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How to choose the right tyre characteristics for my car?

What’s the best tyre for my car? How do I choose the right tyres? These are common questions when buying new tyres, and with good reason. Your tyres are the only contact point between your car and the road, so it's important to make the best choice for your vehicle and driving conditions. If that sounds a bit complicated, don’t worry! Here are a few tips to help you find the perfect tyres for your vehicle.
Golden rule to choose the right tyre

© istock

Choosing tyres: Where to start?

When it comes to select tyres for your car there are some factors that you need to keep in mind. With thousands of tyres available on the market, it is important to identify your driving preferences and driving environment. With some key questions, it will be easy for you to choose the right tyres.

You need to ask yourself the following:

  1. What’s your driving style?
  2. How often do you use your car and what is the mileage of your car?
  3. What type of road(s) do you drive on most often?
  4. What’s the weather like in your part of the world?

To help you answer these 4 questions, we’ve provided some examples below. Choose from the scenarios listed to find out what type of performance you need from your tyres based on your driving habits.

I mainly drive in town...

  • Responsiveness
  • Economy
  • Durability

You’ll need calibrated tyres to deal with the hazards of city streets (scuffing against kerbs, driving over manhole covers or cobblestones). Urban drivers usually have light, compact vehicles and need small diameter tyres which are responsive, sturdy and long lasting. This is because daily city driving, including sudden braking and frequent stopping and starting at traffic lights may cause tyres to wear quickly.

I often drive on motorways and/or I drive more than 18 500 miles a year...

  • Comfort
  • Durability
  • Economy

For long trips in a large passenger car, there are many high quality premium ranges available offering long-lasting tyres with good ride comfort. If you drive a sporty vehicle, you could also consider high performance tyres to give you steering precision and superior road holding in all conditions.

I like to drive fast...

  • Driving feel
  • Road holding
  • Comfort

To get the best performance out of your sports car, ideally you should choose tyres that are in line with the driving feel you want to experience while also ensuring optimum road holding, safety and grip when cornering.

I often drive on wet, snowy or icy roads...

  • Grip
  • Safety
  • Adaptability

You’ll be looking for a tyre that adapts to different weather conditions and above all, one that delivers optimum grip to keep you safe. In this case, it may be worth investigating all season tyres as they are versatile, efficient over a wide temperature range and can be used to drive in occasional snow.

In my area, winter temperatures drop below 7°C...

  • Safety
  • Performance
  • Grip

Winter tyres are not just for snow! If you drive in cold, changeable weather conditions, winter tyres are strongly recommended as they deliver more grip and a safer drive in low temperatures. Winter tyres deliver better overall performance as soon as temperatures fall below 7°C.

I mainly drive in mild weather conditions...

  • Comfort
  • Economy
  • Versatility

In this case, you don’t need to change from summer tyres to winter tyres since temperatures remain mild in winter. All season tyres may be a good solution provided you accept a compromise tyre which will never perform as well as a summer tyre in summer, nor as a winter tyre in winter.

I regularly drive my vehicle off-road...

  • Traction
  • Robustness
  • Driving feel

If you drive your off-road 4x4 along rough tracks, through mud and sand, or on rocky roads, then your vehicle needs special, durable 4x4 tyres which quickly remove excess dirt.

I go skiing every year...

  • Grip
  • Safety
  • Legality

Driving up to ski resorts means you’ll need to be prepared for difficult driving conditions with winter tyres and/or chains depending on the local legislation. We also recommend you find out about winter equipment regulations which vary depending on the country and the time of year.

My vehicle carries heavy loads...

  • Reinforcement
  • Handling
  • Robustness

Suitable tyres for vehicles transporting heavy loads, are marked with a “C” on the tyre’s sidewall indicating a high load rating. For professional use, this type of tyre may be reinforced (urban use) or studded (worksite use) to improve ride comfort, versatility, performance and handling capabilities.

I often go camping on holiday...

  • Safety
  • Reinforcement
  • Stiffness

Tyres for motor homes, caravans or trailers should be chosen from “trailer” tyres. The stiffer sidewalls prevent any bouncing effect due to the height of the vehicle. Also, reinforced sidewalls marked with the letter “C” have a higher load carrying capacity giving you peace of mind to enjoy your holiday!

I am a trackday enthusiast...

  • Tyre life
  • Driving feel
  • Grip

If this is you, then you no doubt take a keen interest in your tyres since you need to change them regularly! That’s why tyre life and grip are two performance criteria race track enthusiasts look for. There are slick tyres known as racing tyres which are only used on track and semi-slick tyres approved for use on both the track and public roads. They offer excellent road holding on dry surfaces, but be careful, they are not as efficient on wet roads since semi-slick tyres have difficulty clearing large amounts of water!

Your driving environment

© rezulteo

Buying your tyres: take action

Now you have an idea of the characteristics that your new tyres should meet, before you begin looking for tyres, it’s really important to know your correct (homologated) tyre size in order to find compatible models.

Using the information from rezulteo's tyre advice guides, it’s time to find out where to buy your tyres (online sales sites, garages, car centres ...) and where to fit them.

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Are you looking to buy tyres? Find out about all the available options so that you can get them at the best price, whether it’s at your car dealership, in auto centres or online. Learn the rules for fitting tyres and the different options, including if you need to change two or four tyres, alignment, and nitrogen filling. And above all, get to know how to select the right tyre according to your vehicle type and its usage.