Tyre buying guide: What type and brand to choose?

The tyres of your car will need periodic replacement. Depending on the kind of vehicle you drive this replacement schedule can be anywhere between 40,000 km to 70,000 km. But when it comes time to replace your tyres, what choices do you have?

There are at least 14 brands of tyres that are easily available in India, catering to hatchbacks, sedans and SUVs, besides other commercial vehicles.

Hatchbacks and smaller sedans will see more frequent replacements as they have a thinner tread height and therefore wear off sooner. SUV tyres usually last longer, again depending on the kind of tyre chosen – whether it’s for highway performance, off-road performance or a mix of both. Also read: 5 points to consider when buying tyres.

When buying a tyre there are four other things to consider – price, performance, lifespan and the comfort factor.

Tyre buying guide: What type and brand to choose?

Price options

If you are strictly on a budget, then it’s obvious you may want to go for the cheapest available brand. Indian brands are usually cheaper than imported brands. MRF, Apollo and JK tyre are some of the better known Indian tyre brands. And then there are some Taiwanese makes like Maxxis which are slightly cheaper than Indian brands.

For a hatchback like the Maruti Alto or the Wagon R (13-inch rims), the cheapest options would include the Maxxis MA-P1 155/65 R13 with prices starting at Rs. 2,400 a tyre. There’s also Nexen (a Korean brand) at Rs. 2,200 a tyre. Indian brands like MRF ZVTS and JK Tyre range from Rs. 2,600 a tyre to Rs. 2,800 a tyre. The most expensive tyre in this category are Bridgestone Turanza, Yokohama A-Drive and Michellin XM2 priced between Rs. 2,800 and Rs. 3,200 a tyre.

If you are looking for a sedan tyre, such as that for the Honda City (15-inch rims) or Hyundai Verna (16-inch rims) prices are a little higher. Tyres for the Honda City from Indian brands start at Rs. 3,600 for Apollo Amazers, going up to Rs. 5,100 for Michelin XM2 a premium brand. For the Hyundai Verna, prices start at Rs. 3,800 for JK Tyre Vectra, going up to Rs. 5,200 for Michelin Energy XM2.

For SUVs like the Mahindra Scorpio and the Tata Safari, there is a huge choice available. Chinese and Korean brands appear to be cheaper at Rs. 6,300 to Rs. 6,500 a tyre, while Indian brands such as MRF Wanderer, are priced at about Rs. 6,700 a tyre. OEM tyres that come with the Safari or Scorpio such as Bridgestone Dueler HT cost about Rs. 7,500 a tyre, while all-terrain type tyres from Yokohama cost about Rs. 7,200 a tyre. Performance tyres such as Michelin or Pirelli Scorpio cost about Rs. 8,800 a tyre!

Performance options

If you are looking for performance – especially for high-speed highway runs, then a tread pattern that’s unidirectional or simple will be better as it reduces road noise and gives good road grip. For premium hatchbacks like the Maruti Swift, Honda Jazz or Hyundai i20, high-performance tyres will include brands such as Michelin Energy XM2, Bridgestone Turanza, or Goodyear Duraplus cost between Rs. 4,600 and 5,200 a tyre. These tyres have a softer compound and give good grip and low road noise.

For SUVs you need to figure out your usage. If it’s mainly highway, then an HT (highway terrain) tread pattern would be better. The better selling of the lot include Pirelli Scorpions, Michelin Latitude and Bridgestone Dueler. These tyres have low rolling resistance and are best suited to the highway.

If you do a lot of off-road driving then you will need all-terrain tyres to get better on-road and off-road manners, which include grip and better durability. However, all-terrain tyres have more road noise and not the best for comfort. Yokohama Geolander, Apollo Hawkz, MRF Wanderer are some of the popular all-terrain tyre brands. They are slightly more expensive than HT rated tyres, as they have thicker and wider tread blocks.

Comfort options

If you are looking for comfort from your car, stay away from low-profile tyres – as the thinner the rubber is, the stiffer the ride. Look for tyre sizes that match the cars OEM specifications. Also look for tyres that have a softer compound, which may not last long, but will give you good road grip and a comfortable ride. The sidewalls need to offer some more flex to cushion the vehicle.

For sedans like the Honda City, the most comfortable tyre options would include the Goodyear GT3 which has good cushioning and also MRF ZV2K that’s a popular option. For heavier vehicles like the Toyota Innova or Maruti Ertiga, which are people movers and need high comfort one of the best tyres on offer is Michelin Primacy that costs about Rs. 6,700 a tyre. A good mix of performance and comfort would be the Goodyear GT3 priced at about Rs. 5,300 a tyre.

Long life options

If performance, comfort and price is not really a priority, but you want a tyre that lasts longer, especially for people who do a lot of mileage, you need to look at long life tyre options. These tyres will have a harder compound and may not be great for ride quality overall, but they will have extended life. Goodyear’s Ducaro Hi-Miler is one such brand, which costs about Rs. 2,700 a tyre for a Wagon-R or Estilo. Bridgestone B250 is another popular brand that lasts at least 45,000 km between changes on normal use for a hatchback.

For SUVs, all-terrain tyres tend to last longer because of the thicker rubber used. A Yokohama Geolander AT set can last up to 70,000 km on a Safari or Scorpio compared to only 60,000 km or so for their HT counterparts.

Buying tyres can be quite a stressful experience as the choices of brands and prices are vast. If you need guidance on the right kind of tyre for your car, post a query on and our experts will guide you to the best choice based on your needs.