Tyre tests are part of the fabric of the motor industry, whether it’s tyre manufacturers doing their own tests, or consumer groups, magazines and organisations like Kwik-Fit putting tyres through their paces themselves.
There are plenty of tests out there – but with such a huge amount of information out there, it can be difficult to get to grips with tyre features and what to look for.
The truth is that whilst the best tyres have a lot in common and share a lot of the basic qualities, different tyres produce different responses on the road. So it’s important to choose the right one for you.
Here Kwik-Fit will help you through the process and highlight some of the best manufacturers and tyres for specific circumstances.
Aquaplaning is the end result of a tyre losing grip on wet roads. Where normally a tyre’s tread would channel water away from where it has contact with the road, if it is very wet even the best tyres can lose the capacity to shift water away. When that happens the tyre ends up running on top of the water, effectively meaning the driver loses control.
Tyres that perform best under very wet conditions are those with directional tread patterns and side sipe tread patterns. These effectively pump water as efficiently as possible away from the tyre’s contact with the ground. A good example is Goodyear’s HydraGrip tyres for being superb in the wet, particularly around corners.
Ok so it sounds obvious but stopping your car as quickly and as safely as possible is critical. And depending on whether you’re driving on a dry road or in more hazardous conditions, the tyre you choose can affect how quickly your car can stop.
In wet conditions tyres like a Michelin Pilot Sport give consistently good performance. Stopping in the wet tests the compound of the tyre as well as the tread pattern – see “Aquaplaning”.
In dry conditions however it’s the tyre that can fit as much rubber on the ground as possible that wins the day. It’s all about grip. And when it comes to tyre grip a Pirelli Zero or Continental tyre are very high in contact.
Quiet tyres mean a quiet drive and comfort is often as important to motorists as handling. So knowing which tyres are noisy and which are quiet can make a big difference.
By law your tyres have to meet certain noise level standards, and there are tests carried out to ensure this happens. But equally there are tyres that manage to muffle sound and produce a less noticeable noise than others.
Rolling resistance of the tyre is key here. There are two elements to an environmentally-friendly tyre: how it affects fuel consumption, and the environmental impact of the manufacturing process itself.
Michelin claim to be ahead of the game, claiming its fuel-saving tyres have prevented 23 million tonnes of CO2 emissions since 1992. Their environmentally-friendly tyres use silica to try and reduce rolling resistance and therefore save fuel because the car needs less energy to roll on this type of rubber.
Whatever tyre you choose, you can save up to 8% on fuel by keeping the tyres at the correct pressure hence also reducing harmful emissions from your car.
So whatever the circumstances, different tyres produce different results. For most of us, of course, we have to make do with the same four wheels and the same tyres, whatever the situation. It’s therefore important to find a good all-round tyre that meets your needs.
Go to our tyre glossary to find out more.