What tyres? A guide to choosing summer tyres

  • Author: OPONEO.CO.UK

Before we answer the question about what tyres to choose, you should first determine which size your car uses. The easiest way is to take a look at the wheels in your car. Look for a sequence like this one: 185/60R14 – this is your tyre size.

Why you should always observe the recommended sizes and indexes.

The manufacturer of your car has decided on a few tyre sizes that can be installed in your car. Apart from the sizes, the manufacturer also gives the speed index and load index for your tyres. Such sizes and indexes are called approved. Using approved tyre sizes and indexes is very important, as they ensure your car’s full performance is used. Using different sizes may cause your car’s ABS, ESP or ASR to work incorrectly, as well as diminish your car's potential acceleration and grip.

What tyres? You can find the size on the sidewall.

Approved size and replacement tyres

Small deviations from the approved size are allowed by the manufacturer when using “replacements”. A replacement is a tyre or wheel, whose total height does not exceed the approved size by more than 2 per cent. For example: the approved size is 185/65R15. By using a wider tyre, 195/60R15, we get a replacement, whose height difference is 1.07 per cent, i.e. well within the limit. Another example: the approved size is 205/55R16 – it can be replaced with a 195/65R15, as the height difference is only 0.58 per cent. Such deviations are within limits and do not have any negative impact on traction. You should, however, bear in mind, that replacement tyres may cause incorrect readings and increased fuel consumption (in case of wider tyres). Check these replacements if you don’t know which ones you can use. When in doubt, you can call our support line to get expert advice on choosing replacements.

Can I use any other speed and load index than recommended?

In case of load and speed indexes in summer tyres, you should not use indexes lower than the approved ones. Using tyres with speed or load index lower than recommended is prohibited and punishable by law in our country. The tyres with lower indexes significantly reduces your car’s safety, increase the tread wear or the risk of uncontrollable behaviour. You should also remember, that in case of any accidents or car crashes, your insurer may refuse to pay your compensation if your tyres don’t meet the manufacturer’s requirements.

You can, however, use tyres with higher speed indexes, even though you will not benefit in any other way than by increasing the stability in driving straight. This may even harm you by increasing the rolling resistance and fuel consumption, as well as decreasing comfort (a tyre with a higher speed index is typically harder, heaver and noisier).

Tyres with load indexes higher than recommended can also be used, but is only advisable for high performance vehicles and estate cars. In any other case, just as with higher speed indexes, you will not benefit much.

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Choosing summer tyres

How many tyres should you change: two or four?

What should you do, when you want to change just two, not four, tyres? An optimal solution is to install four identical tyres (the same model). Even though Polish regulations allow you to have different tyres on different axles (the same axle has to have the same tyres), you should remember that this may impact your car’s performance. Two different tyre models mean two different braking distances, two aquaplaning characteristics and two ways of transmitting the car’s power to the ground. Your car’s behaviour will be an average value of the performance provided by these two types. The grip of the rear axle is, however, much less predictable. That is why, if you decide to change just two tyres, you should always install them on the rear axle. This decreases the risk of doing an accidental J-turn on a wet road and improves your control in emergency situations, such as braking or tight cornering.

Which tyre class should I choose?

Every large company, such as Michelin, Goodyear, Continental or Bridgestone, offers different classes of tyres, from the least to the most expensive. In general, there are three main tyre classes: economy, medium and premium. Tyre classes depend on their quality and price, which means that quality usually corresponds to price.

What tyres should I choose? More or less expensive?

We should remember, that there is a close correlation between price and quality in tyres. Economy-class tyres will never match premium class’ performance. Premium-class tyres represent the highest technological level, but you won’t discover their true potential if you’re a calm driver who does not drive a lot.

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How to choose correct tyres

What tyres? Choose the correct tyre class for you.

Economy-class tyres

The least expensive tyre brands, such as Barum, Dębica, Sava or Dayton, are manufactured using older, tested technologies, used in premium tyres some time ago. This applies to both the tread pattern and the rubber compound. Economy-class tyres mainly focus on providing functionality through prove solutions, so you probably will not see any innovative tread patterns on them. Economy tyres are best for moderate urban conditions, in low- and medium-class cars. These tyres are meant for people looking for less costly solutions. They will be best for low mileage and calm driving style.

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Barum Bravuris 2

An economy-class summer tyre – Barum Bravuris 2.

If you don't drive several thousand kilometres a month, you mainly move around a city, and your driving is calm, then economy tyres are for you.

Middle-class tyres

The middle class is a good choice for drivers, who expect more from than tyres than an average user. Middle-class tyres offer the best compromise between quality and price. Middle class includes such brands as: Fulda, BFGoodrich, Kleber, Firestone or Uniroyal. These tyres can be installed in all types of vehicles, from small cars, through middle-class to top-class cars. They perform well in everyday use, both in the city and on longer routes. The middle class is an important segment for manufacturers due to its huge popularity among customers. Great attention paid by manufacturers to this class guarantees, that we are provided with quality products at relatively low prices.

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Uniroyal RainExpert

Middle-class summer tyre – Uniroyal RainExpert.

If you are looking for tyres for your everyday driving needs, high-quality tyres at low price, middle-class tyres are for you.

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 be used both on longer routes and in cities. They provide maximum safety in extreme situations, such as emergency braking. Premium class is the most important segment for manufacturers. It involves massive investments in research, development and innovation. Premium-class tyre use the latest rubber compound and pioneer tread patterns. The premium class is a showpiece for every manufacturer, that is why these tyres will provide you with the best quality you can get from a given company. They can be installed in middle-class vehicles as well as limos, sports cars and high performance vehicles. Premium brands include Bridgestone, Pireli, Continental, Dunlop, Goodyear, Michelin and others.

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Continental ContiSportContact Vmax

Premium-class summer tyres - Continental ContiSportContact Vmax.

If you drive a lot, you like aggressive driving and expect your tyres to provide safety in all possible conditions, premium-class tyres are for you.

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What tyres? Choose the right tread pattern for you.

Which tread pattern to choose?

There are many different models of summer tyres available in the UK. The OPONEO.CO.UK store alone offers more than 500. Let’s try and sort them out. There are three types of tread patterns on the market now: symmetrical, asymmetrical and directional. Each of them represents a different level of technological advancement and each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Symmetrical tyres

Symmetrical summer tyres can be found much more frequently than winter tyres. 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. A symmetrical pattern, when combined with a good rubber compound, can lower the rolling resistance, thus decreasing fuel consumption and extending the lifetime of the tyre.
Symmetrical tyres are most commonly available in 13 to 15 inch sizes. Symmetrical tyres for delivery trucks are also quite popular.

Symmetrical patterns can be found both in economy and middle class, they are recommended for small and medium-sized vehicles with relatively low power. They don’t work well in high performance cars. Example symmetrical tyres: Barum Brillantis, Firestone TZ200, Dębica Passio 2, Dayton D110 and others.

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Symmetrical tyres

What tyres? Symmetrical tyres

If you're looking for tyres for your calm and safe driving in all conditions and you have a small or mid-sized car, symmetrical tyres are for you.

Asymmetrical tyres

Summer asymmetrical tyres are popular in the manufacturers’ offers. The first asymmetrical patterns were created about 15 years ago and became more common some 10 years ago. Asymmetrical tyres are the fastest growing segment of the tyre market. They are more and more frequently installed as original equipment in most middle- and high-class cars.

The asymmetrical tread pattern is different on each side of the tread. The inside (with more siping) is responsible for channelling water, while the outside provides good handling on both straight roads and in corners. This solution ensures improved stability in corners, as compared to other tyre types (due to a better load distribution), as well as extended tread durability. Asymmetrical tyres are quiet and fuel-efficient.

In case of asymmetrical tyres, you should always take care to install the correctly (the side marked inside should face the car, while the side marked outside should face out).
Asymmetrical patterns are most commonly used in middle- and premium-class tyres - they are recommended for compact, city vehicles, as well as high-performance sports cars and limos. Example asymmetrical tyres: Dunlop Sp Sport 01, Goodyear Excellence, Michelin Primacy HP, Bridgestone ER300, Continental ContiPremiumContact 2 and others.

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Asymmetrical tyres

What tyres? Asymmetrical tyres

If you are looking for quiet and comfortable, versatile and efficient tyres that will retain their superb grip both on straight roads and in corners, asymmetrical tyres are for you.

Directional tyres

Summer directional tyres are commonly found in all manufacturers' offers. It is a very popular tread pattern, which is characterised by a pre-defined rolling direction.

Directional tyres have a V-shaped or herringbone pattern. Their main advantage is their superb ability to channel water, as well as their great reaction to acceleration and braking. Their performance makes them a natural choice for powerful sports cars.

Directional tread patterns can be found in all classes: economy, middle and premium. These are recommended for middle- and high-class cars, as well as sports cars. Example directional tyres: Dunlop Sp Sport Maxx, Dayton D300 Sprint, Uniroyal Rainsport 2, Goodyear Eagle GSD 3, Toyo Proxes T1R, Fulda Carat Progresso, Vredestein Sportrac 3 and others.

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Directional tyres

What tyres? Directional tyres

If you're looking for tyres that will channel water from under your wheels very well, you have a powerful car and need guaranteed grip when accelerating and braking, then directional tyres are for you.

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