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What makes a good tyre?

  • We test six tyres
  • See how they performed
  • It could save your life
Words ByWhat Car? Staff

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What makes a good tyre?
The major tyre companies spend millions of pounds each year on research and development, so although a premium tyre might look almost identical to a budget alternative, there are often big differences. These include:

Rubber compound
Like baking a good cake, it isnt only what goes into the mixture, its the ratio of each ingredient and how theyre all mixed together. Making a tyre that excels in one area such as cornering in the dry isnt difficult, but road car tyres also need to perform well in the wet and have decent longevity.

Tread pattern
The pattern comes into play when the road is wet. Like the bow of a ship, a good design should cut through the water, allowing the rubber to make contact with the road. The grooves need to channel the water away from the contact patch, because failure to do so results in aquaplaning.

Internal structure
A good structure keeps the contact patch consistent and allows the tread pattern
to work effectively in wet conditions.

On video: See the tyre test explained
Watch how we tested the tyres, here.

What Car? says
Don't even think about skimping on tyres. Its tempting to save money in the short term by going for the budget option, but youd be unwise to do so. Tyres are the only part of your car that make contact with the road, so youre far better off sticking to the premium brands and hunting around for the lowest prices on those. As our investigation clearly shows, cheap tyres could easily cost you your life.

Our test fitter
We used Kwik Fits mobile fitting service to help out with our tyre tests. There are 200 Kwik Fit mobile vans in the UK, which can deliver, fit and balance your new tyres at a location of your choice. Head to Kwik-Fit.com to book online, or call 0871 2222 888.