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Quality v cost: Looking after your car’s brakes (Part II) 

In the last edition we looked at the differences in cost versa quality of the brakes of your car.  In this issue we are going to be looking at tyres and how the quality of these can affect the safety and handling of a vehicle.

We are probably all familiar with top brand names such as Goodyear, Pirelli, Michelin, Yokohama, Bridgestone to name but a few. So, is it worth saving a bit of money at the expense of safety?

Clearly the larger and well-known brands such as those named above are of a better quality, they are made of a better quality of rubber and the companies have invested time and money in making their brand of tyres the “best in the market place”. They will have been tested under vigorous conditions, heat, cold, snow, adverse weather etc. to see how the tyres perform. You only have to look at Formula 1 Racing to see how weather conditions and driving style affects the life and performance of a tyre.

High Quality tyres in testing have been proven to provide better fuel consumption, better grip on the roads (in almost all-weather conditions) and furthermore are overall the best for your safety. They work, of course, in conjunction with your braking system to stop the car fast, if necessary, whilst maintaining good grip of the road surface to a certain degree, skidding and sliding. However, the style and type of your driving and the type of vehicle you drive also has to be considered when choosing replacement tyres. If you do a lot of high speed driving or have a high-performance vehicle then choosing a cheap tyre is a bad choice for many reasons. The car will probably not be able to stop effectively, the wear of the tyres will be short and your fuel consumption will increase. Here in Spain it is important to remember that replacement tyres (sizes wise) have to be the same as shown on the Ficha Técnica, although this does not specify manufactures it does specify the dimensions and tyre rating necessary.

Mid Range Tyres are as the title suggests a middle of the road price wise tyre. Often these are the same tyres as some of the premium branded named products but sold and/or manufactured by another company or “under license”. For a good all-round tyre, for example a family saloon or run around town car these are probably the best choice. They will have undergone the same types of testing as the High Range tyres but the quality of materials may differ.

Budget tyres poses the question concerning the cost and whether you are actually saving money in the long term. Well the short answer is no cheap tyres are not really cheap as you will find that they are made of an inferior quality material, the tread will be the minimum required by law, and you will find that you have to replace them far more frequently. If you are a person who only uses the car say once a week to go shopping then this may be the correct selection for you, provided of course you are not driving a high-end vehicle.

Second Hand Tyres. From a professional point of view these are not a good option and should wherever possible be avoided, as your safety and that of your fellow road users and pedestrians is more important than saving a few euros.