Kwik Fit | Thursday 11th January 2018 10:50am
Until we need to change them, most of us don’t think about the tyres on our cars. So when we suddenly have to deal with tyre problems, it can be quite a shock.
Buying the right tyres for your car can seem complicated and confusing. Don't worry, help is at hand. In this short article, the Kwik Fit team will set you on the right track, simply by focusing on the type of car you drive.
Tyres for city cars and run-arounds
A UK driver favourite. Cheap to run, easy to park, nippy, agile, and occasionally offering a little oomph – what’s not to love about a city car? Typically used for running errands, these highly popular cars are usually used for short journeys with lots of stops and starts.
Does this sound familiar to you? If so, here are two important factors you need to consider when buying tyres:
The right tyres can make a huge difference to the fuel economy of your car. Some premium tyres have what’s known as “low rolling resistance”. In layman’s terms, they don’t get too stuck to the road, compared to other tyres, and as a result they make your car more fuel efficient. Not all tyres do this, so it’s definitely worth checking any tyres you’re considering.
The UK is often wet and rainy which makes it difficult to break at times. There’s a huge difference in stopping distances between the many different tyres available. It’s much better to invest a little extra in tyres that can perform well in the wet, like the ContiPremiumContact 5.
City cars that fall into this category include the Fiat 500, the Volkswagen Polo, the Mini One, the Toyota Aygo, and many more.
Tyres for mid-sized cars
When we talk about mid-sized cars we’re referring to the likes of the Volkswagen Golf, the Renault Megane and the Vauxhall Astra. All of these popular vehicles are superb all-rounders, offering flexibility and comfort for city driving, as well as the open road.
If you own one of these types of cars, here are a couple of factors to consider when buying tyres for yours:
- If the majority of your driving is in the town or city, look for tyres with low rolling resistance. Why? Because they’ll help you save money on fuel. They’ll also lower emissions from your car.
- If you also do plenty of driving on the open road – such as on motorways and major roads – you’ll also want a tyre with good road handling characteristics to bring the best out of your car.
The Continental PremiumContact 6 is perfect for mid-sized cars.
Tyres for sports cars
Some of you will be in the enviable position of driving a high performance sports car (we’re not jealous, really).
Sports car drivers will need a tyre that can withstand the pressures associated with high-speed cornering and the slightly more demanding way these cars are driven. You’ll need tyres that respond very quickly and precisely to your steering and speed inputs.
Ideally, it’s a very good idea to re-purchase the “Original Equipment” or “OE” tyres that came with your car when you purchased it new, or at least a very close equivalent. Remember, OE tyres will have been developed between the vehicle and tyre manufacturers specifically for your car. An excellent match would be the Continental SportContact 6.
Large family estates and executive cars
How do we use this category of vehicles? Typically they’re characterised by family holidays, regular long motorway journeys and – of course – general everyday trips.
There are a number of things to consider when it comes to tyres for these vehicles:
- Safety. It goes without saying that you want your car to be as safe as possible for those in and around it, so it’s vital to ensure that your tyres have the best wet braking performance available.
- How much importance do you place on ride and handling when you drive? If you really enjoy driving and want to get the maximum out of your car, it’s very important to factor this into your choice of tyres. Just like with sports cars, it’s a really good idea to re-purchase the “Original Equipment” tyres that your car was fitted with from new.
- Fuel economy and longevity. If you’re a motorist who does a lot of driving, you’ll not only want to keep your fuel bills down as much as possible, you’ll also want your tyres to last. Investing more upfront on premium tyres can help you achieve both of these goals. The simple fact is that premium tyres will save you money in the long-run.
The ContiPremiumContact 6 is the tyre best suited for large estate cars and family vehicles.
Tyres for SUVs
If like so many drivers you own an SUV, you’ll have bought into the fastest growing vehicle segment in Europe.
This vehicle sector has really evolved in the last few years, and there are a wide variety of SUVs in all size classes now. As such, when it comes to tyres, you do need to pay attention. And it’s not worth scrimping on them. SUVs are typically heavier and – usually – taller than standard cars, and as a result this means that the tyres need to work harder when you corner or brake.
The overwhelming majority of SUV drivers typically stick to just driving on roads, rather than off-road. If this is you, you’ll need to consider an all-round tyre like the ContiSportContact 5 SUV. This tyre has excellent road handling characteristics, but is still designed to withstand the additional height and weight associated with these vehicles.
Tyres for 4x4s
Many drivers who opt for a 4x4 may be thinking of taking their vehicle on an occasional, light off-road adventure or two. For this you need specialist tyres that can grip soft ground – like mud – and handle uneven surfaces.
But most people use their 4x4 day-to-day on normal roads, and for this reason you need a tyre that offers a combination of excellent off-road and road-handling performance.
You might want to consider buying the Continental PremiumContact 6.
Premium tyres from manufacturers like Continental do cost more, but they will provide you with the right balance of road safety, fuel economy and handling characteristics that’s right for you. What's more, they'll work out more economically for you too, because they’ll last longer.
Speak to the Kwik Fit team for expert advice
The best piece of advice we can give is this: buy the best tyres you can afford, and get good advice from your trusted local tyre experts. Our team can offer you impartial, expert advice based on where and how much you drive. You can locate your local Kwik Fit centre here.
Wednesday 12th May 2021
A tyre's condition, pressure, usage and (crucially) tread depth result in 10% of all MOT fails. Learn more & discover how to ensure your tyres pass the MOT.
Friday 30th April 2021
The EU is changing the labels that come with new tyres in order to be more informative and transparent. But what do the new labels mean? Read to find out.