Tyre test - why budget tyres could kill - Introduction
Pop in to your local tyre fitter and you’ll have the choice of dozens of brands. Some will be expensive – up to £100 each, including fitting, for a basic Ford Focus or VW Golf – while others seem a snip at half the price. There can’t be that much difference in performance, can there?
After all, they’re all just black bands of rubber, and the cheap tyres wouldn’t be sold in the UK if they weren’t as good as premium brands, would they?
Think again. We pitted three premium tyres against three budget alternatives in a series of braking tests, and the results were shocking. In the wet, the budget tyres took an average of 14 metres – the length of an articulated lorry – longer than the premium tyres to pull up from 70mph.
In the dry the differences weren’t as vast, but the worst budget tyre still took up to five metres longer to stop than the top premium brand. That could easily be the difference between a nasty accident and escaping with just sweaty palms.
We also assessed how well the six tyres hung on when cornering in the dry, by measuring lateral g forces, and how much road noise each set generated.