Driving, riding, off-roading, rallying, racing, there is an endless list of what we can do with our cars. But the thing is, like legs, tyres are necessary for the movement of cars. You can have a powerful engine, a 4×4 transmission, awe-inspiring design, but hey, if your ride doesn’t have proper tyres it ain’t going nowhere! Tyres are the most overlooked important aspect of a car, overlooked mostly because cars come with it and they are not paid much attention to, unless they suffer damage or it is time to change them.
It may as well be noted that your vehicle is designed to run on specifically designed tyres and installing any tyre will just not work. In this article we will be telling you about the nitties and gritties of choosing the correct tyres for your beloved car.
Getting to know your tyres
Before you go out to choose a tyre for your car, get to know the ones that are there. Your car tyre has a plethora of information that you should know about, those numbers are not just for factory purposes but rather give you full information about the tyre. Let’s have a look at what they mean.
This tyre has 165/65 R14 79H written on it. Let’s break it down.
This is the width of the tyre, the treaded section
Height of the tyre sidewall in percentage. This is in percentage as it is in aspect to the width of the tyre.
The kind of tyre. In this case radial.
The inside diameter of the tyre or the diameter of the wheel.
Load carrying capacity index.
Speed index. This letter indicates the maximum speed permissible for this kind of tyre.
Apart from the above there is other information in fine print which mention when the tyre was manufactured among other details.
Choosing the right tyre
Now that you have gained knowledge about the tyre, here are a few things you should keep in mind before going for new tyres.
Tubeless vs Tube Tyres
Contains a rim, a tube, and a tyre as components.
Contains a rim and a tyre as components.
Tube prone to puncture and heating up due to pinching and friction between the tyre and the rim.
No heating or pinching risk due to absence of tube.
Air leaks happen quickly in case of a puncture, leading to tube bursts and tyre explosions.
Air escapes slowly from the point of puncture. Giving time to the driver to find a repair shop before coming to a halt.
In case of an unrepairable tube puncture the tube can be changed and the tyre can be reused again.
In case of damage to the tyre sidewall, the tyre will have to be replaced
Easy to repair and install
Requires a professional or someone with expertise for installation.
Tubeless tyres though high on cost are worth the price as they come with low maintenance and are much safer than tube tyres. In addition, the lack of a tube gives more control on the road leading to a pleasant riding experience.
Go for the same size
The tyres that come with your car are the best ones suited for your car, unless you are looking to change your car’s ride quality. The point is if you go for tyres bigger than the prescribed size, it is going to have a significant impact on the ride, mileage and efficiency.
Choosing a bigger tyre for aesthetics or technical improvements can be at times not in line with what the vehicle wants. For example, having a wider tyre can be an obstruction in the wheel well, while a taller tyre could also have the same repercussions, not to mention the effect it the way would have on the overall riding dynamics and of the vehicle. Your car’s speedometer reading will be skewed as the overall rotation of the wheel would be different. However, a minimal 3% increase in the overall tyre size is permissible for some vehicles. Consult a professional before you go for a bigger tyre. Never go for a smaller tyre as it won’t run the way you might intend it to and might cause a multitude of problems in the long run.
Choosing the tread pattern
The tread on the tyre is what makes the tyres grip the road and avoids slippage in wet weather conditions. In the market today there are many tread designs which improve the overall look and ride quality of the vehicle. Here are the most common types of tread patterns.
Conventional or symmetrical tread
This tread type is the most common and the most preferred as it can be mounted on the rim in any direction, can be used in any season and is cost efficient as well.
Different tread designs for different gripping purposes on different sections of the tyre. These tyres have a particular inside and outside section and should be mounted on the rim accordingly. The asymmetrical tread pattern aids in high speed cornering apart from providing better grip in different weather conditions.
These tyres have the A or V type tread pattern and are the most efficient when rotated in the specified direction. This type of tread is best at channeling water and controlling tyre noise. Yes, the tread pattern helps in eliminating noise as well.
Apart from the above there are also tyre types suited for weather and terrain types. The snow tyres for example have characteristics like deeper grooves, spikes to aid grip while driving in the snow. However, you will have to get them changed once summer sets it. Another example is of the off road tyres, these have got big blocks like tread design to aid in grip while conquering obstacles. Good for off-roading but better to get them changed if you want to be on the road.
I want to replace my tyres with bigger ones. What size should I go for?
It is advisable to go with tyres that are three percent bigger than the existing ones. Keep in mind that the increase in size will affect the overall efficiency and driveability of the vehicle.
Which type of tread pattern is the best?
The conventional tread pattern will be cost efficient and give you better grip and comfort in all conditions. These type of tyres can be mounted anyway and be rotated in any direction. However, if you are looking for lesser ride noise it would be advisable to go with the unidirectional tyres, effective at channeling water and giving you a noise free ride, these tyres are a bit high on cost but provide a much improved ride quality.
Which tyres should I install on my car?
Tubeless tyres. Though a bit more expensive than the tube tyres, tubeless tyres have many advantages when compared to their tubed predecessors, and worth the price.