Buying a tyre – What you need to know

Your tyres provide the contact between your car and the road. Clearly they play an extremely important part not only in your car’s performance, but overall safety. Without the right tyres, or tyres that are worn, your car’s ability to maximise traction with the road is compromised, and that can have serious consequences. So when looking for new tyres it is best to go to experts. It also pays to have a little knowledge of the basics as well, so you can feel assured you are getting the right tyres for your car.

The first thing to be aware of is the specifications your car’s manufacturer has outlined for your car. You don’t have to stick to a particular brand, but the tyres you buy must fit the wheel properly, and be of a size and type recommended by the manufacturer. It is also important that both tyres on one axle have the same tread pattern & tread depth, or braking, steering and handling could be comprised.

You may notice on the side of tyres there is a complex looking code. This provides all of the information you need to know about that tyre. For example, if a tyre has a code like this on its side – P205/65R15 94H – here’s what each part means:

  • ‘P’ means it is a passenger tyre
  • 205’ refers to the section width of the tyre when it is properly inflated. The section width is the distance between the tyre’s exterior sidewalls.
  • ‘65’ is a percentage describing the tyre’s ‘aspect ratio’. This ratio relates to the comparison between the tyre’s section height and width.
  • ‘R’ stands for radial, which is a common tyre type and relates to its construction type.
  • ‘15’ is the wheel’s diameter in inches
  • ‘94’ describes the tyre’s load rating, which in this case is 670 kg. This is an index and relates to the maximum load that a tyre can carry at its maximum speed capability
  • ‘H’ is a code for the speed rating and in this case it means it is rated to travel at 210 km/h, when carrying a maximum load of 670 kg

This may all seem quite complex but in essence it is just a very simple way of conveying all the information you need to know when the times comes to replacing your tyres. Don’t be afraid to do some research upfront and see what tyres get good reviews in car magazines and professional websites. Your tyre expert will also have some recommendations. When expertly fitted and aligned a good set of tyres is pivotal in providing efficient performance and safety, just as the maker intended, and will be one of the most important purchases you make for your car.

Always ensure that you get your tyres fitted at a KEMRA recommended garage. This will not only guarantee that you get the proper tyres but also guarantees you then best service. Some recommended garages also offer discounted prices on other servicing with every tyre change. Check the KEMRA website for the nearest recommended garage


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