tyre buying tips

3 things you need to know when buying car tyres

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So, you’re gearing up to get new tyres for your car. What exactly do you need to know before you make a purchase? Keep reading to discover three things that all motorists should be aware of when buying these essential pieces of kit.

1. Size matters

Size really does matter when you’re shelling out for new tyres. Before you can go ahead and select the ones you want, you’ll need to have a clear idea of the dimensions you’re looking for. This means knowing what size your current tyres are. You’ll find this information displayed on their sidewalls. It will be printed on the outside edge in raised lettering. Bear in mind though, it may be small and difficult to spot at first, so you might need to scour the sidewall in order to find what you’re looking for.

It should look something like ‘225/50 R 17’ – although the numbers and letters will vary between tyres. In this example, ‘225’ refers to the width of the tyre in millimetres, while ‘50’ is the side profile (which is calculated as a percentage of the width). If you see ‘R’, this simply means your tyres feature a radial construction. The next number, 17 in this case, is the diameter of the wheel rim. Although the other figures refer to millimetres, this measurement is given in inches.

Make sure you’re certain what size of tyre you’re looking for before you buy new models. There’s no room for error when it comes to this detail.

2. The speed rating could affect your insurance

As well as size, pay attention to speed rating. This is the top speed that a tyre is legally approved for. When you’re searching for tyres for your car, you should make sure the ones you go for are matched to the official top speed of your vehicle. Even though you’re unlikely to ever travel at this speed, it’s important to get this detail right for insurance purposes. If you fit lower quality tyres that have a reduced speed rating, there’s a risk this will cause problems for your cover policy.

You’ll find speed rating details on the sidewall of your tyres following on from the information provided about its size. It’s shown as a letter on a scale from A to Y. Each of these letters denotes specific information on speed. For example, if your tyres have the letter ‘H’ on them, they can handle speeds of up to 130mph. The difference between each letter is around 6mph.

3. It pays to check the labels

When you’ve found tyres that are the right size and have a suitable speed rating, it’s a good idea to check the labels to make sure they meet your requirements in terms of performance. Tyre labels, which look similar to the labels you get on white goods like washing machines or fridges, are now mandatory for all new tyres sold in Europe. They’re intended to help you understand how different tyres can perform in terms of safety, comfort, fuel economy and more. Although they can appear confusing at first, they are in fact easy to understand as long as you know what you’re looking for.

There are three main elements to these labels. They are:

Fuel economy

The label will have a fuel economy grading from A to G, with A being the most efficient and G the least. If you’re looking for tyres that are kind to your wallet when it comes to filling up at the pumps – and kind to the planet – it pays to opt for designs with a good efficiency rating. The more miles you drive in your car, the more important this information is likely to be to you. According to Michelin, selecting four A-rated tyres rather than G-rated models can reduce fuel consumption by 7.5 per cent.

Wet Grip

The label will also have an A to G rating for wet grip, meaning how effective the tyres are when you brake in rainy weather or when there’s surface water on the road. The difference between each letter is around 2.5 metres if you’re travelling at a speed of 50mph. Between A and G-rated tyres, the increase in stopping distances can be nearly five full car lengths.


Last but not least, labels display information on noise. The overall decibel rating is provided clearly in large white numbers. It refers to external noise, but it’s important to be aware that the quieter tyres are externally, the less sound interference there tends to be within cars. This can be especially noticeable when you’re travelling at high speeds on the motorway.When you’re searching for tyres, it’s useful to compare these labels to see which suit your driving needs and preferences best.

How can we help

At Alfa Tyre Protector, we aim to make it as easy as possible for our customers to find the tyres they need. If you come to us, you should be able to identify and purchase the right models within a matter of a few short minutes.

Simply enter your vehicle registration and we’ll give you suggested tyre sizes that may fit your car. Once you’ve confirmed that you’ve found the right fit, we’ll give you a list of possible options from the top brands. Our range includes an extensive selection of tyres, including summer, winter, SUV, 4×4 and van models, so you won’t struggle to find what you’re after.

Then all that remains is to make your purchase and arrange the fitting. You can book an appointment with one of our fitting partners near you. Alternatively, if you can’t make it to one of these locations, you can take advantage of our mobile fitting service.

To discover more about our tyre range and fitting services, or if you have a question about how to find the right tyres, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our experts will be happy to help.

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