A good set of tyres is essential

By Sandyford Aug 10, 2021

The tyre is the only point of contact between the car and the road so play a vital role in safe driving so having a reliable tyre set is primarily about driving safely.   But proper tyre care and maintenance also ensures a comfortable drive and can even save you money on fuel in the long run.  Purchasing a new tyre can be a confusing business.  Here at Sandyford Motor Centre, our experienced staff are pleased to advise on the optimum tyres for your car. Since 2012, the EU have used a tyre labelling system to assist vehicle owners in purchasing the best tyre for their driving needs.    This year, the label was updated to include new information. 


New EU Labelling of Tyres

The new EU tyre label offers more information so that consumers can make informed decisions when buying tyres. While the old label only showed tyre classes based on three criteria, rolling resistance, wet grip, and external rolling noises,  the smart new label offers information on performances in cold weather conditions and so much more.  

Wet Grip Rating.   Simply put, wet grip rating is the tyres ability to stick to the road in wet conditions. Tyres with a high wet grip rating will stop more quickly on wet roads when full brakes are applied.  This can be the difference between life and death in certain situations. The scale of the label classes for wet grip and rolling resistance now have 5 instead of 7 classes, designated with the letters A to E. with the new labels.

Fuel Efficiency. Most drivers would be surprised to learn that their tyres account for up to 20% of the fuel consumption of the car.  The little fuel icon on the new label indicates the best fuel economy class from A to E. This is based on the tyre’s rolling resistance. Between classes, fuel consumption increases by approximately 0.1 litre for every 100 km driven. Fuel efficient tyres require less energy to roll. Purchase tyres with high efficiency ratings and you will get more kilometres for your euro and also reduce your C02 emissions.

Noise Rating The exterior noise that a tyre generates while driving is measured in decibels (dB) and the exact number is shown on the bottom part of the new Eu tyre label.  Tyres with a low noise level have between 67 and 71 dB. And the highest level kicks in  between 72 and 77 dB.  The goal is to reduce noise from road traffic for the good of the environment and this also reduces cabin noise making for a more pleasant drive

The QR Code:  A QR, or Quick Response Code is a form of  two-dimensional barcode that can be read using smart phones and dedicated QR reading devices.  On the tyre label it links you directly to more product information sheets from the European Product Registry for Energy Labelling database.

The Tyre Type identifier.  Each tyre has its own unique number/code

The snow and ice icon.   If this is displayed it shows that the tyres are specifically designed for road surfaces covered with ice and compact snow  and should only be used in very severe climate conditions. Using ice grip tyres in warm temperatures could result in loss of grip and general poor performance.

Some tyres will be exempt from the new labels.Non-road-legal tyres, such as those on race cars, re-tread tyres. Temporary spare tyres and vintage tyres designed for pre-1990 cars

General tyre information

A new set of tyres is a sizeable financial outlay for most motorists and it is always wise to seek advice when purchasing.   Here at Sandyford Motor Centre, we take the health of tyres very seriously and    fully appreciate the real link to performance and safety.  Purchasing new tyres has become easier with the new EU labelling. There is also a responisbilty to maintain and look after the car tyres going forward. 

The legal requirement for tyre tread is at least 1.6mm. In difficult weather conditions, that should realistically be at minimum  ofabout 3.mm. It is the tread on the tyre that keeps you safe and grips the Worn tyre treads are extremely dangerous and this is reflected in the fine of €2,500 and 5 penalty points for those found driving on worn and dangerous tyres.  It is essential that the correct inflation is applied to tyres and the vehicle handbook can assist with this. An underinflated tyre can cost you money in fuel consumption and an over inflated tyre runs the risk of blow-out on the road. Have your wheels balanced

Wheel Alignment

Wheel alignment and balance and not the same thing. Wheel alignment means adjusting the wheel angles so that they are parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground.  Aligned wheels will extend the life of the tyres as it prevents uneven wear.  If you feel the car pulling a bit to one side when you’re driving on a straight road, it might be no harm to get the alignment checked.

Wheel balancing

Wheel or tyre balancing ensures that the weight of the tyre and wheel are balanced so that they spin smoothly at high speeds.  To balance a wheel, it is placed on a balancer which centres the wheel and spins to determine where the weight is off and where small weights should go to make sure it rotates evenly.  There are a few car symptoms that your wheels need balancing. The most common is a vibrating steering wheel which gets worse at higher speeds and tell-tale wearing of the tyres themselves.

Age and tyres sitting up for a while

IN the past year and a half many cars were sitting up outside houses as people quarantined or drove less because of the pandemic.  Tyre pressure can deflate as a car is immobile.  If the car is left for a long time undriven, the deflation of the tyres may cause them to go completely flat.   The weight of the car can do damage then and the tyres should not just be reinflated, but the wheel itself checked and the tyres possibly replaced.  UV rays can attack the rubber if the car is left in the sun and in general it would be advisable to get an authorised garage to check the tyres if you haven’t driven for a while.

Which tyre brand

Now there is the six-million-dollar question. If you are under budgetary restrictions, you can find a tyre brand from a reputable manufacturer that will see you driving safe and happy for two to five years, depending on how well you look after the tyres, the driving surfaces and your own driving habits.  If you want to spend more there are plenty of expensive and exclusive brands to choose from.  A pricey tyre does not mean that the tyre will last longer, but it may mean a more comfortable ride and of course, the tyre should match the car manufacturers specifications.  Help the car out by checking regularly that the tyres are correct for the make and model.   Every tyre has a short four-digit number on the external sidewall. This is the DOT code, or the date of birth for the tyre. The first two numbers are the week of manufacturer and the last two are the year of manufacture.  For advice on the right tyres for your car and the best in quality and value, just pop in and check with any of the team here at Sandyford Motor Centre  .

Seasonal Tyres

 Winter tyres are made from a softer rubber, and this allows for retaining flexibility in colder temperatures.  Changing to winter tyres is not a legal requirement in Ireland but if you are concerned about driving on ice and snow, they do provide more grip as they have deep grooves. If you do get winter tyres, bear in mind that they behave differently in hot weather and the softer tyres can overheat even in an Irish summer.   Summer tyres are unsurprisingly the exact opposite with a less pliable and rigid rubber.  This increases grip to the hotter roads in the summer season and give more traction.  However, if you drive the winter roads in your summer tyres you will slip and slide and have a lot less grip.  It is as unwise as wearing your flip flops in the snow.  The perfect and convenient solution is an All-season tyre.  They are neither the hero of the hot weather driving or freezing conditions but work adequately in both.  These are the most popular for Ireland’s temperate climate.

 If you have any worries about your tyres, don’t delay in getting them checked and replaced if necessary.  

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