It is often true that you get what you pay for, and a report that What Car? released earlier this year, certainly seems to back that up for car tyres. If you are looking for car tyres that stop your car promptly when you want it to stop, and keep it on the road when you are cornering, then you are better off buying the best tyres you can afford. If possible stick to premium tyre brands and if necessary, shop around online to find the lowest price.
Six different car tyres were tested; three budget brands and three premium brands. They were tested for wet braking performance Mobile Tyre Fitting Reading, dry braking performance, lateral grip and noise tests. Both the wet braking and the noise levels will be appearing on the new labels that will be standard later on this year. The tyre that came out on top was a premium tyre – the Michelin Pilot Sport 3, but the results were more shocking and complex than that implies.
There were some particularly surprising results in the noise test. The quietest tyre was a budget tyre, and two of the top three were also budget tyres. The noisiest performer was a Goodyear at 73 decibels. The quietest was a Sunew at 69 decibels. That might not sound like much difference, but decibels are a logarithmic calculation, so that means the Goodyear is one and a half times louder than the Sunew.
So it sounds like the budget tyres are performing better? Well, noise reduction is all very well, but it’s braking performance that is most important, and budget tyres’ wet braking performance was quite worrying. The three worst performing tyres were the budget tyres, with the worst performer (the Sunew tyres) taking 22.9 metres longer than the best performer (Michelin). They did slightly better with the dry braking, but there was still 5.3 metres between the best and worst performers, and again a budget tyre (Arrowspeed) was the worst.
Basically, on the whole budget tyres are much quieter than premium tyres, but when it comes to safety, their performance is shocking. The wet braking distance is very concerning – 22.9 metres is the length of about five or six cars. It is easy to see how taking so much extra distance to stop could be the difference between avoiding an accident and writing off your car. It is much better that you choose a decent brand then shop around for the cheapest supplier. Often a mobile tyre fitting service will work out cheaper as many don’t have the overheads of garages.