Tyres – buy your car a decent Christmas present

It’s probably happened to many of us; see an ad for cheap tyres, usually screamed at us over the TV, only to find that when we go to buy some we are given more expensive options to consider. But is it really worth spending more when buying tyres?

Tyres are a purchase most of us hate having to make and we’ll only do it if our car fails a WOF check. Even then we’ll spend as little as possible chucking on some re-treads or some brand with a strange, never heard of name. But when you think about it, tyres are what connects our car to the road and so much relies on them doing a good job, but too often we stick our faith in a substandard product. Driving to the beach over the holidays on cheap, no name tyres is like running a marathon in Roman sandals, only more dangerous.

Depending on how much time you spend on the road you don’t need to buy the most expensive tyres available but the very cheapest will underperform significantly. Even before you go around a corner, the difference will be felt when trying to stop quickly. The cheap tyre will need several metres more before your car comes to a halt. And then there’s cornering. This Top Gear video shows the difference between cheap, medium and high quality tyres. You may have a really nice car that engineers spent thousands of hours designing so it would handle and ride at its very best but a cheap tyre will throw all that out the window. And as you find yourself sliding off the road on a fast corner you’ll be wishing you’d spent a few bucks more on tyres. As Clarkson says, the most dramatic way of improving the performance of a car is to fit better tyres.

Tyres are a much more complex beast than just being air filled rubber hoops and the technology keeps getting better. If you spend a bit more on tyres you’ll be safer and your car will be nicer and more rewarding to drive.

And if you can’t manage a new set of tyres, at least get your wheels balanced. There is still time before Christmas.

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