Best Tyre Buying Guide 2021 | The Sun UK
ALTHOUGH they might not seem that exciting, buying the right tyres is crucial for your car's handling, braking performance and ride.
Maintaining the condition of your tyres is also a very important part of keeping your motor in roadworthy condition.
They're undervalued by many road users, and they can be complicated, so we've broken it all down in this best tyre buying guide.
Tyre size is defined by something looking a bit like this: 205/55 R 16 V
You’ll find this information on the tyre wall itself (sometimes inside your handbook) but the easiest way nowadays is to plug your registration into a site like KwikFit – it cross-references your car and will tell you the tyre size you need.
More specifically, this number means the following: width (in mm)/side profile diameter (in inches) speed rating and tyre load index:
2. Tyre Width
Faster cars tend to have wider tyres, since the contact area is broader, rather than longer and gives more grip when cornering.
Ill-fitting tyres will not only put more wear on mechanical component parts of your motor, but could also invalidate your insurance, if not declared, and make your car unsafe.
This allows you to match the ability of the tyre to the top speed of the car.
Tyre technology has come a long way. Tyre compounds are designed to work in different conditions — i.e. summer tyres like dry roads and winter tyres have extra treads to deal with wet, icy conditions.
All-season tyres are relatively well suited to the UK climate since they can handle cooler weather and hotter roads, but with any tyre, there’s always something it does well and something it doesn’t do so well.
All you can do is pick a tyre best suited to the climate in which you drive most often. If you do want to switch winter to summer, be prepared to find storage for the tyres that aren’t being used.
Labels came in as part of an EU directive. They are a requirement and give information about fuel efficiency, wet weather performance and noise level.
- Fuel Efficiency – A-G where G is the least fuel efficient. Unbranded tyres tend to have greater inefficiency.
- Wet weather performance – Also rated A-G, the difference between each letter is around 2.5 metres when braking from 50mph
- Noise – The lower the decibels (dB), the more comfortable long journeys will be and the less tired you’ll feel driving. Also, if it has two bars, it’ll meet regulatory requirements in the future. Those with three bars don’t.
5. Tyre Fitting
There are plenty of well-known tyre fitting brands, such as Kwik-Fit, Halford Autocentres, ATS and National Tyres and Autocare. Local garages are also worth considering. However, bear in mind a few things:
- They may not be able to offer same-day fitting, since your particular tyres might not be a size they store.
- They may not have the machines needed to do the tracking (see below)
- Finally, check the age of the tyres if they do happen to have them in stock. On the sidewall of the tyre, there’s a four-digit number, e.g. 1216. The first part indicates the week it was made, the second two digits are the year. Tyre compounds degrade over time, so anything over five years shouldn’t be sold at the same price as a new tyre, since you won’t get the same level of use out of it.
Once you’ve bought your tyres, treat yourself to a tyre pressure gauge and a mini compressor to keep the air levels topped up. We're a big fan of the Ring RTC1000, which we reviewed recently.
It might also be worth considering rim protectors if you have alloys. They’re often very expensive to replace and easy to dent on curbs and awkward street furniture.
We like these Rimblades (£29.99, Halfords) as this pack of four offers great value on wheels up to 22”.
Where to buy tyres
It's super easy to buy tyres online — most websites just ask you to enter your vehicle registration number and postcode, and will then show you a range of tyres that are suitable for your vehicle and direct you to a place to get them fitted.
To be safe, it's best to check the size of the tyres quoted on the website is correct (see our section on sizing above for how to find out the size of your tyres). After all, you don't want to shell out hundreds of pounds on tyres that are the wrong size.
The price of the tyres — which can start at less than £70 and go up to more than £150 — usually includes the cost of fitting.
Some of the best sites to visit are KwikFit, ProTyre, Halfords and Black Circles.
Which are the best tyres?
According to AutoExpress — the authority on things of this nature — the best tyres to buy in 2021 are the Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2, which were released last year.
The motoring magazine awarded the Goodyears the title due to their durability; it's claimed that the Performance 2s last 50% longer than their predecessors (unsurprisingly called the Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance) and even outlast Michelin tyres, which are usually the gold standard in longevity. Not bad, for £61.50 per tyre.
- Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2, £61.50 each at KwikFit – buy here
If you're planning on giving your car a bit of love, check out our selection of the best car glass cleaner and our picks of the best car air fresheners.
We've also done a roundup of the best car vacuum cleaners.
Looking for more motoring recommendations? Check out our dedicated Sun Selects motoring section.
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