Tyres, so vital to vehicle safety and optimum performance, are a recurrent purchase for vehicle owners. “Despite this, many people just go for the cheapest tyres, or blindly follow the retailer’s recommendation,” says Chantel Baxter, product and price manager at Bridgestone South Africa, manufacturers of Firestone and Bridgestone tyres. “Doing some basic homework before you buy tyres will help ensure that the right tyres for the vehicle, and for your driving style, are obtained. Armed with the right information, choosing the right tyre should not be stressful at all.”

Ms Baxter says the first thing to establish is one’s individual driving style. Are you a fast driver, or is comfort what it’s all about? What kind of trips do you make? A sales rep might be driving long distances, while a working mother does a lot of stop-start driving. If you’re driving an SUV, is it destined mainly for the mall, or are you often driving off road?

It’s also vital to be informed on the vehicle manufacturer’s specifications for the tyres, information that can be found in the vehicle’s manual. It may be, for example, that the tyres fitted on a new car by the manufacturer do not suit an individual’s driving style. The manual usually provides alternative specifications that may be more suitable while still providing safety. If your car is under guarantee, it is a good idea to establish the terms and conditions around the use of alternative tyres.

The owner’s driving style and the manufacturer’s specifications should be used to identify the specific tyres to be bought. Reputable manufacturers like Bridgestone make a range of tyres designed for varying conditions, with different budgets in mind. So, while a fast driver with a slim budget might not be able to afford the top-of-the-range ultra-high-performance tyre, there will usually be a suitable high-performance tyre at a lower price.

“Google is also a great resource in this regard—there is a wealth of information and a whole world of forums where one can get insight into the right tyre brand and model for your vehicle and how you drive it, although some specifications may not be available here,” says Ms Baxter. “At the very least, when you walk into the tyre dealership, you should already clearly understand how you drive and have some idea of what possible tyres might suit your vehicle and driving style. Then you will be in a good position to benefit from the dealer’s advice. Dealers know a lot of useful things, but you need to know what questions to ask.

“Choosing the right tyres will improve the performance and safety of your vehicle. It’s the tyres that keep you on the road, after all. It’s worth taking trouble to do it right.” – Press release