Features to Look for When Purchasing Tyres

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Features to Look for When Purchasing Tyres

Tyres are the most important safety feature on a car. Powerful engines, precise handling, and anti-lock brakes all depend on the notepad-sized traction of the tyres that touch the road. Tyres with a strong tread and a good grip can perform in even adverse conditions, while tyres with a thin tread become dangerous even under normal driving conditions. The average tyre lasts for 40,000 miles, or 64,373 km, and so they need to be replaced every few years in order to remain effective.

Customers can purchase tyres from an auto parts store, but every year more people are choosing to shop online instead, using a website like eBay. Buying tyres can be confusing simply because different types offer a number of various features. Customers who understand how these features can impact the safety and handling of their vehicle can easily make the right decision when it comes time to replace their tyres.

When to Buy Tyres

Safety experts recommend that new tyres need to be purchased every time the car is in an accident. In most cases, the damage to the tyres can clearly be seen. This includes the rubber being ripped away from the sidewall to reveal the inner lining, flat tyres, or deep cuts into the tread. Even if there seems to be no visible external damage, the internal components could be hurt. Do not take a safety risk by continuing to drive on tyres after an automobile accident.

UK law also states that all tyres must have at least 1.6mm of tread depth. This is the absolute minimum, so it is a good idea to start shopping for new tyres once the tread starts getting close to this number. Owners can accurately measure the depth of their tyre tread using a tread gauge.

Tyre Parts

Modern tyres are made from 19 to 24 different components. While it is not necessary that buyers understand every minute detail of their tyres, they should be aware of the main parts involved. The tread extends around the radius of the tyre and is the part that comes into contact with the road. The pattern and thickness of the tread depends on tyre type. Underneath the tread and hidden from view, are layers of steel belts and fabric belts that help give the tyre its shape and keep the tread flat against the road. The inner liner is the heart of the tyre, and the area that is inflated. It gives support to the sidewall, the part of the tyre that attaches to the wheel.

Tyre Features

Tyre features are listed directly on the tyres using a code that most buyers cannot even begin to decipher, such as P205/55R16 94W. This code is actually an international format that tyre manufacturers use to label the different features of tyres. Once buyers understand the different parts of the code, they can easily find the right features they want.

Passenger or Light Truck

The first part of the code marks the type of tyre. For most consumers, their tyres begin with the initial 'P' for passenger. Some SUVs and trucks use 'LT' which stands for light truck. LT tyres are larger and more durable than P tyres, but they are also more expensive. Not all SUV and truck owners need LT tyres unless the driver regularly hauls heavy loads. Consult the owner's manual for the recommended tyre type.


The second number is the width of the tyre tread in millimetres. In the above example, 205 is the width measurement. Performance tyres are usually very wide because this gives the tyres additional traction on the road.

The third number is the aspect ratio of sidewall height to tyre width. For a 55 tyre, the sidewall is 55 per cent as tall as the tread is wide. Squat tyres are less susceptible to sidewall damage, but their wider bottoms also mean they are more exposed to nails and other roadway debris,

The fourth number is actually a letter followed by a number. In the case of the example, the 'R' stands for radial-ply construction, while the '16' stands for the dimensions of the tyre in inches. 16 is the most common size, but buyers who have large rims in 18, 20, or 22 inches need to buy tyres that match the size of their rims.

Load Index

The fifth number directly after the size information is the load index. This refers to how much weight the tyre can carry safely. A tyre with a load index of 94 is able to carry 1477 pounds. Buyers need to consult the owner's manual in order to find out what size load index is required for their car. Never buy below the recommended load index.

Speed Rating

The sixth part of the code after the load index is a letter that correlates to the speed rating. This is the maximum speed that the tyre can reach safely. For example, one of the most common speed ratings is H, which means the tyre can go up to 210 km per hour safely. Of course, driving at this speed is highly impractical unless the owner is racing the car, but there is an advantage to buying high speed tyres. They can dissipate heat more quickly, which potentially leads to better handling and more longevity.


Speed Rating (km/h)





















Drivers who often take long highway trips should look into purchasing high speed tyres. Those who only take short trips through the city can purchase low speed tyres.


Tyres also come with seasonal features. There are three main types: summer, winter, and all weather tyres. Choose the right type of seasonal tyre for dry, wet, and icy conditions by reading through the benefits of each type.

Summer Tyres

Summers tyres are the most popular seasonal type offered in the UK because they work well with the UK's weather patterns. They deliver excellent handling in both dry and wet conditions, provided the temperatures remain above freezing. Most drivers leave these tyres on their automobiles during the spring, summer and fall. Their slanted tread pattern ensures that they grip the road tightly, while remaining as rigid as possible.

Winter Tyres

Winter tyres are truly only used in the northernmost regions of the UK since most of the country only experiences a few snow days per year. However, under icy conditions no tyre performs better than winter tyres. They feature a block tread pattern designed especially for punching through ice and snow while maintaining a steady grip on the road.

All Weather Tyres

In the UK, all weather tyres are a decent alternative to summer tyres. While they do not offer the same high performance during the wet months that summer tyres do, all season tyres work a little better when the temperature gauge starts to drop. However, they cannot approach the cold condition kind of driving geared more for winter tyres.

Energy Ratings

Recently, the UK government mandated that all tyre manufacturers start including labels that outline the tyre's energy rating. These labels measure fuel efficiency, wet grip, and noise. They can be helpful when trying to choose between tyres.

Fuel Efficiency

Fuel efficiency is measured by the tyre's rolling resistance. The lower a tyre's rolling resistance, the easier it is to spin and therefore, less gasoline is required. All tyres carry a fuel efficiency symbol that savvy tyre shoppers would be wise to become aware of.

Rolling Resistance




















Knowing the differences in rating is crucial when tyre shopping. For example knowing that A rated tyres have remarkable fuel efficiency, and that G rated tyres use more energy can help you to make a more informed purchase.

Wet Grip

Wet grip measures how well the tyre performs in braking on a wet surface. This is a counterpoint to fuel efficiency since any manufacturer can make a tyre with low roll resistance at the cost of sacrificing wet grip. Typically, tyres that are know to be fuel efficient, may in fact perform badly when it comes to wet grip.


The noise label is designed to ensure compliance with the new European tyre noise levels, to be introduced in 2016. The noise the tyre makes is measured in decibels (dB), and marked according to the sound wave symbol. A tyre with three sound waves is compliant with the current law, but not the future law. Three sound wave tyres are typically the noisiest tyres available. Two sound waves mean the tyre is compliant with the future law, and is fairly quiet. One sound wave symbol means the tyre is 3 DB less that the future law and is the most quiet of all.

Buying Tyres on eBay

Knowing all of the different tyre features means that it is very easy to buy the tyres you need from eBay. You can simply type in the required tyre information and select a brand that fits your needs from eBay's massive selection. The key to finding the right tyres means knowing how to use eBay's search engine effectively.

Searching for Tyres on eBay

Start your search off by typing 'car tyres' into the search engine to limit the results to only tyres made for automobiles. Then you can start narrowing down your search by looking for specific features. If you need a P type of tyre, then simply input 'P car tyre' into the search engine found on any eBay page, to only return results for passenger tyres. You can then start searching by additional features, such as speed rating, by typing 'H passenger car tyre' into the results. Additional input options include width, dimension, and load index.


Get the best tyres for a vehicle by looking for the all of the right features without wasting any time in the process. Understanding the different parts of the tyre, and being able to decipher the sidewall tyre code, makes purchasing new tyres a snap. Manufacturers often specify certain information when it comes to buying tyres that is found in the owner's manual. This includes the type of tyre and the load index. Buyers can then select tyres based on their speed rating and size, depending on what type of driving they normally do.

Seasonal tyres are another useful feature to consider because they usually perform best under various weather conditions. Finally, the energy label also helps customers make an intelligent decision in regards to fuel efficiency, wet grip, and tyre noise. Buyers can find all of these tyres on eBay, and once they see how easy it is to navigate through the website, can quickly purchase tyres according to the features they want for their car.

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