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Unsure which tyres you should buy for your car? Our tyre buying guide can help

Kwik Fit | Thursday 11th January 2018 10:50am

Continental tyres in a row

Until we need to change them, most us don’t think about the tyres on our cars. And when that moment arrives, it can be quite a shock. For the many UK drivers that think tyres are all the same, this is the moment when they realise that it’s simply not the case. 

The truth is, buying the right tyres for your car can appear complicated and very confusing. But fear not for 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. Pretty cheap to run, very easy to park, nippy, agile, and occasionally offering a little oomph – what’s not to love about a city car?! Typically used for local shopping trips, popping into town, ferrying children around, 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, and this is how you use your little run-around, here are two important factors you need to consider when buying tyres:

Fuel economy

Surprised? It’s true, you’ll be amazed at the difference the right tyres can make to improving fuel economy. 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. Everyone wants to save fuel – not just to save money but to help keep pollution levels in our towns and cities as low as possible. If you want this too, make sure you ask for a tyre that’s been specially designed to do this.

Wet braking

Let’s face it, in the UK it’s often wet and rainy. It’s also quite possible that you’ll have kids in your car, or you’ll be driving on roads close to schools, playgrounds and crossing points. In these circumstances you might have to stop fast. When the weather is dry, most tyres can help you do this safely and quickly, but when it’s wet it’s a very different story. 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.

City cars that fall into this category include the Fiat 500, the Volkswagen Polo, the Mini One, the Toyota Aygo, and many more. You might want to consider buying the ContiPremiumContact 5.

Continental Premium Contact 5 and tyre label


Tyres for mid-sized cars

When we talk about mid-sized cars we’re refering 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 or 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.

You might want to consider buying the Continental PremiumContact 6.


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). The chances are that you may already be aware of how much the right tyres contribute to your driving experience. If you don’t, it’s important not to get this one wrong.

Sports car drivers will need a tyre that can withstand the pressures associated with high-speed cornering and the slightly more demanding way you drive these cars – a completely different proposition to – for instance – a city run-around you might use to take the kids to school in. 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.

You might want to consider buying the Continental SportContact 6.

Continental SportContact 6 and tyre label


Large family estates and executive cars

How do we use this category of vehicles? Typically they’re characterised by family winter and summer 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 ultimately end up saving you money in the long-run.

You might want to consider buying the ContiPremiumContact 6.

Continental Premium Contact 6 and tyre label


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 that has excellent road handling characteristics, but which is still designed to withstand the additional height and weight associated with these vehicles.

You might want to consider buying the ContiSportContact 5 SUV.

ContiSportContact 5 SUV and tyre label


Tyres for 4x4s

Many SUVs are also 4x4s, but not all of them. 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 on soft ground – like mud – and handle uneven surfaces.

But – unless you’re a farmer – you’ll mainly be using your 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.


If you want premium performance buy premium tyres

Premium tyres – from manufacturers like Continental – do cost a bit more, but they will provide you with the right balance of road safety, fuel economy and handling characteristics that’s right for you, your car and how you use it. And, over time, the’lly work out more economically for you too, because they’ll last longer.

Speak to the Kwik Fit team for expert advice

At the end of the day, 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. Out team can offer you impartial, expert advice based on where and how much you drive. You can locate your local Kwik Fit centre here.


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