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Choosing Tyres For Your Car

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 26 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
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Choosing new tyres for your car can be a complete minefield if you've never done it before. When you're considering which tyres you need to get, you need to consider factors such as performance, price, brand, comfort, appearance and safety. But how do you know which tyres are the 'right' ones for your car?

New Cars vs Used Cars

If you bought the car from new, it's a safe bet that you can just replace the old tyres with the same type that the car came with. However if the car was used when you bought it, you can't be sure that the previous owner has chosen the correct type of tyres on the vehicle you purchased.

If you are buying a used car, it's a good idea to do your research and make sure that the car you are buying has the correct tyres fitted. If not, replacing them all with the right type once you own the car would be a good idea.

When looking at new cars, different kinds of vehicle will come with different tyres. 4x4's, trucks, cars and high performance cars will all come with tyres specific to the individual vehicle. These tyres are great for a variety of conditions, will last for differing lengths of time and will cost varying amounts of money to replace.

What Kind of Tyres?

You need to make sure that you know what kind of tyres your car will need when it comes to replacement time, and make sure that you do change them as soon as the time comes (or slightly earlier if possible).

You can change the tyres on your vehicle to another type, but you really do need to do your research first and make sure that the new type is suitable for the vehicle you wish to fit them to.

Where you live can affect your tyre choice. Conditions such as frequent rain, snow, heavy winter weather or extreme heat can all affect the type of tyre that you need to use. In the UK it's not really that much of an issue, but in places like the United States of America where the weather varies hugely from state to state, you will find that car manufacturers equip their vehicles with tyres that are well-suited to the conditions in that particular area.

Different tyre types vary hugely in function as well as price. High performance tyres are usually quite expensive and wear out more quickly, so are not necessarily worth the extra cash - it depends on your priorities. There are all season tyres, performance all season tyres, ultra-high performance tyres, winter tyres and tyres made especially for 4x4's to name a few. If you drive a high-performance sporty car you might not worry in the slightest about having to buy expensive tyres to keep this car up to scratch. On the other hand, if you need a 4x4 to get through farmland, or sludgy mud-strewn roads to get the kids to school, you should appreciate when you buy the car that the tyres are going to be expensive to maintain.

When Should I Replace Them?

How do you know when it's time to replace your tyres? In the UK, the legal limit for minimum depth of the tread on your tyres is 1.6 mm, across the central ¾ of the tread going around the complete circumference of the tyre.

If your tyre treads drop below this level you could face a penalty of up to 3 points on your licence and £2500 per tyre. 'Bald' tyres will also mean your car fails its MOT test.

Tyres are made with tread wear indicators in the grooves along the tread to help drivers see when their tyres are nearing the legal limit. Although the legal limit is 1.6mm, most motor safety organizations suggest that the tyres should be replaced when the tread depth reaches 3mm as it is recognised across the country that the current legal limit isn't really sufficient to protect drivers caught up in adverse driving conditions.

Should I Get a Professional Opinion?

Of course if you're not confident about your choices, or you're not sure about which tyres to get for your car, speak to a professional. That's what they're there for, and if you go to a reputable company, they will be able to point you in the right direction.

Finally, remember that if you do change your tyres to something more high performance, you may need to inform your insurance company as it can sometimes affect the price of your premium, though whether this is the case should be outlined by your insurance provider in your policy documents.

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