Do some homework before buying tyres

Brian Joss – Tyres are a recurring purchase for vehicle owners, and they are also vital to ensure safety and optimum performance.

“Despite this, many people just go for the cheapest tyres, or blindly follow the retailer’s recommendation,” says Chantel Baxter, Product and Price Manager at Bridgestone South Africa, manufacturers of Firestone and Bridgestone tyres. “Doing some basic homework before you go to purchase tyres will help ensure that right tyres for the vehicle, and your driving style, are obtained. Armed with the right information, choosing the right tyre should not be stressful at all.”

Baxter says that the first thing to establish is one’s own driving style.

Are you a fast driver, or is comfort what it’s all about? What type of trips do you make – a sales rep might be constantly on long journeys, while a working mother does a lot of stop-start driving. If you’re driving an SUV, is it destined mainly for the mall, or are you often heading off road?

It’s also vital to inform oneself about the vehicle manufacturer’s specifications for the vehicle in question’s tyres. This information may be found in the vehicle manual. It might be, for example, that the tyres fitted on a new car by the manufacturer might not suit your particular driving style – when it is time to change the tyres, the manual would also give alternative specifications that could be more suited to your driving style, but still safe to use. If your car is still under manufacturer’s warranty, it would serve you to establish the terms and conditions pertaining to putting on alternative tyres.  

The owner’s driving style and the manufacturer’s specifications should then be used to identify the specific tyres to be bought. Reputable manufacturers make a range of tyres designed for varying conditions, and with different budgets in mind. Thus, while a fast driver with a slim budget might not be able to afford the top-of-the-range ultra-high-performance tyre, there will usually be a suitable high-performance tyre at a lower price point.

“Google is also a great resource in this regard – there is a wealth of information and a whole world of forums where one can get insight into the right tyre brand and model for your vehicle and how you drive it, although some specifications may not be available here,” Baxter says. “At the very least, when you walk into the tyre dealership, you should already clearly understand how you drive and have some idea of what possible tyres might suit your vehicle and driving style. You will thus be in a good position to benefit from the advice of the dealer-these people also know a lot of useful things, but you need to know what questions to ask.

“Choosing the right tyres will improve the performance and safety of your vehicle – they are the only thing that keeps you on the road, after all. It’s worth taking the trouble to do it right,” she concludes.

CAPTION: Not “tyred” of  the fun: the  Bridgestone stand at an Oppikoppi festival. Picture: Motorpress

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