Original Equipment: The Best Tyres for Your Car?

Bradley Jando | Friday 27th August 2021 3:40pm

Original Equipment Tyre

It is easy to take your tyres for granted and not think too much about which tyres are the best for your car. The majority of motorists don’t regularly check their tyres to ensure that they’re performing safely and efficiently.

However, if an issue occurs with the tyres, drivers are forced to consider them. When looking for new tyres, motorists are faced with a wide variety of choices - often making it overwhelmingly difficult to settle on a suitable type.

Tyres can range dramatically in price and with the industry jargon being used to describe them, it can be tricky to understand what you’re getting for your money. If you bought your car brand new from a dealership, the best tyres to buy are “OE” (Original Equipment). OE tyres are the tyres that came fitted with your car when you purchased it and these will be the ones that the car was designed to be driven on.

What is "Original Equipment"?

OE tyres are chosen specifically by the manufacturer for each of their vehicles. These tyres are the ones that the vehicle comes out of the factory with. OE tyres are tested by the manufacturers to ensure that they meet their demanding safety and performance standards. Being granted OE status is an accolade that premium tyre manufacturers, like Continental, compete strongly for. As a result of this competitiveness, tyre manufacturers are constantly having to improve their tyres through new innovations and technology. This level of innovation means that better tyres are constantly being produced.

Continental are the top provider of OE in Europe with one in three cars fitted with Continental Original Equipment.

Continental are a popular choice for OE due to their 150 years of experience. They invest heavily in tyre Research and Development to ensure that they're ahead of the competition. For these reasons, many automotive manufacturers select Continental’s premium tyres for their OE.

Conti OE Infographic

Why is "Original Equipment" right for my car?

The intense process of developing Original Equipment can take two to four years to finish. Designing a tyre that is the best for a unique vehicle is a lengthy process. There are usually about one hundred different features needed from the tyres for optimum performance. These are determined by the key features that the manufacturers want the car to have, which makes OE tyres unique to each vehicle model.

It is not surprising that different cars demand distinctive features from their tyres. To look at an example, a Skoda Fabia and a Porsche Cayenne have different requirements for the tyres to achieve optimum performance and safety. Whilst both vehicles have their advantages, each car is looking for different qualities in its tyres.The Skoda Fabia requires tyres that improve comfort and fuel efficiency. In contrast, the Porsche Cayenne needs to be able to accelerate quickly.

Original Equipment is designed with safety as the main priority. However, safety is not the only consideration for Original Equipment. These tyres are also designed to enhance vehicle performance and ensure that the car functions in the way that the manufacturer intended. The process of developing OE tyres ensures that the tyres are the best fit for each unique vehicle.

Why choose to replace your tyres with original OE?

Due to the reasons outlined above, experts including Kwik Fit and Continental suggest that you fit your car with Original Equipment tyres. The three most important reasons for using OE tyres are:

  • That they’ll continue to bring out the best characteristics of your car
  • There won’t be any compromises on safety
  •  They are designed especially for your vehicle make and model

How do I know if my tyres are Original Equipment?

Tyre sidewalls contain a lot of information and this can seem confusing. Knowing how to read a sidewall is important so you can understand which tyres your car is using. The most obvious piece of information is the tyre brand name (for example Continental). You might also recognise the product name (such as “ContiPremiumContact 5”) and the tyre size (e.g. “205 55 R 17”).

Less recognisable is the code which tells you which vehicle make and model your tyre is specifically made for. The table below offers some examples of this, to help you recognise what they look like:

Audi OE Sidewall Markings

Detail of a OE tyre for Audi, whose manufacturer code is “AO”.

OE Key
A0, A01
Audi Quattro
R01, RO2, R03
BMW/ Mercedes
BMW/ Mercedes Runflat
Land Rover
Mercedes Benz
MO, M01
Mercedes Benz Runflat
NO, N1, N2

Not every car that leaves the factory is fitted with Original Equipment. However, if you see one of these codes on your tyre, you can be sure that it’s OE. This means that it has been developed with the tyre manufacturer and passed the testing process of the car manufacturer.

Unsure about Original Equipment? Talk to Kwik Fit

If you’re not sure which tyres to choose, talk to the experts at Kwik Fit for advice. Find your local Kwik Fit centre.

Tags : Tips Tyres

Any facts, figures and prices shown in our blog articles are correct at time of publication.

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