Last month, we tackled the question are premium tyres actually any better than their budget equivalents. If you didn’t read it, here’s the short answer: yes, they are.
So given that premium tyres are demonstrably better, this time we’ll look at a slightly different question: should you invest in a set? Or would you be perfectly OK with a cheap-and-cheerful budget brand? And just to confuse things further, what about mid-range tyres?
Here’s our take on the benefits of each type of tyre for different circumstances.
There are certain situations in which premier tyres are the only rational choice. For owners of high-performance cars, for example, premier tyres are a no-brainer. Given that the tyre is the only point of contact between all that expensive machinery and the road, drivers will need the ultimate in performance.
However, certain driving styles also warrant performance tyres. You may not own a Lamborghini, but if you drive your slightly-warm hatch as if you do (you know who you are!), then you could still be pushing your tyres to the limits of their ability. And in this case, premium tyres may again be a good choice.
Finally, it’s worth remembering that premium tyres can offer outstanding durability. Although the upfront costs may be higher, premium tyres can often work out more of a bargain than their cheaper-priced equivalents. So even if performance isn’t at the top of your criteria, premium tyres can be worth considering.
For certain vehicle owners, a mid-range tyre makes more sense than either premium or budget varieties. Take delivery van drivers, for example. Because they’re continually pulling in at the roadside (think stray nails and screws, collisions with kerbs), their tyres suffer tyre wall damage more frequently than is usual. That means that their tyres often require replacing before the tread has suffered serious wear. These drivers may never get to benefit from the increased longevity of premium tyres offer. However, they are still likely to need a performance that’s better than budget tyres can offer. In this scenario, mid-range tyres could therefore be the optimal choice.
In terms of performance and durability, some mid-range tyres come close to matching premium brands. If you’re driving for moderate numbers of miles in an unexceptional car, mid-range tyres can be an excellent option. An expert tyre supplier can help you make that call.
As we pointed out in Part One of this post, there are good reasons why budget tyres are cheap. You’re not paying for the expensive materials, construction, or extensive research and development costs associated with premier tyres. Unsurprisingly, this means that they don’t perform so well and generally don’t last as long.
Nevertheless, there are certain situations where budget tyres are a great choice.
Not every vehicle owner clocks up tens of thousands of miles each year, or has to cope with varied driving conditions. A substantial number of owners use their car sparingly, perhaps regularly following the same short routes each time. Their car might only used be used for the shopping run, and rarely see more than 30 mph. A proportion of older drivers, for example, fit this profile. In this case, although they would still benefit from the increased durability of mid-range tyres, any improvements in performance might not even be noticeable. Budget tyres are a viable option.
The second scenario where budget tyres may come into their own is where the owner is expecting to get rid of the vehicle before too long. Let’s say you own an 20 year old Nissan Micra. It’s nearing the end of its life, and you anticipate scrapping it before the next MOT. In this situation, investing in pricey tyres wouldn’t make a great deal of sense. Provided the buyer recognises the limitations of budget makes, these offer a cost-effective alternative.
Finally, let’s not forget that if you’re strapped for cash, budget tyres are sometimes the only option. Mid-range tyres may last longer and ultimately be more economical, but that’s no consolation if you just can’t afford them! For thousands of drivers who lack the means to buy more expensive brands, budget tyres keep their vehicles on the road .
Of course, it’s horses for courses
So, it’s no great surprise that the optimal type of tyre for your needs — premium, mid-range or budget — will depend on a combination of the following:
- Your type of vehicle
- Your driving style
- Your annual mileage
- The road conditions that you encounter, especially wet conditions
- The length of time you intend to keep the vehicle
If you’re in doubt what type of tyre suits your needs, our advice is to ask an expert. At BK Tyres, we fit tyres all day, every day, and to all types of vehicle — so if you’re looking for replacement tyres in Oxfordshire, Berkshire or Buckinghamshire, get in touch with our friendly team.