Where the Rubber Meets the Road – Don’t be a Cheapskate - 14th June, 2016

Being winter we’ve got to talk about tyres – those rubber things that connect your heavy car to the road that we take for granted. It’s probably happened to many of us; we see an ad for cheap tyres, usually screamed at us through the TV by a guy with an energy drink addiction, only to find that when we go to buy some we are given more expensive options to consider. 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 we rely so much on them doing a good job, but too often we stick our faith in a substandard product. Driving around on winter roads 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. Before you even 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. Possibly the most dramatic way of improving the performance of a car is to fit better tyres.

Tyres are much more complex beasts than just being air filled rubber hoops and the technology keeps getting better. The more you spend on better quality tyres the bigger the pay-off in the way your car will ride, brake and handle. Then all you have to do is regularly check the pressures because no matter how good the tyres are, with the wrong pressures you’re back to Roman Sandals again.

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