Tyre prices and tread depth – how they affect performance on wet roads

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Have you ever wondered what the difference would be between driving on a wet road with a car fitted with premium brand tyres as opposed to one with a set of economy range tyres?

Or what differences you would experience in handling or braking distance if your tyres had plenty tread instead of chancing your luck with a couple of bald tyres?

Well now you can find out, by reading Geraldine Herbert’s account of “How drivers are hanging on to life by a bare thread” in the Irish Independent.

To set the scene, Herbert writes: “Thundering towards a hair-pin bend, I was abruptly reminded of the importance of a decent set of tyres. As the back end of the car began to slide and the wheels spin, I was relieved that this was not a public road but a test facility for tyres in Germany.

“From wet and dry handling circuits to a race track, Contidrom is where Continental tests the performance of tyres on a range of wet, dry and icy conditions. And testing tyres in wet conditions was why I was there, in particular to see first hand the difference between budget and premium.

“In the current climate, it’s no surprise that many motorists shop on price and not quality. New legislation on tyre labelling has made it easier for motorist to compare tyres. Tyres are now labelled from A (Best) to G (Worst) with information about performance grades on fuel efficiency, wet braking and external noise levels all clearly displayed.”

It is a very interesting report and one which we urge motorists to read. Of course price is important, but with the UK now experiencing so much rain, it is important to have a set of tyres that can handle wet conditions.

In a nutshell, the budget tyre had “essentially no grip, and threatened to spin out of control at every corner”. While the vehicle fitted with the premium tyres was “composed and cornered with ease”.

And when it comes to tread, the article reports: “To assess how much the level of grip in a tyre deteriorates as the tread wears, we tested three identical Volkswagen Golfs on a wet surface. Each was fitted with Continental tyres. The first, with 8mm of tread, the second with 3mm and the third, with the legal minimum of 1.6mm.

“The test was to drive at speeds of 60, 70 and then 80km on a surface with 5 mm of water. At all three speeds, the newest tyre with the 8mm of thread showed no change on the wet surface and performed identical on both dry and wet conditions. At 3mm of thread the differences were noticeable and by the time the car had reached 80km, it was aquaplaning.

“However nothing compared to the serious loss of control that occurs when driving the car with the 1.6mm thread. At a speed of 80km, the car had slid into the next lane before it was possible to regain full control of the car.”

And Geraldine concludes: “No matter how good your car is, the level of grip you have on the road is determined only by the quality of your tyres. When shopping for tyres, buy the very best you can afford. Think of them as insurance. Don’t skimp.”

To read the full article go to http://www.independent.ie/lifestyle/motoring/how-drivers-are-hanging-on-to-life-by-a-bare-tread-29348107.html

etyres supply and fit a wide range of new tyres at highly competitive prices to suit all budgets.

Denna Bowman, Head Office

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