Selecting the right tyre for your vehicle
If you are replacing tyres on your car, it is essential that they meet the minimum standards that are detailed on your Tyre Placard (see example below), which can normally be found in the glove box cover, doorjamb or under the bonnet. Every new car sold in Australia since 1973 has been required to have this placard.
When you do replace your tyres, you must ensure that the load carrying capacity is at least equal to, if not better than, the sizes shown on the placard. You must also comply with local road and vehicle legislation. Legislation requirements can vary from state to state.
Check with the transport authority in your state to confirm the legislation that applies to you:
- The NSW Roads and Traffic Authority
- Queensland Mainroads
- Mainroads Western Australia
- Northern Territory Dept of Transport and Works
- Dept of Transport Tasmania
- Transport SA
- ACT Dept of Urban Services
You need the right tyre to ensure maximum life and lower cost (overall). There are many factors to consider when purchasing tyres for your car and these should be discussed in detail with your professional tyre retailer. Put the pressure on and see f you can get the dealer to provide a free balance and/or rotation after 5,000klm. It’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease...
Driving style – Are you a lead foot or driving Miss Daisy? You’ll need to match the right tyre for your driving style or adjust how you drive (perhaps the correct tyre would be best).
Vehicle type – There is a vast difference between the forces at play on the tyres of a car, 4WD, commercial van, light truck etc. There are vastly different tyres for each type of vehicle.
Road surface – Have a think about what type surface you expect to be driving on most of the time. ie sealed, gravel, good/poor condition, dry/wet etc.
Load/weight – You might regularly have a tonne of bricks on the back or perhaps just the weekly shopping. Be absolutely certain your tyres can handle the load expected.
Budget – The best things in life (like love for example) are free. Not so with tyres sorry. You’re going to have to decide how much you can afford and bite the bullet. Your tyres are crucial to keeping your vehicle safely on the road, so don’t cut corners here. It may literally be a matter of life and death. The great news is that the rise in the cost of tyres over the past 15 years has been 20% less than the cost of living. What’s riding on your tyres?
Tyre Compound – This refers the rubber in the tyre being soft or hard. Softer tyres will stick to the road a great deal better but are more expensive and wear out faster (eg 20,000klm). Harder compound tyres will not grip quite as well but are often cheaper initially and will last longer (eg 60,000klm).
Profile – This refers to the side wall of the tyre and is also known as aspect ratio or series. A higher profile will mean a softer ride but not quite the performance, especially on sharp turns, as the tyre will roll less. A lower profile will be a harder ride but will be more responsive to sudden turns.