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It's probably the most important part of the vehicle but how many of us really know what to look out for when choosing the right tyre for our ride?

13 Apr 2010 | Category: Car Technical Advice


Tyres are the most direct part of a vehicle that comes into contact with the road.

However when it comes to shopping for them, the library of confusing terminologies, specifications and brands to consider usually puts drivers not too familiar with tyres out of interest relatively quickly.


With this article, we'll try to keep things as simple and as direct as possible to spare you all that unnecessary brain activity.

Whether or not you're driving a Toyota Altis or a 500 plus horsepower track warrior, tyres are very important.

First, determine the purpose for the use of your tyres. Do you need it to last for several thousand kilometers before changing without compromising your safety and comfort? Or do you need it to tame all the horsepower gained from installing all the go-fast after market tuning parts? Once you've decided, you can start scouting the tire market.

Some consumers tend to buy tyres based on the brand. Some choose based on the price and some, just want the best that money can buy. To help you along the way in understanding the world of tyres so you know what you're looking out for the next time around it's time for replacements, we'll analyse the numbers and figures marked on the wall of your tyres:

Variation

On your tyre's label, the figure normally starts with a letter.

Example: P195/55/R15 84V - P being the highlighted spec corresponds to the tire type, for this case it's for passenger cars


Size

Make sure you know what size your wheels are for a proper fit. If you get this wrong the tyre won't sit properly on the wheel and could be either too stressed, come off while driving or even both!

Example: P195/55/R15 84V - R15 being the highlighted spec corresponds to the tire size

Width

Tire width is one thing to consider especially if you want more grip. The wider the tire, the more contact area it has with the road. It's determined by the first three numbers after the tyre type. The higher the figure the wider the tire, the smaller the figure, the narrower it is.

Example: P195/55/R15 84V - 195 being the highlighted spec corresponds to the tire width

Tread pattern

The tread determines a lot of your tires grip and comfort characteristics. Nicely spaced treads normally give a decent amount of grip levels for everyday driving. This also gives it a low decibel rating meaning the tire is quiet enough for everyday road use.


Aggressive V pattern treads tend to be high grip and performance related. The trade-off is the increase in road noise with this pattern. Since Singapore tends to get a lot of rain, you might want to consider a tire with a tread pattern that works well in dissipating water in wet conditions.

This will give you much needed control over your car especially when you're in the wet and called to make sudden changes in your driving.

Speed rating

This is one area consumers tend to overlook. Personally, I think this matter more for high performance cars. If you are going to do any high speed driving in your car, make sure your tyres can cope with the speed and the heat that in generates.

Listed below are the different speed ratings for tires:

Example: P195/55/R15 84V - V being the highlighted spec corresponds to the speed rating

Q - 160 kph
S - 180 kph
T - 190 kph
U - 200 kph
H - 210 kph
V - 240 kph
W - 270 kph
Y - 300 kph
(Y) - Above 300 kph

Profile

Tyres with a low profile such as a 40 or 50 series will look good on your car but you get to feel more of the roads' imperfections. It exposes your wheels also to a lot of curb side damage not unless the tire has a rim guard.

Higher profile tires are more comfortable to use thus you see them more on OEM applications because they feel more comfortable to drive and is a lot forgiving on the wheels.

Example: P195/55/R15 84V - 55 being the highlighted spec corresponds to the tire profile

Maintenance


Tyre car and maintenance is a pretty straightforward thing to do. Make sure you inflate the tires with air according to the general recommendations of the tire manufacturer. It's been proven that loading your tires with nitrogen air does wonders for its life and the ability to keep tire temperatures more constant. Regularly check your tyres air pressure and make sure it doesn't have any punctures from road debris. You can't go wrong in choosing the right tyre if you're a smart consumer. Understand your car's needs and yours as a driver. With the plethora of tyre manufacturers in the market, one is sure to find the right set of tires for ones budget and demands.

Happy motoring!

For user reviews and product information on all performance tyres and comfort tyres in Singapore, you can visit our car accessories product guide.

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