Any - Tyres - Man without a plan

Hi folks,

I'm in the market for new tyres and just done a quote on Black Circles.

The cheapest tyre was £60.83 and was branded BlackCircles with 4.9/5 rating and C ratings for fuel economy and wet grip.

Next cheapest was also BlackCircles for £64 odd but worse ratings E for fuel and C for wet grip.

Looking down the options most of the mid-range options are worse rated than C/C and even the premium ones are only B for wet grip and usually the same or worse for fuel economy.

So I know everyone always says "don't scrimp on tyres and brakes" but is a C/B rated premium tyre for example, worth almost double a C/C rated tyre?

Any - Tyres - madf

When emergency braking in the wet, I would want ALL the grip I could get.

Any - Tyres - RobJP

Just remember this : when people give their ratings to the tyre / purchase, it's usually given within a week or so of having the tyres put on - so they're comparing their new tyres with 7mm tread depth to the old, worn-out tyres which had no grip left. So most 'poor' feedback is due to the purchase / delivery / fitting going wrong, and nothing to do with the tyre quality. Have a look at the detailed feedback, and you'll see what I mean.

Not much use if the tyres scrub through the tread depth in 5k miles, though ...

I drive a BMW that is shod with large wheels. Decent (Pirelli Pzero) RFTs are expensive - £200 a corner.

The fronts last about 35k miles. The backs last about 18k miles. (It's a RWD car). So that costs me (about) £1200 in tyres, every 35k miles. Which is about 3p per mile.

Now, I could get unbranded tyres for about £80 a piece. So technically, that would reduce my costs to (roughly) £480 per 35k miles.

But only if the tyres last as long as the PZeros. If they wear faster, then my savings are less. If they're awful on grip or road noise, then I'm going to hate them, and want to change back to quality tyres sooner.

Skimping on tyres is usually a mistake.

Any - Tyres - RT

The differences between each grade are small - and a good C is only fractionally worse than a poor C.

With tyres, the brand name costs and the gradings say nothing about life of progression.

Any - Tyres - gordonbennet

The grip ratings are submitted by the maker after their own tests, make you own mind up what to make of them and which brand you might trust, recent emissions scandals have shown all is not above board no matter how big the company and how much they might spend on advertising.

Depends what you want from a tyre, if i have a car that's inclined to be skittish on poor tyres then wet grip is the only consideration within reason, and i do not care if they last half as long as the premium brand (which may not be as good in wet anyway), so long as they were half the price of the premium to begin with i'm happy, it's my general experience that tyres with exceptional grip don't wear all that well and some tyres that do wear well can be awful in the wet, with various degrees betwee the two.

For what its worth i usually keep to middling brands, on cars that might be Uniroyal (wet grip is fantastic), Vredestein, Nokian, but if there's a serious deal on any (non Chinese) make on any of the tyre sites i use i'll snap them up if they check out as ok.

The other thing is how some tyres can suit one car but be hopeless on others, Pirelli P6000's used to be called on some sites, yet i had a set on a fast Merc estate and they were rock solid on the road regardless of conditions, never found MIchelins to live up to the hypethey enjoy but that might just be me.

Any - Tyres - RobJP

I'd certainly agree with you re Michelin, never found them to my liking whether FWD, RWD or AWD over the years.

Any - Tyres - badbusdriver

Looking at customer ratings for tyres is completely pointless. Unless the customer in question has been in a situation where they have had to make an emergency manoeuvre to avoid an accident it is just an opinion on how they feel the tyre permorms under normal circumstances. Plus, as Rob says, they are comparing their old and worn tyre to a new one, which is not really comparitive. Look at it like this, your car's only contact with the road surface is through 4 small patches of rubber. Because of this i truly despair of people who save money by putting on cheap tyres, it really is a false economy. By all means, do some research to find out which tyre performs best, but look only at independant tests, where a wide variety of tyres have been tested on the same car under the same test conditions. I recently bought a set of michelin all weather tyres for my '06 130k mile transit connect. Bought them off ebay, they were not that expensive, i think about £220 for the 4, and had a local garage fit and balance them. The total cost was well under what a local tyre depot was quoting me for 4 'mid quality' tyres.

At the end of the day, you will only learn the real difference between a good quality tyre, and a poor quality tyre when you are in an emergency situation.

Any - Tyres - Stanb Sevento

I would never fit budjet tyres, I have seen far too many examples of badly built tyres to risk it, their construction quality is suspect. I will not bore you with the technical detail but they were faults that would ruin the ride, handeling and steering of your car and you will never see these problems just looking at the tyre. ( I will explain if you want ) The construction of high grade tyres is different from budjet tyres.

Car manufacturers and tyre companies spend a lot of time tuning tyres and suspension for each model of car, usually more than one brand, these are a good starting place.

A number of years ago a significant development took place with tyre compounds that shifted the balance between grip and tread ware. Some of the traditional carbon black in the tread was replaced with silica allowing softer grippy compound to have better tread life than traditional hard rubber. Silica gives better heat dissipation. The last time I looked this development had not filterd down to budjet brands.

Stick to European brands and buy the best your budjet will allow. The makers discription gives a good guide to the strengths of tyres within their range and what they are optimised for.

Any - Tyres - gordonbennet

I've been averse to Chinese and other cheap tyres for a long time, i tried an experiment to see if my own prejudices were still valid a couple of years ago by buying a set of tyres (Taiwan i believe) that came up cheap, started off ok, remarkably quiet and smooth riding, didn't use them through the winter so can't comment but oh boy second year still at 7mm they put the wind up me a couple of times with full unprovoked tail slides, they came straight off, prejudices confirmed as still valid.

My present Landcruiser came with a set of Nankangs, obviously only been on a few months so as new, and up to a point i can understand the previous owner saving £200 on a set if they knew they were trading the vehicle in soon.

I wanted to hate the things and have been itching for them to put a foot wrong so i can replace them and have had me finger poised on the buy now button several times, however will they falter will they heck, they are proving to grip like billio in the wet and provide a quiet smooth ride annoying though that is for me, the trouble is such big tyres tend to last around 40/50k miles so they might well be teasing me by being there and doing a good job for some years yet..:-)

Will i replace with Chinese tyres, not a hope.

Edited by gordonbennet on 03/04/2017 at 20:17

Any - Tyres - Wackyracer

I've found that kwik-fit can often be competitive on price for quality brand tyres if bought online. The local small tyre shop were no where near on price for Continentals and their cheap tyres were only £5 a corner cheaper.

Any - Tyres - bathtub tom

I refuse to buy Dunlop due to throwing so many away over the decades. Main problems have been bulges and de-laminating. One tyre appeared to have the tread wobbling from side to side as the wheel was spung, causing a steering wheel shimmy. The wheel was true and the problem disappeared with a new tyre.

Curiously I've never had such problems with any other tyre manufacturer.

Any - Tyres - Andrew-T

I've been averse to Chinese and other cheap tyres for a long time, ....

Will i replace with Chinese tyres, not a hope.

It's easy to say 'don't but Chinese tyres'. Trouble is, it's not so easy to tell where tyres come from any more without reading the small print.

I've always gone for mid-range tyres because my style of driving is less-than-averagely likely to get me into difficulty, and I don't clock up high mileage. I've been happy with Avons and recently bought a set of four. The tyres look 'normal', but lo and behold, they are now made in Serbia - at least this set is. They seem OK to me, but I was rather surprised.

Any - Tyres - Engineer Andy

Its not the country of manufacture you should worry about, but the ownership of the brand of tyre your looking at. At present, at least, Chinese designed tyres are still of poor quality compared to those from long-established worldwide brands, even if they are 'value' sub-barnds of the major makes.

Others' suggestions that they use older technology in the make-up of the tyres seems to be borne out of the usage tests, where the Chinese designed tyres appear to be hard, long-lasting, but poor on grip, particularly in the wet/poor weather. They are also still cheapest of the market, so is normally a dead give-away. I personally wouldn't buy or use cars with Chinese-designed tyres - too much of a risk in poor weather driving for the sake of a few pounds.

Given that eventually Chinese designed goods in other areas, such as computer electronics, now is up their with those from other countries, other tyre manufacturers should not rest on their laurels. Their cars may be of lower quality at present, but they have a lot of buying power (Volvo, MG, etc), so could easily buy up a major manufacturer (especially UK-based ones such as Avon - UK shareholders [generally] seemingly have no qualms selling to anyone for a huge short-term profit) and gain a significant foothold that way.

Any - Tyres - HandCart

You confuse me, GB...

You're averse to chinese and other cheap tyres,
but your Landcruiser's tyres "grip like billio, provide a quiet smooth ride, and look set to last 40k miles..."

...and they're Nankangs - which are a cheap brand, from Taiwan.

Er.... ?

Any - Tyres - RobJP

Nankang are, as you say, from Taiwan. Which is not the PRC - Peoples Republic of China, which is otherwise just called China.

Taiwan is also known as 'Chinese Taipei' or (a more official name), the Republic of China.

Any - Tyres - HandCart

I don't disagree Rob, but it's a tad hair-splitting. ;-)

I believe mainland China still reckons Taiwan is still 'theirs' anyway, strictly (?)

My own two penneth is that: not all cheap tyres condemn you to an accident.

Some of the overall best tyres I have had were Fulda, of which the fronts lasted 36k miles on my Astra and the rears STILL have loads of tread after 60k ,
and I've had no 'incidents' despite my bipolar driving style: 70% cruising at 60mph, 30% hooning around pushing the envelope like a complete and utter idiot.

I've also tried King Meiler german retreads, as an experiment, figuring that maybe they can't be too bad if you're allowed to use them on an autobahn and they have the same speed rating as standard tyres: They didn't quite have the traction of the Fuldas, but were otherwise fine, except they only lasted about 14k miles.

Currently have the highly-regarded Dunlop SportBluResponse, which seem good, but don't look like they'll last a very great mileage either.

If you look around (as I do, being a bit odd in that way), you'll see there's just a HUGE number/proportion of cars out there running around on Landsail, Triangle, Westlake, Goodride, Three-A, Autogrip, HiFly, Ovation, Federal, Delinte, Jinyu, Wanli, Linglong, Event, BCT, Infinity and Evergreen etc tyres:

Given that, and the numpty abilities of many of the drivers out there, if the aforementioned makes had no grip whatsoever, you'd see cars simply falling off the road left right and centre every time you stepped outdoors - it would be total carnage, would it not?

I absolutely concur that the surefire policy is to buy the best tyres that you can afford, from respected makers,
but I'm also forced to conclude that budget chinese tyres must apparently be fit enough for many people's purposes.

Any - Tyres - Manatee

A pal of mine whose opinion I listen to has found Landsail to be fine, and he recommends them to people looking for cheap tyres.

Any - Tyres - gordonbennet

You confuse me, GB...

Consider me confused too, i expected, nay wanted, them to be as awful as i expected them to be so i could justify getting rid and putting something i want on, however they have proved to be quite decent, at least so far, they are after all virtually new still.

The full time 4WD system which is quite trick on the Landcruiser LC5 model may have some bearing, how they would be on a Hilux with part time 4WD and a limited slip rear diff, and being light at the back, might be a different story entyrely...sorry i had to :-) i'm treading carefully so don't let the pressure get to you...

When i did have said Hilux i'd removed the OE Pirellis beforer 1000 miles because they were awful (ironically enough the dealer demo shod the same was spun out on a wet roundabout and written off and i am not at all surprised), tried a set of Yokohamas, no better, ended up with a set of General UHP's which did grip really well, thing is where a leaf sprung RWD would normally pick the inside wheel on a corner up slightly and allow that wheel to spin, whilst the other wheel now having lost power kept it all together, with the LSD (and it was a very tight LSD) both wheels kept almost all drive so one wheel going light meant greatly reduced grip at the rear but no loss of lower in the gripping wheel, hence very quick oversteer, the Generals suited that vehicle well, but they may not suit the Landcruiser.

Fulda are on my radar too when the time comes.

Edited by gordonbennet on 05/04/2017 at 16:41

Any - Tyres - Smileyman

First and foremost must be how safe the tyre will be - for instance if you need to stop quickly will it grip or skid? If you take a corner and the road is wet will the tyre grip or skid? It's all a compromise, but these days there are good choices out there.

Another consideration is tyre life, if one tyre wears out more quickly than another then do you want to pay extra for a longer lasting tyre (that of course might get a puncture mid life) or pay less knowing the tyre will only last a shorter time?

Do consider the fuel economy of the tyre too, if it uses more fuel you'll pay at the pumps with fewer miles for your gallon. .

As for tyre pricing, the factors are so various as not to be worth worrying about ... choose a price band and look around for offers!

Look at this web site too ....

Any - Tyres - sandy56

Never buy cheap tyres. It could cost you your life.

If you cannot afford to run a car then get the bus. Seriously, buy reasonable quality tyres, get advice from HJ or other sites and buy the BEST you can afford.

Any - Tyres - Engineer Andy
Look at this web site too ....

In my view, its a reasonably good website, but one feature it doesn't have is to be able to put in multiple reviews of the same tyres through their life, and be weighted to give a reasonable representation of what using them would be like - most reviews are a snapshot within the first 1000 miles (often far less), where most tyres seem fine, or when the owner gets rid of them, because they're worn out or hate them because they don't meet their expectations. Sort of similar to HJ's 'real mpg' (which often changes throughout the life of a car, especially early on and when its old [or not well maintained]).

Many tyres seem fine first of all (my previous set of OEM Bridgestone ER30s were fine for the first year [10k miles], but then went very hard and noisy, and were poor in the wet), but their 'true nature' soon becomes apparent. The problem is that if most reviews are for the first 1000 miles and only a few in mid-end-of-life, the results are skewed. WInter tyres in particular get spectacular reviews, but then they are used in certain conditions, and not as many summer tyres are - all year round.

The tests by the motoring magazines (shown on that website) are ok, but again aren't really looking at real-world conditions, mostly on a track and at the limit with higher-performance cars. Besides looking at the 'numbers' in the reviews (or averages over the reviews), I look at what the reviewers (users) say for similar cars to mine and who've reviewed them at the mid-life of the tyre. I also pay attention to how the user drives their car, which can make just as much of a difference as the tyres themselves to the ownership experience.

Any - Tyres - Terry W

Very cheap tyres are cheap for a reason - often 20 year old design cast-offs made under licence with tooling from a more premium brand.

It is also clear that there is a trade off between longevity (hard compound) and grip (softer), wet vs dry (tread depth, design), winter and summer (compound). All tyres are therefore a compromise.

To compound the complexity one could question whether a premium tyre with (say) 4mm tread would still out perform a new budget tyre with 7mm.

There is also the driver - most would probably benefit much more in terms of accident reduction by trading the extra £2-400 for premium quality tyres on a few lessons with an advanced driving instructor. If you have the dosh you could of course do both!

We may all like to think we are steely eyed, alert, with quick reactions and supreme road sense. People who would benefit from the very best grip we can buy. The reality, I suspect, even on this forum, is a rather more mundane.

In summary - very cheap no, budget are probably fine for those of us without very particular requirements. Spending more is just ego.

Any - Tyres - concrete

Could not agree more. Do not scrimp on tyres, or most other maintenance items too. When you aquaplaning towards the inevitable you will wish you had spent the extra!! I have always replaced tyres like for like. My last car had Michelin Primacy and were always replaced with the same make and spec as original. Good mileage, grip and peace of mind. Bite the bullet, after all at 70mph your only contact with the road is few square inches of tyre!!!

Cheers Concrete

Any - Tyres - Smileyman

one other matter - the law says you must have 1.6mm tread depth, whilst this is a legal minimum it is much safer to change before this tread depth, ideally say at 3mm ... wet weather driving will be much safer that way.

Any - Tyres - meldrew

You can go on the ATS website and order at internet price for a fitting at the nearest ATS to you. Recently paid £120 each (fitted and VAT incl.) for Michelin runflats.


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