Buying Tyres

So you need new tyres – what do you choose? How do you pick the right tyres without compromising your safety or your budget?

Am I getting value for money?

Sometimes there are only a few dollars between 2 brands of tyres. Naturally, if you are trying to save money, your instinct is to go for the cheaper one.

One way to work out what your tyres are costing you is to divide the number of kilometres on the warranty by the cost of the tyre. For example, tyre 1 costs $150 per tyre and has a 12,000 km warranty. This equates to 0.012 cents per kilometre.  Tyre 2 costs $200 per tyre and has the same warranty. This equates to 0.017 cents per kilometre.

If the more expensive tyre gives you a safer ride, and better handling and performance for the next 12,000 kilometres or 12 months (whichever comes first, which is usually standard with warranties) – then the extra 0.005 cents per kilometre is probably worth paying for.

Remember that warranties only apply to normal driving conditions.

Are imported tyres suitable for New Zealand roads?

New Zealand roads are different from most other countries because they are made from bitumen with stone chips on the top, not concrete. This is because bitumen is flexible and can handle the different temperatures we get here. It is also a lot cheaper than concrete.

Most tyres imported here will be suitable for New Zealand roads, and any tyre professional will be more than happy to help you find the right one for your car.

One thing to be aware of though, is that the tyres on imported cars are not always suitable for our roads.  Most imported cars have tyres on them that are suited to the place of manufacture. You may find that your first set of tyres on an imported car will wear out a lot faster than usual.

Do certain tyres suit my car more than others?

Yes, they do. There are certain things that should be factored into your choice of tyres.

  • What type of car you have.
  • What type of roads you typically drive on.
  • Whether or not you frequently drive long distances.
  • What you expect out of your tyres.

What do those numbers mean on my tyres?

The numbers and letter on the side of a tyre are what helps you pick out the right tyre for your car.  This is what each letter or number represents, using the example 205/65R15.

  • P – This symbol would be at the front, before those listed above, but it isn’t always shown. It means Passenger tyre.
  • 205 – The tyre is 205mm wide when it is on the correct rim and inflated properly.
  • 65 – This is the tyres profile or aspect ratio. As in the height is 65% of the width of the tyre.
  • R – This tyre is a Radial construction.
  • 15 – Is the rim diameter in inches.

After the numbers above, there will be a space, then three more numbers, for example, 86H.

  • 86 – Is the load bearing weight of the tyre. This calculated using a special table, which your tyre dealer will have.
  • H – Is the maximum speed for your tyre. Your tyre dealer can also help you find the correct tyre speed for your usage.

Do I need to have summer and winter tyres?

If you live where the weather is pretty average all year round, then you will be perfectly fine with all-season tyres.  If however, you live where the winter weather is consistently cold and wet, then yes, it is a good idea to have one set of tyres for summer and another set for winter.  Keep the following in mind for your winter tyres.

  • Only use your winter tyres when they are really needed.
  • Replace them with summer tyres when the weather warms up, as winter tyres have less grip in summer.
  • Never mix summer and winter tyres on your vehicle at the same time.
  • Keep an eye on the age of your winter tyres. Anything older than 7 years should be replaced due to the hardening of rubber, making them unsafe.

If you have any doubts about what tyres to put on your car, check with us after all we are tyre professionals.

Kelvin Armstrong Auto Repairs

Kelvin Armstrong Auto Repairs (KAAR) is recognised as the most competent, capable, and reliable automotive repairer west of the Auckland City isthmus.

With fully equipped, state of art facilities in both Avondale and Henderson, KAAR gives a choice of two handy locations for full automotive, mechanical, electrical repairs and servicing for all vehicles, including European makes and models like Audi, VW and BMW.

We cater for all makes and models of cars, vans, 4x4s and light trucks. We service petrol, diesel and hybrid motors.

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