What do I do when I need new tyres?
First, take down some notes.
Find out the size of the tyre and the brand. This is best done by looking at the numbers on the side of the tyre. Look for a group of three specific numbers, like 195/55R16, then check the brand, like Continental, Michelin, Pirelli etc.
Tip: Check the driver’s side tyres as the numbers won’t be worn out by the constant rubbing against the kerb when parking.
How much should I pay for tyres?
Like anything in life, you pay extra for quality and tyres are no different. The size of the tyre will also determine the price; the bigger the tyre, the more expensive it is.
If you use the example of a 195/55R16 tyre, which is a typical size, a good quality tyre will cost around $150 to $200 each.
If you want a premium tyre, like Michelin, Bridgestone, Pirelli or Continental, you’ll be paying around $200 to $300 per tyre.
If you are after a budget brand, then the average price is $100 to $150 each.
What do I ask for?
After you’ve found a tyre shop to call, mention to them four things;
- the make and model of the car including the year
- The brand of the tyre currently on your car
- The size(s) of the tyre
- Your spending budget
What do the tyre sizes mean?
The numbers and letters on the side of the tyre are always in a group of three, i.e. 195/55R16 or 225/45R17. This is the size of the tyre.
But there is also a second set which look like, 91V or 100Y. This is the load and speed rating.
Don’t be too concerned by what they mean; all you really need to do is note them down, ready for when you are contacting the tyre shop.
Tip: Always check the numbers on one front and one rear tyre because some cars have wider tyres on the back.
What does the price of the tyre include?
In most cases, the price will always include the fitting and balancing of the tyre.
This includes removing the old tyre off the wheel and re-fitting the new tyre. New valves are normally also included in the price.
Wheel or steering alignments are normally not included in the price and are considered an extra, however it’s always common (and good) practice to have a wheel alignment carried out after having new tyres.
The typical price for a wheel alignment averages around $65 to $100 all up. Later model cars are normally on the higher side since suspension systems are becoming quite intricate.
Why is there such a difference between tyre prices?
You definitely pay more for quality and for the brand name, but for good reasons.
Tyre companies invest thousands of hours and millions of dollars in developing tyres, which can mean the difference in stopping either 1 to 5 meters shorter in distance than a cheaper tyre.
A quality tyre is also less likely to lose traction when driving around a curve in the wet for example.
The big names in tyres like, Continental, Pirelli, Michelin and Bridgestone cost more because they put in the extra effort to make a good, safe tyre.
Can I just replace two tyres?
You certainly can. In many cases only the front or the rear tyres will be replaced, and this is fine.
Tyres on the same axle usually wear at the same rate and need to be replaced at the same time, but the tyre wear can vary between the front and the back, and this is why sometimes tyres are replaced in pairs only.
Try to replace two tyres on the same axle, don’t replace one front and one rear tyre, this is not good practice.
Tip: Always put the new tyres to the front because they are the steering wheels. Also, most of the braking occurs on the front wheels.
How long does it take to replace my tyres, and can I wait?
A good tyre technician should be able to replace four tyres and carry out a wheel alignment in about 1.5 hours. Because of this relatively short time, many people either wait or go for a coffee down the road.
Do I need to make a booking or can I just roll up and wait?
Always best to book a time as most tyre shops cannot stock the myriad of different tyre sizes out there. In some cases they would need to order them in which can take around 3 to 5 hours.
Tip: Enquire and order new tyres before 10am, because if the tyre shop needs to order them in, then they’ll get the tyres on the same day ready for fitting in the afternoon.