No matter how sound your engine is, without good tyres your car is at risk of an accident. It is no wonder that many drivers spend a fortune on quality tyres, although the prices and range of choices available can be confusing. Below are the basics you should be aware of when buying tyres.
Get the right fit
The first thing you’ll be asked at any good tyre shop is not what brand you want but what size you need. Information about the correct tyre size for your car is usually found in the vehicle’s user manual, but you can also find it on the inside of the fuel tank lid or on the reverse side of the driver’s seat belt.
Also Read: Debunked! 5 myths about used tyres
On the tyre itself, a string of numbers can be found on the tyre wall just above the gum strip. The first part of the number indicates the width of the tyre in millimeters, the second part of the number usually preceded by a slash (/) is the profile or sidewall height in percentage to the width of the tyre, and the part of the number preceded with an ‘R’ indicates the rim size in inches.
Age of tyre
Since tyres are made of rubber, age and exposure to the elements affect its performance. So do not buy tyres that are more than six years old and if it has already lasted that long on the car it should be changed. You can find out how old, a tyre is by looking for the manufacture date stamped on the tyre’s sidewall.
The right brand: premium tyres
Manufacturers of premium tyres invest a lot of time and money on the research and development of their products and use cutting edge technology to improve specific aspects of the tyre like traction and noise level reduction. Using premium tyres also aids fuel economy, stoppage time reduction and improves the overall performance of vehicles.
Premium tyre brands include Continental, Dunlop, Goodyear, Michelin, Bridgestone and Pirelli. They are usually the costliest on the market, but the cost is justified by the quality.
Michelin tyres costs around N48,000 and online stores like KwikFit offer discounts when buying four or more. Dunlop is probably the most popular premium brand in Nigeria, with prices starting from N30,000 depending on the size. Buyers can also take advantage of sales promotions by official Dunlop tyre outlets.
Goodyear tyres are priced at around N30,000 on the open market, with online tyre stores like KwikFit selling them at slightly higher prices, but at least you can always guarantee the quality, and Bridgestone tyre prices start from N24,000
Quality and mid-range tyres
Tyres in this range do not have all the extra features and comfort of premium tyres, but they have nonetheless undergone rigorous testing to meet the highest recommended standards.
Quality tyre manufacturers are rapidly developing a significant position in the market place with the objective of also becoming Premium brands. These “challenger brands” need to create more awareness and “signal” their quality to Nigerians. The most popular brands include Barum tyres, Cooper, Firestone, Hankook and Uniroyal.
Tyres in this range are lesser-known but still meet the minimum standards in the industry. They are a good choice for those on a budget and include Westlake tyres, Minerva, Fortuna and Double King which is popular in Nigeria. Double King Tyres start from N33,000.