There is no way to accurately quantify the importance of having a good set of tires for your car. Tires make or break the vehicle. To a large extent, they determine the safety of the car on the road; tires provide the grip for braking and take off, and maintain steering and directional control. They are probably the most essential parts after the engine.
Tires have an average lifespan of about 3-4 years. Therefore, being on the lookout for their replacements early enough is wise.
Before delving into the best tire brands, there are things you need to keep in mind when looking for replacements.
Every tire comes with a label that displays the width in the first three digits. For instance, a label marked P205/50/R17/V means that the tire in question is 205 millimeters wide. The width is vital for grip. Wider tires have more contact with the ground, making them ideal for wet roads. Narrower tires make less noise.
This is the thickness of the sidewall. On the label, the profile is indicated by the second set of numbers. A tire label with P205/50/R17/V has a profile of 50. Higher profiles make the tire last longer on top of making driving smooth.
This is the fit that goes around the rim. It has to be the perfect size. When tires are bigger or smaller than the rim, they exert unnecessary pressure, leading to accidents. On the label, the tire size is connoted by the last two digits after the letter R. In the case of P205/50/R17/V, the tire size is 17.
Higher speed ratings mean that the tire has a better grip and robust braking power. Speed ratings are indicated by the last letter on the label. For example, a tire labeled P205/50/R17/V has a speed rating of V. The ratings range from Q (100 mph) to Y (Above 190 mph).
Tread patterns come in three types. Symmetrical, the most common has narrow treads in a wave pattern. Symmetrical tires are good for quiet cars. The second type is the directional, designed in a wide V shape, making them rotate in one direction. Directional types have the best grip and are suitable for wet roads. Then there is asymmetrical, which has patterns from both symmetrical and directional.
Tire age has nothing to do with second-hand products. A tire ages gradually, even without being on the road. While in storage, the tires become softer and softer, and when they go past six years, they become unusable. Tire age is branded on the sides and is indicated by four digits. For example, “4512” means that it was manufactured in the 45th week of 2012.
Some manufacturers and car sellers are gracious enough to extend warranties on their tires. If possible, get your tires from people woofer warranties. They may be limited, but a warranty is one way you can hold people accountable in case of anything.
Bridgestone is a Tokyo based company that has branches all over the globe. It was named after its founder, Shojiro Ishibani. It was founded in 1931 in Fukuoka, and by 2017, it officially became the biggest tire maker in the world.
All types of vehicles use Bridgestone tires ranging from regular to race cars.
This is the most popular tire brand, thanks to years of aggressive marketing and sponsoring major sporting events. Made by a French company, Michelin creates tires for all types of cars. They have also branched out into manufacturing tires for bicycles, planes and space shuttles.
Michelin tires have been around for 130 years.
It may be the third-largest tire brand in the world, but in North America, Goodyear is the king. Based in Ohio, Goodyear has been around since 1898 and has over the years furnished motor vehicles with quality tires. Goodyear also happens to own part of Dunlop tires, another widely known brand.
There’s no talk of high-end luxury cars and race cars without the name Pirelli coming up. Based in Italy, Pirelli tires have made a name for having one of the best tire grips in the motor industry. They don’t come cheap though, but as far as the quality is concerned, you will not be disappointed.
Apollo tires are an Indian brand that has been around since 1972. Most of the product’s target market is India itself, but the tires have gained a great reputation all over the globe. The tires are cheap but of high quality.
This is a German company headquartered in Hanover. The tires are top-rated in North America and the European markets. On top of making original and replacement tires, the company also manufactures other accessories like brake pads. Their truck tires are especially loved by American truck companies.
Another globally recognized and respected brand, Yokohama is a Japanese tire maker that has had success in making tires for wet roads. Their products are incredibly reliable in areas that experience winter that turns roads dangerously slippery.
A South Korean brand that produces very sturdy tires at affordable prices. Hankook tires are mostly used in Passenger vehicles like buses and 14-seater vans. Their biggest market is in Africa. The company was established in 1941 and has an annual output of over 102 million tires.
Good tires translate to a good car and, ultimately a beautiful driving experience. If you are unsure about the type of tires to get, you can consult your mechanic. They will always guide you in the right direction.
Another way to gauge the tire market is to attend car related trade shows. Every year, tire makers flock to Nevada, where they showcase their products in customized trade show booths, in Las Vegas. Similar events are held in other places in the world as well.
For first-time car owners, there is no need to fret too much. The tires that new cars come with will hold for at least four years before you start thinking about replacements.