Choosing The Right Tyres For Your Vehicle

Your choice of tyre has a big impact on how your car handles out on the road, which is why it's so important to pick a tyre suited to your driving style and the environment in which your car is regularly driven. Factors including handling, top speed, grip and ride comfort are all largely dictated by the type of tyre that you use, meaning that tyre choice also has a big impact on your safety. But how do you know which tyre is right for your vehicle, when there's so many to choose from?

A good starting point is to go with a reputable brand, such as Bridgestone, Michelin or Goodyear because they guarantee a good build quality and offer a selection of different tyre types. From there, you'll want to focus your attention on four general categories of tyres: all-season, performance, winter and off-road. All-season tyres are perhaps the most popular and versatile tyre type available, and are a natural choice for drivers who need consistent performance all year round. Its hard, rubber compound gives it good longevity and usually features a tread design that copes well with wet conditions while not making too much noise. As a trade-off, all-season tyres don't handle as well as other tyre types and do not offer optimum levels of grip or cornering performance. However, they are a practical choice well-suited to everyday uses.

If you are looking to maximise your car's handling however, you'll want to consider fitting performance tyres. With a softer compound and tread designs tailored to enhance grip, performance tyres handle better at high speeds and offer superior cornering. At the same time, they do not offer the longevity or wet-weather performance of all-season tyres, meaning they aren't the best choice for family cars. For sports applications, however, there's nothing better, and they're also good for long summer drives out on the open roads.

At the opposite end of the scale sit winter and off-road tyres which both feature harder compounds and grip-maximising tread designs. Winter tyres are designed to 'bite' into snow and ice, meaning they wear faster than other tyres when used on normal roads, but their ability to stay pliable at very low temperatures makes them invaluable in icy conditions. Off-road tyres utilise a larger tread block and stiff sidewalls to cope with the less solid mud surfaces, but lead to poor ride comfort and noise levels when used conventionally. Both types of tyres have primarily specialist applications and should only be considered if your vehicle regularly confronts these conditions.

In your search for new tyres, you may also come across 'retreads'; these are basically second-hand tyres which may be more economical and therefore more tempting. Remember, though, that retreads suffer in terms of longevity and grip, and that a brand new set of tyres should offer a better return on investment in the long term.

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