Choosing Car Tyres – Tread Carefully

For most of us, car tyres are an expense we could do without. They usually require replacing at the most inconvenient time and therefore we either look for the cheapest deal or go with whatever the garage has offered you.

However, tyres can make a difference in how your car handles as well as your car’s fuel consumption so it’s worth considering the different options available. Here’s how to find the best tyre for your car and budget.

Tyre Ratings

Tyre ratings, as presented in the tyre label above, can help you make an informed choice to suit your needs. There are three components to the label:

Fuel Efficiency

The first diagram refers to how much rolling resistance the tyre has when the wheels are turning. The best rating is an A grade and G, the worst. If you do not cover great distances, this shouldn’t greatly concern you, but if you do a lot of miles, then the difference in the efficiency of over 7% between A and G can mean a lot! 

Wet Grip

This is THE important one! Wet weather conditions can adversely affect stopping distances of a car. The wet grip score on the tyre label is an indicator of how well a tyre performs when braking in the wet. An A graded tyre can mean a stopping distance of almost 20 meters shorter than a G rated one. That is at least two cars in distance.

What it also means though is that your car is more likely to lock up the brakes under heavy braking sooner with a G rated tyre as opposed to an A-rated tyre. If your car doesn’t have an anti-lock braking system (ABS) this will mean a loss of control. 

Noise

The third indicator is the amount of noise a tyre makes at 50mph and is expressed in decibels (dB). The higher the figure, the louder the noise. For most car owners this is of little concern, just turn the radio up! The other bit of information that is hidden in that picture though is the black filled arcs coming out from the tyre. One filled arc means the tyre complies with the legal limits of the future, whilst three filled black arcs means is just above the currently permitted maximum and future lower limits.

So what should you choose? Quite simply it’s a balance. A fuel-efficient tyre may be rated as an A because it has lower rolling resistance, however, this will impact the wet grip which will mean it scores lower on this indicator. The same for excellent wet grip vs fuel efficiency. 

Our advice is to get the best-rated tyres for your budget. For the average motorist, keeping the wet rating as a B or under and the efficiency rating under a C means you won’t go too far wrong in your choice.

To better understand how to choose a car tyre, we had a chat with our expert Head Mechanic in Residence, Nigel Bennett, to take us through how he chooses a tyre for his car.

Could you tell us more about how you choose car tyres?

This is the tyre choice for my car on the ClickMechanic website. I change the rating into numbers. So for Efficiency, A gets a score of 7, G gets a 1. For Wet Grip, which is the most important, A gets a 21, B get an 18, C gets 10 etc.

Here is the list in price order.

Tyre Cost Efficiency Wet Grip Score VFM
Joyroad ‘Sport RX6’ £93.00 3 18 54 1.72
RoadX ‘Rxmotion U11’ £102.47 2 15 30 3.42
Bridgestone ‘Potenza S007’ £167.29 2 15 30 5.58
Pirelli ‘Cinturato P7’ £173.05 5 18 90 1.92
Uniroyal ‘RainSport 5’ £176.76 5 21 105 1.68
Avon ‘ZV7’ £176.76 3 21 63 2.81
Bridgestone ‘Potenza RE050A £177.55 3 18 54 3.29
Firestone ‘RoadHawk’ £181.50 5 21 105 1.73
Yokohama ‘Advan Sport V105’ £188.61 3 21 63 2.99
Bridgestone ‘Turanza T005’ £188.92 6 21 126 1.50
Goodyear ‘Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5’ £189.32 5 15 75 2.52
BFGoodrich ‘g-Grip’ £190.97 5 18 90 2.12
Pirelli ‘P Zero Nero GT’ £191.45 5 18 90 2.13
Dunlop ‘SP SportMaxx RT2’ £191.84 5 21 105 1.83
Bridgestone ‘Potenza S001’ £192.00 2 18 36 5.33
Michelin ‘Pilot Sport 3’ £192.47 3 21 63 3.06
Goodyear ‘Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5’ £197.45 6 18 108 1.83
Goodyear ‘Eagle F1 SuperSport’ £198.87 3 21 63 3.16
Continental ‘Sport Contact 5’ £205.00 5 18 90 2.28
Continental ‘Sport Contact 6’ £205.00 2 18 36 5.69
Bridgestone ‘Weather Control A005’ £232.00 5 21 105 2.21
Bridgestone ‘Potenza RE050A’ £244.45 2 18 36 6.79

 

And here is the same list in score order

Tyre Cost Efficiency Wet Grip Score VFM
Bridgestone ‘Turanza T005’ £188.92 6 21 126 1.50
Goodyear ‘Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5’ £197.45 6 18 108 1.83
Uniroyal ‘RainSport 5’ £176.76 5 21 105 1.68
Firestone ‘RoadHawk’ £181.50 5 21 105 1.73
Dunlop ‘SP SportMaxx RT2’ £191.84 5 21 105 1.83
Bridgestone ‘Weather Control A005’ £232.00 5 21 105 2.21
Pirelli ‘Cinturato P7’ £173.05 5 18 90 1.92
BFGoodrich ‘g-Grip’ £190.97 5 18 90 2.12
Pirelli ‘P Zero Nero GT’ £191.45 5 18 90 2.13
Continental ‘Sport Contact 5’ £205.00 5 18 90 2.28
Goodyear ‘Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5’ £189.32 5 15 75 2.52
Avon ‘ZV7’ £176.76 3 21 63 2.81
Yokohama ‘Advan Sport V105’ £188.61 3 21 63 2.99
Michelin ‘Pilot Sport 3’ £192.47 3 21 63 3.06
Goodyear ‘Eagle F1 SuperSport’ £198.87 3 21 63 3.16
Joyroad ‘Sport RX6’ £93.00 3 18 54 1.72
Bridgestone ‘Potenza RE050A £177.55 3 18 54 3.29
Bridgestone ‘Potenza S001’ £192.00 2 18 36 5.33
Continental ‘Sport Contact 6’ £205.00 2 18 36 5.69
Bridgestone ‘Potenza RE050A’ £244.45 2 18 36 6.79
RoadX ‘Rxmotion U11’ £102.47 2 15 30 3.42
Bridgestone ‘Potenza S007’ £167.29 2 15 30 5.58

With so many choices, how do you make a decision?

Uniroyal Rain Sport’s! I’m not too fussed about the efficiency and they are the cheapest in that band – a saving of £48 over the top-rated Bridgestone. The other thing is that Bridgestone is a very soft compound. They are excellent, but only for 7,500 miles if that! If I didn’t drive my cars “enthusiastically” and just pottled about, then I would consider the Joyroad.

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