The Dos and Donts of Tyre Buying
Most people take their tyres for granted, not realizing that they’re one of a vehicle’s most important safety features. Tyres provide a connection between the vehicle and the road or ground, and technologies such as stability control and antilock brakes can’t do their jobs if the tyres aren’t doing theirs. Despite their importance, tyres are one of the least understood vehicle parts—mainly because there are so many options and such a shortage of information. Everyone’s needs are unique, and no one tyre is best. These do’s and don’ts can help you make an informed decision when buying new tyres for your 4WD.
Don’t Cut Costs Too Much
Poorly designed cheap tyres can lead to increased stopping distances and a loss of control during an emergency. All tyres have traction ratings stamped in; try to find tyres with an AA or A rating. They may cost a bit more, but you get what you pay for.
As with most purchases, name brand tyres generally cost more. A well-known brand typically provides a higher level of quality, but there are lesser known manufacturers selling discount tyres online. Get recommendations from a local shop or a trusted 4×4 online superstore, to find great tyres at a reasonable price.
Don’t Think that OEM is Always the Best Option
OEM or original equipment manufacturer tyres are the type fitted on vehicles during production, but it’s not always the right strategy to choose the same type of tyres as a replacement. Automakers and 4×4 wheel manufacturers look for tyres that offer acceptable performance in a range of conditions, and in many cases, you can do better by shopping around. If you plan to do some off-roading in addition to highway driving, choosing non-OEM tyres can help you improve certain vehicle characteristics while saving money along the way.
Do Choose the Right Wheel and Tyre Dealer
When it’s time to shop for new tyres and Fuel wheels, many people go to local shops, which may have a rather limited selection. A full-service wheel and tyre superstore will stock a wider range of brands, as well as accessories like custom Ford Ranger grills and 4WD lift kits. Talk to the trained staff about the kind of driving you want to do, and use their recommendations to make the right decision.
Do Set Your Expectations at a Realistic Level
Like many other things in life, tyres are a bit of a trade-off. Performance tyres wear out much faster, while comfort-ride tyres have less agility in the corners. Talk to your tyre seller about the compromises you’ll have to make with each potential set of tyres.
Do Consider Buying Two Sets
Most vehicles are equipped with all season tyres, but they have their share of problems. They’re designed to handle a variety of weather conditions, but they’re not optimized for any of them. If you plan to do a great deal of off-roading, consider buying a dedicated set of off-road tyres and have them fitted to a spare set of wheels. That way, you can simply change them when you go into the outback.
Do Replace Two at Once, and Rotate Them Regularly
Rotating the tyres periodically will ensure even wear, which allows you to get a good return on the investment and ensure that all your tyres are up for replacement simultaneously. Don’t replace just one tyre; if one is damaged, replace it and the one directly opposite.
Don’t Disregard Your New Tyres
Contrary to popular belief, tyres aren’t maintenance-free. They lose roughly one PSI of air pressure each month, and another PSI for every ten-degree temperature decrease. If you buy your new tyres in June, by December, they’ll lose about 20% of their air. Underinflated tyres offer decreased fuel economy and they’re more likely to suffer a dangerous blowout. On modern tyres, it’s hard to tell whether they’re underinflated simply by looking at them; you’ll have to use a tyre pressure gauge to be sure.
Buying new tyres can be expensive, but it gets easier if you see them as an investment in your vehicle and your safety. By following the do’s and don’ts listed here, you can get the right set of tyres for your vehicle—and keep them in great shape throughout their lifespan.