What to Know Before Buying New Tyres

Jul 29,2019

Tyres are an essential piece of equipment for any car and making sure you get the right ones for your car and your driving habits is just as important. Many accidents come as a result of poor tyre condition and maintenance so it can help to know what to look for when the time comes to buy new tyres.

Here at Longbridge Tyres, we are tyre specialists in Birmingham so we have put together a few of the key things that you need to know before you buy new tyres.


Your car has been designed with a specific size of tyres in mind and this size will ensure performance, safety, and fit are all optimised to keep you safe on the road. To find out what size your tyres are, you can check the owner’s manual or look at the sidewall of your tyre.

These markings may look something like this: 205/55 R16 91V. ‘205’ (the first number) refers to the tyre’s width in millimetres and ‘55’ (the second number) is the aspect ratio, which tells the height of the sidewall as a percentage of the width of the tyre.

Speed Rating

Tyres are built to cope with different speeds, and if you exceed the speed a tyre is built for, it can have performance and safety implications. Most tyres have speed ratings that are higher than the national speed limit anyway, but it’s worthwhile making sure you get the right rating.

The recommended speed rating of the tyres your car should have fitted usually relate to your vehicle’s top speed. They are usually the final marking on the tyre’s sidewall (see: 205/55 R16 91V mentioned above, the speed rating is ‘V’.) and will also be in your owner’s manual.

The most common tyre speed ratings are ‘H’ (130 mph or 210 km/h) and ‘V’ (149 mph or 240 km/h), which are matched to the car’s top speed.

You can learn more about this in our understanding tyre speed rating blog post.

Performance Labels

Tyres have ‘performance labels’ in order to accord with EU legislation to give a better insight into their performance. These labels are for fuel economy, grip when wet, and noise. By using these performance labels, you can ensure you are purchasing a high quality tyre and make sure you’re getting your money’s worth by understanding the performance of the tyres.


There are three main types of tyre: summer, winter, and all-season. These help buyers to understand which tyres are right for them, their driving habits, and the climate they live in.

The tread patterns, composition, and performance of these tyres will all differ to what best suits their conditions, so it’s important that you choose the right type for you. Most people in the UK opt for all-season tyres but it can be a good idea to have both winter and summer tyres in order to have the safest and best performance throughout the year.


You should do your utmost to ensure all four tyres on your car are the same make and model. This will ensure that performance is uniform across your car and that way it gives the safest and most predictable ride. Tyres from different manufacturers have different tread patterns and different features that mean they perform differently, which mean you contact with the road can become turbulent and less safe if they aren’t all the same.

At the very least, you should aim to have the tyres on each axle match. That is to say, your two front tyres should match and your two rear tyres should match.

The Basics

By having the basic knowledge to choose the right tyre, you can improve many things. The right tyre can help with safety, performance, and fuel economy, which all contribute to having a better and safer driving experience.

The above five factors are all of the things you need to know before speaking to a tyre dealer about purchasing or fitting new tyres. The idea is essentially to match your manufacturer’s recommendations and ensure you don’t choose a cheap/low quality or part-worn tyre.

Longbridge Tyres

If you would like to enquire about tyres for your vehicle, contact us today. We have all tyre types from the leading manufacturers and can help you ensure you get the tyres that are right for you.

To contact us, you can call 0121 457 7582 or fill out our simple contact form.

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I've been here many times for new tyres, no booking needed as it's first come, first served. Just call ahead of time to ensure tyres are in stock. All staff are very friendly and... helpful.Longbridge Tyres was recommended to me for wheel refurbishment, dropped my wheels off, and left with them. A couple of days later, they were ready for collection. Final results 5*read more
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