Running a car is a hard job, especially given that you need to change the tyres every time they start losing tread, isn’t it? However, here’s a quick look at how to choose a new set of tyres for you car, because added grip is another reason to celebrate. And to be true, upgrading tyres isn’t that big a deal, but the rewards are plenty. Here are five quick tips to take care of that:
Unless we’re talking about performance-oriented products, car manufactures have to choose tyres (both size and brand) keeping a couple of things in mind: price, rolling resistance, fuel economy, brand value, grip levels etc. Unfortunately, performance isn’t always the top priority. Upsizing can help you get better grip and stability.
If you want to play safe, then stick to the OEM spec tyres, but if you want to explore the hidden talent of your car’s chassis, then upsizing the best way forward.
Upsizing changes the way your car steers, registers speed in the speedometer, and even the way it looks, but it needs to be done keeping a few things in mind. First is that, one should not go overboard. An upgrade by one size won’t go wrong, but go beyond the permitted limit, and you can be welcomed by a lot of issues – the sidewalls could start rubbing against the wheel arches, there could be excessive wear of suspension components, etc.
You can check the tyre size calculator here (courtesy Team-BHP). It offers crucial data regarding speedometer error and even ground clearance. For more information, have a look at CarToq’s buying guide for alloy wheels, which also throws light on upsizing and how the best balance between an increase in size and decrease in profile be achieved.
Compound and Tread Pattern
The rubber compound of which a specific tyre is made is again something very important to consider while switching tyres. A hard compound will last longer but will not offer as much grip as one made with softer compound rubber. The latter, on the other hand, will be better in terms of grip, but won’t live as long.
Another thing that must be kept in mind is the tyre wall. A softer tyre wall is better to soak bumps and go over undulations, but it affects the handling characteristics of the car – the turn ins will not be as sharp.
As for tread pattern, they deal with different types of driving conditions. A grooved one will be useful off the road, while one with slits will help dissipate water, thus improving the wet grip of the tyre.
Buying new tyres is certainly the way to go. Avoid old rubber – it can be worse than it looks and the saving that you might make can eventually be turned into a larger expense. Also, a tyre’s life isn’t determined by how much kilometres it has done but also by how old it is.
Rubber is perishable, and the effect of weather (and time) can be seen in the form of cracks. The same applies to brand new tyres as well – they do have a shelf life, but it’s always best to get the newest ones possible.
Final things to keep in mind
There’s no point in being a brand-snob here, but if a certain tyre offers you more for a marginal cost, get that. Don’t ever compromise on that! It’s a one-time decision, and if all goes fine, the tyre is going to last another 40,000 or so kilometers. Warranty is another important thing, and check if the tyre company has a widespread dealer network – that will take care of replacement issues, etc.
Most tyre outlets have their own fitting, balancing, and alignment services, so make use of that. As for the tyre itself, check the manufacturing date (first and foremost), check for bulges/defects, and if there are any, just don’t accept the tyre.