David’s Top Ten Tyre Tips
- The more components built into a tyre, the more it will cost. They must be there for a reason, such as better stopping distance, cornering, and/or steering response. You may not be able to notice the small improvements, but it may save you from running wide on a curve over the double lines in the rain, or pranging the car in front.
- The higher the letter in the alphabet after the size brand, e.g. H,V,Z,W,Y,ZR, the more expensive it will be, and better at hanging together under extreme stress, such as high temperatures, speed or lo load.
- Larger tread blocks (or if they look the same size all over) mean noisier tyres. The more these blocks are cut up by surface (half depth) knife slots, the better it will be in the wet and the faster they will wear up until they are about half worn. After that, who knows?
- Wear vs. wet road holding. Claims that the tyre will outwear anything else means the more likely the wet road holding will be poor, because you can’t have both at optimum at the same time.
- The lower the tyre profile e.g. 55 down to 35 or lower, the faster the steering response will be, even to the stage that it just might be too twitchy for an average driver to cope with. Lower profiles also mean that more components should be built into the lower sidewall to stiffen the walls and improve the steering response. This excludes scuff ribs or spray deflectors on the outside of the walls – added to protect the sidewalls.
- The higher the air pressure, the lower the fuel consumption (generally less than 5% improvement), the harder the ride and the faster the steering response.
- The higher the number after the size brand e.g. 92 to 96 or similar, the more load the tyre can carry at higher pressures without cutting into its reserves of casing strength and durability.
- The wider the tread, the more the centre of the tread design has to be opened up with grooves to channel water from under the tyre, otherwise you can aquaplane. Overall, there might not be any more rubber there after all but it looks great, and gives the salespeson a “point of difference” on which to sell.
- The wider the tread, the more the salesperson will try to sell it to you, because you can both see that it’s wider. Besides, it’s the only part of the tyre that you can see in the tyre rack!
- The wider the tread, the more rubber is over the edges of the steel belts, putting more stress and heat there, which has to be compensated for in the design by adding more components to the tyre. So it’s back to 1!