Premium vs Budget Tyres

Premium vs Budget Tyres

15 Dec

By Tom Boote


When it comes to premiums vs budgets, one is much, much safer

If you’re a driver, the chances are you may have asked yourself “which tyres are best for my car?”. With so much choice available, and so many variables to choose from, it really does pay to be well-informed when it comes to buying new tyres. In this article we explore the benefits of choosing premium tyres over budgets.

Is the extra cost of premium tyres worth it?

True, there is a price difference, and we don’t usually want to spend more than we have to, right? But before acting on impulse and choosing cheaper tyres, it’s important for buyers to understand just why premium tyres – made by brands like Continental – cost more, and what the benefits are for you.

The answers can be found in the millions of pounds manufacturers like Continental spend each year on research and development. Designing and making top quality new tyres is hi-tec stuff, believe it or not. Because car manufacturers and drivers are demanding better and safer tyres, there’s an on-going programme of formulating and testing new rubber compounds, tread patterns and tyre structures.

Test drivers, like Continental’s Scott Armstrong, put tyre prototypes through their paces in real-world and simulated conditions, and if they don’t meet the exacting standards required the entire process starts again. The premium tyre industry is that serious.

And the result of all this investment in research and development? Premium tyres are not just much safer than budgets – which don’t benefit from the same investment – they’re also ultimately less expensive in the long run too. Here’s our 1-2-3 of why.

1. Premium tyres are safer

One of the UK’s leading insurance companies, Direct Line, conducted a survey asking various tyre industry experts to make the case for buying budget tyres. Not one would. At all. Why? Simply because the experts – with many years experience of the industry – believe premium tyres are vital – critical – for road safety.

Unfortunately, because of the typically low-grade rubber compositions used to make budget tyres, they’re simply not as effective at gripping the road in wet conditions – which affects stopping distances – compared to premium tyres. And in a country like Britain, where we drive in wet, rainy conditions much of the time, short, safe stopping distances are essential.

Are you familiar with the EU tyre label? It provides tyre buyers with some essential tyre characteristic info, including braking performance in wet weather conditions. An ‘A rating’ means the tyre is very, very effective at gripping wet roads. At the other end of the scale – unless you live somewhere very dry – a tyre with an ‘F rating’ is best avoided.

And the significance of a poor rating? Repeated independent tyre testing shows that this indicates it could take as much as 14 metres longer to come to a full stop in the wet (from a speed of 50mph) when compared to an A-rated tyre. 14 meters! As drivers we all know that a lot can happen in 14 metres…

Premium tyres – like those made by Continental – typically receive the high A and B ratings, while by comparison budget tyres usually receive the lowly F rating.

2. Premium tyres wear more slowly

Yes, it’s true – purchasing a set of brand new premium tyres will initially cost you a bit more. While prices vary from retailer to retailer, for a city car expect to typically pay around £130 more, or if you drive a large family estate £150 more. And yes, while there is higher outlay, it’s very important to also consider the rate of tyre wear, which – thanks to the development and use of higher quality materials – is typically much, much slower for premium tyres (when compared to like-by-like usage with budget tyres).

In fact tests conducted by leading consumer champion, Which? – based on an annual mileage of 12,000 – conclusively showed that budget tyres only last for around two years. Premium tyres, by comparison, tend to last for five years. This not only makes them the much more cost-effective choice over the longer term, it means you have to change them less frequently too. Win-win!

3. Premium tyres are more fuel efficient – and quieter too

As if superior safety and cost effectiveness were not enough, premium tyres offer another benefit from their high quality construction– fuel efficiency. Once again the EU tyre label offers buyers the opportunity to compare how fuel efficient tyres are. Typically, over the course of a year, quality tyres with an ‘A rating’ will save around 80 litres of fuel – that’s around £100 per year at current forecourt prices.

Premium tyres are also quieter which – on our busy streets where traffic noise is an issue – really matters. Premium tyres are designed to reduce external noise and keep you within current and future legal limits. A quieter tyre also makes for a more pleasant driving experience, right?

All in all, with premium tyres much safer, quieter, more fuel efficient and more cost effective, suddenly budget tyres aren’t looking like such a bargain choice after all…

Unsure about premium vs budget tyres? Speak to the experts

If you’re still unsure of whether to buy premium or budget tyres, and want expert advice on the best ones to buy for your car, contact your local Protyre gararge today.

Our experienced team can offer you impartial advice and expert fitting solutions.

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