Anyone who owns a vehicle will know that good tyres are equally as important as the car’s performance – tyres can impact how smooth your ride is and even the fuel consumption of your vehicle! And, of course, good tyres determine the safety of your drive since they highly influence the braking ability and steering control. However, tyre shopping can be a jumble of cryptic numbers, and this guide will help you decide to shop for tyres online or pop into the closest offline store.
Here are the tyre reading basics to know before taking a look at your choices:
To figure out what size your new tyres need to be, look at the sidewall of the tyres of your car. You should see a combination of numbers and letters something like this: 195/55 R 16 87V
Every part of this number-letter mix gives you a critical piece of information about your tyre.
- 195 – This part tells you the tread width of the tyre in millimetres (mm), which measures the widest point between the tyre’s outer and inner sidewalls. As a general rule, if high speeds while cornering are your thing, a wider tread might be helpful there. On the other hand, a narrow tread width is a better option if you’re stuck in traffic or want to improve fuel mileage.
- 55 – The 55 represents something called the average aspect ratio, which is the height of the tyre’s sidewall as a percentage of the tyre’s width. A lower aspect ratio generally allows for better cornering, but the ride tends to be on the rougher side.
- R – The single letter after the aspect ratio represents the tyre’s construction. Tyres usually come in one of three different kinds of structures:
The difference between these three constructions requires us to go a little too deep into tyre anatomy, so know that most tyres these days are of radial construction.
- 16 – This shows the diameter of the wheel in inches (in). This measure is also called rim size.
- 87 – This value represents the tyre’s load index. The load index tells us the maximum load (in kilograms) that the tyre can carry at a maximum inflation pressure. It’s helpful to note that regulations require your tyre’s load index to be equal to or higher than what is listed on your vehicle’s tyre placard in Australia.
- V – This letter shows the tyre’s speed rating or speed index. The speed index tells you the maximum speed at which the tyre can safely handle a load at specific conditions. Therefore, the speed index must at least be equivalent to the vehicle’s maximum speed. There are multiple speed ratings available, and referring to this table should give you information about all different ratings.
Shopping for tyres online is always easier when sifting through your choices in the size you want because of the handy filtering options available.
Now that the strange numbers and letters will no longer faze you when you encounter them while tyre shopping, you’re all set to choose the best tyre for your car.