easy answers to this quandary.
How Many Tyre Choices are There?
Today motorists are confronted by such a wide variety when looking for car tyres that a distinction which only considers whether tyres are expensive or cheap cannot suffice. However, generally speaking, we can place any car tyre in any of three broad price categories. There are:
- Premium brand tyres
- Mid-range tyre brands
- Budget tyres
Premium Brand Tyres
Premium tyres are those sold by the top tyre brands: think Michelin, Pirelli, Goodyear or Bridgestone. Of course, when you pay a much higher price for these tyres part of it is due to prestige of the brand. That said though, it is worth remembering that these top companies invest huge sums of money in research and development to ensure to performance, safety and durability.
There are many research studies carried out by independent players in the automotive industry comparing performance of different tyre brands. Invariably, these studies show that premium brands of tyres offer much better performance including better grip on different road surfaces, improved and consistent wear as well as better fuel efficiency. However, the question of whether the high price tags are justified by such levels of performance is another kettle of fish altogether.
If you drive one of those high performance road monsters, the choice of premium brands for your tyres is more or less given. It is an option which also makes sense for someone who is used to driving long and hard on the highway.
Mid-range Tyre Brands
Mid-range tyres do not have as much performance potential as the premium brands but they offer very good value for money nonetheless. Here we are talking of such well known brands as Continental, Uniroyal, Kumho or Firestone. Some of the brands classified in this range are often manufactured by the premium brands under a different name.
These tyres are a great compromise for someone looking for a well-rounded pair of tyres for general use. You can always trust a set of mid-range tyres to take you pretty anywhere around the year and in varied weather conditions. Of course this is provided that they are in good condition in terms of tread level, pressure and suitability to the underlying vehicle chassis.
The budget tyre range represents the lowest echelon of classification for road car tyres. They just meet the bare minimum in terms of performance, longevity and versatility. But this is not to say they are useless. If you have a car you only use in urban roads where traffic is almost exclusively slow, budget tyres are the sensible choice. Most motorists see budget tyres as the option of choice for second cars they only use for the occasional “run-around”.
Other than Price, What Factors Should Guide your Choice of Tyres?
As detailed above, the pricing or rather the brand of a tyre is one of the most important factors to consider when buying a set of tyres for your car. But the price is not always a definitive indicator of what sort of performance or utility value you will get from tyres.
- Wear: There are many factors which contribute to the length of life a tyre will last. The most important is the purity of the rubber though factors like tread and weight of the vehicle itself contribute too to making tyres durable or brittle.
- Handling: Does the tyre offer acceptable levels of grip in different road conditions as you drive at reasonable speed?
- Stopping: Are the tyres good enough to allow you stop consistently whether under normal or emergency braking?
- Ride Noise: All tyres produce a certain level of noise. Whether this ride noise is of acceptable levels or excessive depends on the type of tread. As you can only tell ride noise once you have taken the tyres for a shake-down on the road, do your research before buying.