Budget tyres are controversial topic. The UK is known to Europe as the “dumping ground” for cheap tyres, and we have a higher percentage of budget tyres fitted to our cars than anywhere else on the Continent.
Most people who fit budget tyres do so based on price, why spend £1,500 on a set of 4 premium tyres when you can spend £300 on a set of budget tyres?
To anyone outside the tyre industry, a tyre can be just a black, round thing that holds your car off the road, but with premium brand manufacturers spending hundreds of millions of pounds each year on tyre research and development, budget and premium tyres have vastly different properties.
- Stopping distance at motorway speeds increases by 15 metres.
- Independent tests show budget brand tyres consistently perform very poorly in the wet.
- Grip levels around bends are dramatically reduced.
- Budget tyres won’t last as long.
Premium tyre brands invest heavily in the research and development of tyre technology. They have come up with superior technical developments in the form of better rubber compounds and tread patterns that deliver better, safer performance on the road.
In addition, when car companies develop cars, tyres play such a crucial role in how they feel and perform on the road that car makers test numerous examples from different tyre firms. They then choose a couple that they feel suit their car best and its ride and handling are finely tuned around those. Mercedes, for example, only recommends two tyres for our E-Class, the Pirelli P-Zero and Continental Sport Contact.
Whatever brand you settle on, don’t forget about the spare wheel, and bear in mind some budget tyres won’t last as long as more expensive rubber from premium companies so cheaper tyres aren’t always the best value for money.
Just because they look the same doesn’t mean they are.