How To Choose the Best Tyres For Your Vehicle

The tyres on your car, van or motorcycle do the crucial job of sticking you to the road, so spending time on selecting the right set is crucial to your safety and comfort. Many people choose a new set of car tyres based on price alone, but that’s a mistake. The tyres you choose will have a significant impact on how your car steers, accelerates, brakes and feels when driving.

At Halfords, we understand that choosing the right tyres from the thousands of available may seem daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. Use our guide below, and you’ll know (almost) everything there is to know about tyres.


Car tyre size guide

Car wheels come in different sizes, and so (thankfully) do tyres. Before you start shopping, you’ll need to do is to establish your vehicle's tyre size. You can find this on the wall of your tyre or in your vehicle's handbook.

It looks like this:

If you’re interested, here are what all those combinations of numbers and letters actually mean:


What do the numbers mean?

Section width The width of the tyre in millimetres.
Aspect ratio (Profile) The ratio of the tyre's width to height, as a percentage.
A low profile tyre has shorter side walls which aren't as flexible as regular profile tyres. Shorter side walls increase your road holding, grip around corners and are considered to improve the look of your car. However, low profile tyres are generally more expensive and are less comfortable than regular profile tyres.
Rim diameter The diameter of the rim which the tyre is to be fitted to, in inches.
Load rating index Indicates the maximum load that each tyre can support.
Speed rating index The speed rating indicates the maximum speed at which the tyre can carry a load corresponding to its load rating.
Code mph Code mph
Q 100 V 149
R 106 Z Over 149
S 112 W 168
T 118 (W) Over 168
U 124 Y 186
H 130 (Y) Over 186

Balancing quality and price

Once you know the right tyre size for your vehicle, you'll need to consider the quality of tyre that you want, and the price you are prepared to pay.

The good news is that all tyres on sale in the UK will meet strict safety standards, so you can expect them to be safe. Where they differ is on performance and longevity.

Premium tyres are likely to last for more miles and give you a better driving experience. A set of premium tyres are an investment in ride quality and comfort, and can pay you back, particularly if you are planning to resell or trade your car soon.

Here are some of the differences between premium, mid-range and budget tyres:


Premium tyres

Manufacturers invest millions in developing new premium tyres to ensure they deliver perfect performance. Today, you can expect a set of high-quality tyres to last between 15,000 – 20,000 miles. As well as long life, they also have less rolling resistance, making them quieter, improving fuel economy and grip. The stopping distances on premium tyres are shorter than in cheaper ranges.

We recommend Bridgestone, Continental, Dunlop, Goodyear, Michelin or Pirelli.


Mid-range tyres

As their name suggests, mid-range tyres offer a balance between the performance of premium tyres and the value of budget tyres. Premium tyres are often the choice of those who want the highest quality and latest developments and are prepared to pay for them. If you use the car for everyday family driving or commuting, mid-range tyres can provide excellent value for money.

At this price point, you’re unlikely to be getting a household name. However, manufacturers still invest heavily in tyre technology, delivering a comfortable ride for thousands of miles.

Mid-range can provide great value for money and depending on the type of driving that you do, they can also prove to have a long life span.

We recommend Firestone, Avon, Yokohama, Toyo,


Budget tyres

In life, you generally get what you pay for, and tyres are no different. Budget tyres don't always undergo the same rigorous production processes as premium tyres, and in simple terms, they don't last as long.

A set of budget tyres will last around 7,000 to 8,000 miles. If you’re a low-mileage driver or money is tight, then a set of budget tyres will be perfectly acceptable.


Right vehicle, right tyre

Cars, vans, 4x4s and camper vans all require specific tyres, so make sure you have the right model for your vehicle.

To make it simple for you to choose the right tyres, use the symbols on our site to check if your choice of tyre is suitable for your car, van, 4x4 or campervan.


Run-flat

Run flat tyres are specially designed to keep you moving for a short period of time if you suffer a puncture. They’re not designed for driving hundreds of miles, but should give you enough time to get off the road to safety.

It’s crucial that run flat tyres are only fitted to vehicles that they are designed for. If you are unsure whether your vehicle can accommodate run flat tyres, refer to your vehicle's handbook or ask the Halfords team.

If your vehicle isn't equipped for run flat tyres, but still want protection from punctures, the Bridgestone Driveguard could be a wise investment. These premium tyres are designed to fit cars with TPMS and will allow you to safely drive for up to 50 miles at 50mph after a puncture.


Seasonal tyres

Most drivers in the UK keep summer tyres on their car all year round, but you may wish to consider winter tyres or all-season tyres for optimum performance.

At Halfords Autocentre, we carry a huge selection of branded tyres at the best prices. We will fully fit your new tyres and dispose of your old tyres according to environmental standards, leaving you free to enjoy the road ahead.