If you’re about to change the tyres on your car for the first time, you may be wondering whether to fit new tyres identical to your current set (original equipment tyres) or go for a new model. In this guide, we tell you all you need to know about replacing tyres...
What are original equipment tyres?
Original equipment tyres are quite simply the tyres originally fitted by the car manufacturer to your vehicle, in agreement with the tyre manufacturer. Tyre and car manufacturers work together on vehicle characteristics including:
- Wheel arches
- Rim size
Certain tyres are exclusively developed for a particular manufacturer and are therefore subject to specific requirements for the internal structure of the tyre, the load index and speed rating, and other information found on the sidewall of the tyre.
And yet, despite being manufacturer-approved, original equipment tyres are not necessarily always the best choice. A lot depends on how you use your vehicle and your driving preferences.
This is because car manufacturers tend to opt for a balance of performance criteria to suit the vehicle, without taking into account the driving conditions or the driver’s personal preferences in terms of:
- Rolling noise
- Dry braking
- Wet braking
- Tyre life
When it’s time to change your tyres, you don't have to stick to the same model that came with the vehicle. However, we recommend you follow the specifications provided for your vehicle by the manufacturer, i.e. the approved sizes and, where applicable, markings. Remember that MOT test centres will check that the tyres fitted are suitable for your vehicle.
Choosing the right replacement tyre
It’s perfectly legal to fit a tyre other than the original equipment model, provided that the size and ratings (load and speed) are compatible with your tyres.
These so called “replacement market” tyres are designed independently from the vehicle with no partnership between the car and tyre manufacturers.
Replacing the original equipment tyres on your vehicle with replacement market tyres could be beneficial since these tyres may include new technology and provide better performance.
Two considerations are essential to correctly choose your new model of tyre:
- Decide which criteria are the most important for your driving environment and driving style. For example fuel economy, tyre life, wet grip....
- For certain brands (Porsche, Mercedes, BMW etc.) read the manufacturer's recommendations and check out our guide to manufacturers’ markings.