What tyres? A guide to choosing summer tyres

  • Author: OPONEO.CO.UK

When it comes to choosing tyres, many people don’t know what they need for summer tyres. Here, we explain what factors and areas you should be looking at.
 
Before we begin, however, it’s important to determine the correct tyre size to use. The easiest way to do this is to take a look at the existing tyres on your car, although this information is also displayed in the car’s manual. You should see a sequence of numbers like this: 185/60R14. This is your tyre size.

Why do You need to observe the recommended size and indexes?

The manufacturer of your car has decided on a few tyre sizes that can be installed onto your car. Apart from these sizes, the manufacturer has also given the speed and load index for your tyres. These are the approved factors for your tyre: the ones recommended by the car’s manufacturer.

Using these approved sizes and indexes is importance, as they ensure your car can operate at full performance. Using difference sizes, on the other hand, may cause your car’s ABS, ESP or ASR to work incorrectly, as well as reducing your car’s potential acceleration and grip.

Approved size and replacement tyres

When it comes to changing your tyre size, small deviations from the approved size can be allowed when using replacement products. A replacement, in this case, is a tyre or wheel whose total height does not exceed the approved size by more than 2 per cent.
 
For example, let’s assume the approved size for a vehicle is 185/65R15. By using a wider tyre, 195/60R15, we get a replacement with a height difference of 1.07 per cent, which is well within the limit. As another example, you could replace the approved size of 205/55R16 with a 195/65R15 replacement, as the height difference is only 0.58 per cent.
 
Such deviations are within acceptable limits and do not have any negative impact on traction.
 
However, you should also bear in mind that a change in tyre size may lead to incorrect readings (on your dashboard) and an increased fuel consumption (in the case of wider tyres). Check these replacements if you don’t know which ones you can use. Of course, if you’re still in doubt, you can contact our support line to get expert advice on choosing a suitable replacement.

Can I use a speed or load index that isn’t recommended?

When it comes to choosing your load index or speed index, you should not use indexes lower than your approved levels. This is prohibited, as the speed and load indexes are designed to operate with the vehicle. A tyre with a lower index, for example, significantly reduces your car’s safety, increases tread wear and raises the risk of uncontrollable behaviour.

You can, however, use tyres with higher values, even though you will not benefit in any addition way, except for increased stability when driving straight. This may even harm you in the long run, through increased rolling resistance and, hence, fuel consumption, alongside additional discomfort. A tyre with a higher speed rating is typically harder and heavier, generating more tyre noise and discomfort as a result.

Tyres with higher load indexes, likewise, can also be used but will often not benefit you. This is only recommended for high performance vehicles and estate cars, otherwise there is no significant advantage to speak of.

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Choosing summer tyres

How many tyres should You change: two or four?

The best and optimal solution is to install four identical tyres. Even though you are, from a legal perspective, allowed to drive with different tyres on different axles, you should remember that this will impact your car’s performance.
 

Two different tyre models results in two different braking distances, aquaplaning characteristics and two different ways of transmitting the car’s power to the ground. Your car’s overall behaviour will be an average value of these different parameters.

However, the grip on the rear axle is much less predictable. Because of this, if you decide to change just two tyres, you should always install them on this axle. This will decrease the risk of accidentally J-turning on wet roads, as well as improving your control in emergency situations thanks to better braking or tight cornering capabilities.

What tyre class should I choose?

In general, there are three main classes of tyre: economy, medium and premium. Every large tyre company, such as Michelin, Goodyear, Continental or Bridgestone, offers products in different classes, resulting in tyres at all prices. Typically, the price relates to the quality, so you should buy at a class that suits your needs.

What tyres should I choose? More or less expensive?

As stated, there is a close correlation between price and quality when it comes to tyres. An economy class tyre, for example, will never match the performance of a premium class product, as the latter represents the highest technological level of quality. However, a calm driver who does not drive a lot will never use the true potential of these products and will likely be just as happy with an economy class solution.

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How to choose correct tyres

Economy class tyres

The least expensive tyre brands, such as Barum, Dębica, Sava or Dayton , are manufactured using older, well tested technologies that were often used in premium tyres some time ago. This applies to both the tread pattern and the rubber compound used in the tyre construction.

In general, economy products focus on providing functionality through proven solutions, so you will not see anything innovative on them. These tyres are best for moderate urban conditions in low and medium class cars. They are designed for people looking for less costly solutions, preferably with low mileage and a calm driving style.

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The Barum Bravuris 2 - an example of an economy class tyre.]

An example of a good economy class summer tyre is the Barum Bravuris 2. If you don’t drive in excess of around 2,000 miles per month and you mainly move around a city with a calm driving manner, than economy products are for you.

Middle class tyres

The middle class is a good choice for drivers that expert more from their tyres than an average user. Middle class products offer the best compromise between quality and price and include such brands as Fulda, BFGoodrich, Kleber, Firestone or Uniroyal. These tyres can often be installed to any type of vehicle, from small cars to top-class vehicles. They perform well in everyday use, both in the city and on longer routes.

Middle class tyres are an important segment for manufacturers, due to their high popularity with drivers. As such, companies pay great attention to this class, ensuring high quality products at relatively low and agreeable prices.

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Uniroyal RainExpert - an example of a middle class summer tyre.

A great example of a middle class summer tyre would be the Uniroyal RainExpert. If you’re looking for tyres that meet your everyday needs, while still offering high quality at a low price, middle-class tyres are well suited for your expectations.

Premium class tyres

Premium class tyres are meant for demanding drivers. They are designed to perform in any situation that you may encounter in summer conditions. They can also be used on longer routes and in cities. They provide maximum safety in extreme situations, such as emergency braking.

Premium tyres form an important segment for manufacturers, as they involve massive investments in research, development and innovation. These products use the latest rubber compounds and often pioneer new tread patterns. In many ways, these tyres act as showpieces for manufacturers, providing the best quality you can get from a given company.

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The Continental ContiSportContact Vmax - an example of a premium summer tyre.

These products can be installed on middle-class vehicles, as well as limos, sports cars and other high performance vehicles. Premium tyres are produced by the likes of Bridgestone, Pirelli, Continental, Dunlop, Goodyear and Michelin  .

If you drive a lot, have an aggressive driving style or expert your tyres to provide high safety in all possible conditions, than premium class products are for you.

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What tyres? Choose the right tread pattern for you.

What Tread Pattern Should You Choose?

There are many different summer tyre models available in the UK. Our store alone has over 500, so let’s try and sort them out.

There are three different types of tread patterns on the market right now: symmetrical, asymmetrical and directional. Each of these represents a different level of technological advancement and comes with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Symmetrical tyres

Symmetrical summer tyres can be found much more frequently than their winter counterparts. This is due to the fact that a symmetrical pattern does not perform that well in winter.

In a symmetrical tread, both halves are identical, so they can be installed either way. Their main advantage is their low noise level. When combined with a good rubber compound, they can also lower your rolling resistance, decreasing fuel consumption and extending the lifespan of the tyre itself.
 
For car tyres, symmetrical options are most common in sizes between 13 and 15 inches. They are also popular options for delivery trucks. They are best suited for small and medium vehicles with low power, as they do not work well with high performance cars.

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Symmetrical tyres

We stock many popular symmetrical tyres, including the Barum Brillantis, Firestone TZ200, Dębica Passio 2, Dayton D110 and many more. If you’re looking for tyres to provide calm and safe driving in all conditions, with a small or medium vehicle, than symmetrical tyres have a lot to offer.

Asymmetrical tyres

Asymmetric tread designs are very popular options for summer tyres. The first patterns were created around 15 years ago and, around 10 years ago, became increasingly more common. Arguably, they are the fasting growing segment in the tyre market and are frequently installed as original equipment for middle and high class cars.

The asymmetric tread pattern is different on each side of the tread. The inside, with more sipes, is responsible for channelling water away, while the outside provides good handling on both straight roads and corners. This solution ensures improved stability in corners, especially when compared to other tyre types, due to its better load distribution. It also offers extended tread durability, as well as a quiet and fuel-efficient choice for drivers.

However, due to their asymmetric nature, you should always take care to install them correctly. The side marked as “inside” should always face the car, while the “outside” face should be visible when looking at the vehicle.

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Asymmetrical tyre treads.

These tyres are most commonly used in middle and premium class tyres. They are also recommended for high performance sports cars, limos and even compact city vehicles. We stock many of the world’s most popular asymmetrical tyres, including the Dunlop Sp Sport 01, Goodyear Excellence, Michelin Primacy HP, Bridgestone ER300, Continental ContiPremiumContact 2 and many others.

If you’re looking for a quiet and comfortable drive, while still offering versatile and efficient tyres, asymmetric products are right for you.

Directional tyres

Nearly all manufacturer’s produce a directional summer tyre, as it is a very popular tread pattern. This is often due to its pre-defined rolling direction.

SThese tyres have a V-shaped design, or even a herringbone pattern. Their main advantage is their superb ability to channel water away, as well as their benefits to acceleration and braking. This makes them a natural fit for powerful sports cars.

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Directional tyres

Directional tread patterns can be found in all classes of tyre (economy, middle and premium). They are most highly recommended for middle class, high class and powerful sports cars. We stock a wide range of directional tyres, including the Dunlop Sp Sport Maxx, Uniroyal Rainsport 2, Goodyear Eagle GSD 3, Toyo Proxes T1R, Fulda Carat Progresso, Vredestein Sportrac 3  and many more.

So, if you’re looking for tyres that will channel water from under your wheels and have a powerful car that demands strong grip when accelerating or braking, directional tyres are the best option for you.

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