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The ultimate guide to buying tyres

If you need to buy new tyres but you’re not sure where to start, we’ve got all the information you’ll need.

Confused about buying tyres? We make it easier with our simple guide.

Confused about buying tyres? We make it easier with our simple guide.

Not sure what kind of tyres you need? From cross climate and budget tyres to finding the right size and fit, buying tyres can be confusing.

But it doesn’t have to be that way – we make it easy for you to get on the road with this simple guide to buying tyres.

Choose your tyre type

The type of tyre you choose depends on several factors – the kind of car you drive, the seasons, the type of roads you regularly drive on, your driving style and your budget.

For a comprehensive overview of the different kinds of tyres available, have a look at our guide to the different types of tyres and see what might suit you best.

Get the right size for your car

You can find your tyre size by looking on the sidewall of your existing tyres. It will be in raised lettering.

This is an example of what the number will look like: 195/55 R16 87V

So…

  • 195 = width (mm)
  • 55 = profile (mm)
  • R16 = rim diameter (inches)
  • 87 = maximum carrying load
  • V = speed rating

Check the tyre speed rating

That letter at the end of your tyre size number is important.

It refers to the maximum speed for which your tyre is legally approved. Buy the wrong tyre and your insurance could be invalid.

The speed rating should be matched to the official top speed your car can do. The table below can help you choose the right tyre at a glance.

Tyre speed ratings

Speed symbolMax speed mphMax speed km/hSpeed symbolMax speed mphMax speed km/h
M81130H130210
P93150V150240
Q99160W169270
R106170Y187300
S112180ZROver 150Over 240
T118190

Make sure your tyres work well together

It’s very important that any new tyres are compatible with existing tyres, and that they are all the same size, load and speed rating as each other.

Tyre labelling

When you buy a new tyre, you’ll see a label on it, a bit similar to the energy-saving advice labels you find on cookers and fridges. Since 2012, EU legislation has stated that all tyres must be labelled on an A-G scale to indicate their fuel economy, braking and external noise levels.

It might seem a bit baffling at first, but an A-rated tyre can save you £80 on fuel for the lifespan of the tyre, so it could be worth paying a bit more. For more info, visit our tyre information page.

Which brand to buy?

Not all tyres are created equal. Premium brands like Hankook and Michelin are pricier but will last you longer, while mid-range brands like Uniroyal will offer good durability, depending on your driving style.

There are also quality budget options that will do the job just as well. Arnold Clark exclusively stocks Orium tyres, which offer safe and effective all-round performance from just £28.

Have them professionally fitted

It’s not expensive to have tyres professionally fitted and it’s a lot more convenient than doing it yourself. Here’s a sample price guide so you can see what you might pay for your car’s tyres to be replaced.

Tread carefully

Tyres are usually guaranteed for around five or six years, but that can vary depending on your driving style. So it’s a good idea to check the tread depth regularly. It’s vital that your tyres have a legal tread depth above 1.6mm, as anything below that is illegal.

A simple way to check them is by inserting a 20p coin into the groove in the tyre – if you can see the outer edge of the coin, it’s time to change. However, you can also book a free tyre safety check to make sure.

About the Author

Lucy Sweet

Staff writer at Arnold Clark

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