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Tyres Explained

There is a lot more to tyres than meets the eye, but we've put together this quick guide to give you an overview to help illustrate what needs to be considered when purchasing new tyres to help you choose the best tyres for your requirements. If you need any help from our experiences sales team to help then please feel free to contact us, we we will able to answer any questions or concerns that you have.

We have thousands of tyres in stock ready for quick delivery, and access to huge stocks with UK based suppliers. This gives you the widest choice and all at the best prices!

Tyre Usage

An important question is "What do you wish to use the tyres for?", asthis will greatly impact which tyres are suitable for you. This also comes hand-in-hand with which Terrain and Season / Climate you plan on using the tyres in (see sections below).

Motorsport / Track

There are a few types of Motorsport tyres, where they are full slicks (no tread), semi-slicks (reduced tread) or fast-road tyres (for road / track use). They are optimised for gripping in extreme conditions of heat and hard acceleration, braking and corning.

Highway / Road

This is the most common usage and covers day-to-day driving in a car / light-commercial vehicle. There is a cross-over where Fast Road tyres can be used on the road and track for high performance vehicles.


Designed for heavy payloads and fuel consumption, which are the key elements for any commercial vehicle. They feature strengthened cords which reinforce the tyres to handle heavier loads and the day-to-day wear and tear a commerical vehicle receives.

Tyre Terrain

Tyres are designed for different environments or terrains, so that they are fit for purpose for their intended use. There is no point trying to drive up a mountain in a tyre with a smooth tread pattern intended for roads / track! Here are the main terrain categories:

Off-Road / Mud Terrain (MT)

As the name suggests, these tyres are intended for at least 70% Off-Road use, so feature a very knobbly deep tread pattern which gains traction on rocky or muddy surfaces. The side walls are strengthed to avoid splitting and feature staggered shoulder blocks for greater maneuverability.

* IMPORTANT - It is unsafe to use Off-Road tyres on the road

Highway / Road Terrain (HT)

These tyres aren't intended for any off-road use and soley for use on the road. These will give the best grip, stopping distances,maneuverability and fuel consuption for road use. Most vehicles on the road today will have highway / road terrain tyres fitted.

All-Terrain (AT)

Intended for a blend of both Off-Road or Road use, so great if you drive the vehicle day to day but also go off-road onto muddy / grassy / rocky terrain from time-to-time. These tyres have also become increasingly popular for commercial vehicles to create an aggressive ATV look.

Tyre Seasons / Climates

Tyres have been engineered to cope with different seasons and climates to ensure that they perform at their best - no matter what the weather is! Here in the UK you have the choice of Summer, Winter or All-Season:

Summer Tyres:

Summer Tyres Most tyres are regarded as summer tyres and designed to perform at their best above 7°C. When purchasing a brand new vehicle it is most likely that the vehicle will come fitted with Summer tyres as this overall will perform the best throughout all the seasons throughout the year. In the UK it is only a few months of the year where the temperature drops below 7°C, so for all the other times you will maintain the best grip and stopping distances.

Winter Tyres:

Winter Tyres

These are the opposite to Summer tyres in that they perform at their best below 7°C, and will be significantly better than Summer tyres in these climates. The blocks of the tread are segregated to allow flex, as below 7°C these blocks will become stiff on a Summer tyre which would result in a loss in grip. As the Winter months can be quite challenging for driving conditions, it is very common for people to swap their tyres to Winter tyres purely for the months of December-February. As a tyre swap can be expensive, it's a good idea to have a seperate set of Winter wheels and Summer wheels, so you can easily swap the wheels/tyres on the vehicle dependant on the climate, which is actually the law in countries such as Germany and Austria.

It's important to bear in mind that tyre stocks will be seasonal, so it's best to purchase Winter tyres between the months of October - December. This is when the stock levels and prices are at their best.

All-Season Tyres:

All-Season Tyres These are kind of a jack-of-all-trades seasonally. They are designed to perform well through all temperatures, but but in mind that they will not perform as well as Summer tyres above 7°C and likewise they will not perform as well as Winter tyres below 7°C. A lot of Off-Road / All-Terrain tyres are also regarded as All-Season tyres.

Understanding the technical aspects

Tyre Size:

The tyre size is made up of 3 measurements, the width, the profile and the diameter.

In the example image here the width is 275, the profile is 45 and the diameter is 21.

  • The width is the nominal width of the tyre in millimeters. 
  • The profile is the side wall height calculated as a percentage of the width of the tyre (e.g. 45% x 275mm)
  • The diameter must match the diameter of the wheel, and all cars have a recommended tyre sizes when upgrading from your original wheels to new aftermarket alloy wheels.

If you are changing from smaller wheels to larger, or larger wheels to smaller, there is a conversion to calculate the correct tyre size that your vehicle should be using. We have a tool for calculating this here or our website automatically does it for you when browsing for wheels or wheel & tyre packages.

Unlike many competitor sites, automatically selects suitable tyre sizes for vehicle (on both the Front and Rear Axles), so you can be confident that you won't be receiving a phone call after placing your order asking you to pay more money for an alternative size of tyre that the website hasn't initially calculated - Different to many internet companies we are not interested in 'hidden costs'

Speed Rating:

This is the maximum speed that the vehicle with the tyres fitted to can be safely driven at. It is a code that relates to a set speed in mph/kph. Please see the table below for reference which shows the speed rating code that corresponds to the speed in mph/kph:

Speed Symbol mph kph
N 87 140
P 93 150
Q 99 160
R 106 170
S 112 180
T 118 190
U 124 200
H 130 210
V 149 240
Z 150+ 240+
W 168 270
Y 186 300

Load Rating:

This is defines the maximum load that the tyre can carry, which needs to meet or exceed half the maximum axle load of the vehicle. If the vehicle has maxmium axle loads of Front 1200 kgs / Rear 1250kgs then this means the front tyres need a tyre load index of 90 or higher (1200kgs / 2 = 600kgs = 90 Index), whereas the rear tyres need 92 or higher (1250kgs / 2 = 625kgs = 92 Index). If you are fitting the same tyres front and rear then the load index needs to be the higher of the two to cover both axles, which would be 92 in this example.

Here is a table to show which load index numbers (from the tyre side wall markings) correspond to the maximum load in kilograms (kgs):

Load Index Max. Load (kgs)
62 265
63 272
64 280
65 290
66 300
67 307
68 315
69 325
70 335
71 345
72 355
73 365
74 375
75 387
76 400
77 412
78 425
79 437
80 450
81 462
82 475
Load Index Max. Load (kgs)
83 487
84 500
85 515
86 530
87 545
88 560
89 580
90 600
91 615
92 630
93 650
94 670
95 690
96 710
97 730
98 750
99 775
100 800
101 825
102 850
103 875
Load Index Max. Load (kgs)
103 875
104 900
105 925
106 950
107 975
108 1000
109 1030
110 1060
111 1090
112 1120
113 1150
114 1180
115 1215
116 1250
117 1285
118 1320
119 1360
120 1400
121 1450
122 1500
123 1550

Tyre EC Ratings

Since November 2012 it has become UK Law for tyre manufacturers to grade each tyre model and size by three categories. This is to give you an indication of the tyre's performance and allows you to make an informed descision when making a purchase. It also helps the enviroment and increase levels of road safety.

The categories are fuel consumption, wet grip and noise emission. Obviously there are more deciding factors when picking a tyre (such as dry grip, aesthetics, quality e.t.c.), but this gives you a good basis from which to start from.

These EC ratings were updated in May 2021.

Fuel Consumption

This is graded from A to G, with A being the best and G as the worst. The fuel consumption is determined by the rolling resistance and can provide as much as 7.5% difference in fuel consumption from grade A to G.

* As from May 2021 this is now graded from A - E

Wet Grip

This is also graded from A to G, with A being the best and G as the worst. The wet grip is determined by the stopping distance when driving at 80km/h. Between each class there is a difference of 3-6 metres. Classes D and G are not used.

* As from May 2021 this is now graded from A - E

Noise Emission

This is the level of road noise that the tyre emits in use in decibels. It is also graded in 3 levels as shown by the sound wave image, with 1 bar showing as the quietest and 3 bars as the loudest. It's worth noting that being exposed to levels in excess of 80dB can lead to health complications.

Vehicle Manufacturer Approvals

To show that replacement tyres are engineered to original equipment standards, an OE marking is embossed into the sidewall of a tyre, showing which car manufacturer it has been designed for. It is possible to fit tyres intended for one vehicle manufacturer to another, for example you can fit AO (Audi) approved tyres onto a Mercedes-Benz. This is with the exception of N (Porsche) approved tyres which are exclusively intended for Porsche vehicles.

Vehicle Manufacturer Approval Code
Alfa Romeo AR
Aston Martin AM
Audi AO / AOE / RO1 / RO2
Bentley B
Ferrari K1 / K2 / K3
Ford FO / FO1
Jaguar J
Lamborghini L
Jaguar / Land Rover J / LR / JLR
Lotus LS
Maserati MGT
McLaren MC
Mercedes-Benz MOE / MO / MO1
Nissan NR1
Porsche N0 / N1 / N2 / N3 / N4 / N5 / N6
Tesla T0 / T1 / T2
Volkswagen VO / ⊕
Volvo VOL

Runflat Tyres

To combat tyres suffering from punctures and loss in pressure, runflat tyres were introduced and come on many new vehicles. They feature a much stiffer side wall so that if the tyre loses pressure the structure of the tyre still remains in tact to be sufficient for a short drive to get it repaired / changed.

There are pros and cons to this, with the major benefit being convenience and safety. However it can be a much firmer ride quality on the vehicle and in the evident of impact from pot holes or uneven road surfaces the wheel can suffer the brunt of the impact. It is a common misconception that wheels are poor quality as they keep cracking from impact when it is simply down to the combination of using runflat tyres. A TPMS system must be present and functional on the vehicle if using runflat tyres as it can be difficult to visually tell if a runflat tyre is running at a low pressure, whereas a conventional tyre will noticablely look flat.

Also it is important to bear in mind that wheels have to be designed in a particular way for the runflat technology to function correctly, which will limit the amount of wheels available to purchase. We have this as a filter on our alloy wheel selection pages if you particularly wanted to search for wheels that are runflat compliant.

Tyres that we supply…

As with our wheels, we have many UK and European sources for our tyres offering you an uncompromised range, the majority of which we stock at our UK premises for 'same day' despatch or tyre to wheel fitment and professional balancing.

We understand that different customers look for different features from their tyre choice. For many the grip is of the utmost importance, others the durability and even the road noise, so we offer a comprehensive range to meet and attempt to exceed all needs.

Tyre Upgrades…

We offer many high performance tyre upgrades at unbeatable prices that are continually monitored. We offer a great range of the leading brands including Falken, Toyo, Yokohama, Michelin, Vredestein and Dunlop to name a few, but if you have a particular tyre requirement that isnt listed online, please feel free to call us on +44 (0)1233 503006.

What are some of the different benefits you can see between different high performance tyres?

  • Increased grip on the road
  • Increased safety at high speeds
  • Greatly improved looks
  • Improved durability
  • Improved fuel economy
  • Low road noise levels
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