Car Tyre Buyers Guide

Thanks to constant contact with the road, your car’s tyres sadly have a limited lifespan.

Eventually, all four will have to be replaced, but just getting a like-for-like replacement may not necessarily be the best move. Car tyres come in a variety of sizes, styles and with certain features, so more understanding of car tyres can help to improve your car’s handling and performance, or at least save you some money.

Understanding the numbers on your tyres

Understanding the numbers on your tyres

The first thing to look out for when it comes to car tyres are the numbers stamped on the side of each tyre. These numbers show vital information about the tyres, but it isn’t always clear what they mean. For instance, you may see something like this printed on the tyre: 235/60 R 18 V XL The first number, in this case 235, is the tyre’s diameter in millimetres.

The second number is the tyre’s height, as a percentage of the width (in this case, 60). If the second number is 50 or less, then the tyre can be considered ‘low profile’. Low profile tyres offer a firmer ride with better handling, but you may end up paying a premium for this type of tyre.

The next number has an R in front if, which refers to the rim diameter. In this example, this tyre’s rim is 18 inches in diameter.

The last two sets of letters refer to the maximum load and maximum speed that the tyre is rated for. Here, the tyre can take extra load (XL) and can travel up to 240 km/h (V rating)

Choosing the correct tyres

The key thing when it comes to choosing a tyre is having the right ratings and the right size. If the tyre is too small or too big, it won’t fit onto your wheel correctly. If the ratings don't match your other tyres or are insufficient for your car (i.e., you car is too heavy for the load rating), then you could end up negating your insurance cover.

If you get your tyres fitted at Halfords, we'll ensure the tyre(s) offered are fully compatible with your vehicle. When it comes to tyre quality, you generally get what you pay for. Premium tyres will not only last longer, but may also perform better in adverse conditions. Budget tyres may even last up to half as long as a premium tyre, so it may be worth weighing up whether it's worth paying the extra money for a tyre that lasts twice as long.

Remember that if you have a van, campervan, 4x4 or other specialist vehicle, then you’ll need specialist tyres to match – check the ones already in place or ask a Halfords colleague which tyres can be used.

Shop car tyres

Seasonal car tyres

Did you know that 95% of road users only stick to summer tyres all year round, despite there being potentially better options for when the weather takes a turn?

At Halfords, we also stock winter tyres, designed for driving in icy or snowy conditions, as well as on wet roads, alongside all-season tyres that offer many of the benefits from both winter and summer tyres. The benefits to changing tyres in winter or going for all-season are mainly about handling in poor conditions or when the temperature drops below 7ºC, so they’re a good option if you want some extra grip in tough conditions.

Many winter tyres are designed specifically for performing in the snow, with finer treads that allow snow to compact, improving overall grip.

Shop winters tyres

How do I change a car tyre?

Changing tyres at home can be difficult, as you’ll need machinery powerful enough to remove the tyre from wheel itself. This is why we offer tyre fitting when purchasing new tyres as part of the purchase. We may even be able to save a punctured or slightly damaged tyre, so it makes sense to pay us a visit even if you’ve already decided it’s time for a new car tyre.

If you need help and advice on changing a wheel at the side of the road, then check this handy guide.

Don’t forget that you can always bring your car to Halfords for a free safety check, which includes a tyre tread depth check. Driving on tyres which don’t have enough tread can be dangerous, plus you could be fined if you are stopped by the police.