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Guide to Tyre Choice and Manufacturers

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  • Guide to Tyre Choice and Manufacturers

    Tyre Choice advice

    As mentioned in previous wheel & tyre report, the originally approved tyre will always be the most suitable selection. It's compound, construction & tread pattern will have been selected and tuned specifically to the chassis over ideally a 2 year development period. Provided the vehicle is kept in good codition, with regular geometry checks and the tyres are operated at the recommended tyre pressures (this is more important than most people would think), the car should drive, handle, steer and hold the road exactly as the manufacturer intended.

    However, once a vehicle ends production, or if an original fit tyre is replaced, the OE tyre may no longer be supported by the manufacturer.
    This problem should not arrise for anything up to 10 years after the vehicle has finished production, but commonly a tread pattern may have been selected which was near its end life (like any brand does) so needs to be replaced by the latest model.....And the latest model is not esentially always the better than the old model, as that would have been tuned specifically to the vehicle.

    Either way, most customers who own cars more than a few years old will be faced with the problem of needing to buy tyres not orignally specified.
    Therefore, the next best step is to make a tyre choice based on tyre manufacturer. The big manufacturers only really make money from the aftermarket. Of course they make money from being fitted to cars from day one, but winning that OE approval is the key because that offically specifies their tyre on the car for anything up to 10 years.

    If a manufacturer knocks out 250,000 cars a year, thats 1 million tyres (not including spare). If that model lasts for 5 years, thats 5 million tyres whilst the vehicle is still in production, plus another 10 years of support which could be anything up to an extra 5 or 6 million tyres fitted in the aftermarket. The reason why this is key is that the aftermarket tyre will cost probaby 3 times as much as it did to the OE manufacturer to fit track-side.

    So in summary, it is in a tyre manufacturers interest to ensure that they have approved tyres available in the aftermarket for you to fit that will perform well on your vehicle. These extra approvals can be requested by the manufacturer, and the OE will sign off and issue bulletins within the industry, informing the relevant tyre fitters (most of whom are obviously owned by the tyre manufacturers). What you'll generally end up with is Pirelli, Goodyear/Dunlop, Continental & Bridgestone will get the manufacturers approvals, and Michelin will just do there own sign off and tell you what you should fit ('cos they're arrogant French people; sorry Peugeot lovers!)

    Tyre/Manufacturer Choice:
    If you want to save money and you are not bothered about tyre performace, go for a budget brand. They are produced by the big manufacturers anyway (I think Uniroyal are Continental etc..) and will be safe. Ironically they probably make more money from these tyres as most people can't afford to spend hundreds of pound replacing tyres.

    If you want to right off your car (and other people's if your on the motorway) buy a re-mold. No more comments needed, other than AVOID !!! Similar comment goes for part-worn tyres, but perhaps not quite so dramatic a response is needed. Still aviod them though. If you want to still be able to enjoy the drive and have a predictable, controlable chassis, but from one of the big manufcaturers, listed in order below:

    Probably the best, and unfortunately they know it. They have military style security at their test & development centres. They are usually shocked when thye don't win business, but just assume it's your loss. Biggest issue will be the cost, as they will generally be the most expensive unless you get special offers on latest brands etc.. Current top brand is Pilot Sport 2. No asymetrical (finally learned that manufacturers don't really like directional only tyres due to assembly complexity) Very good high performance.

    Probably up there with Michelin. Excellent technical knowledge. High quality tyres, and not quite as expensive as Michelin. Would personally always check out Continental first before anyone else. Like the other manufacturers, they will always be able to have something specified and approved for the majority of mass produced vehicles (either by the OE manufacturer or just though extensive internal sign off) Have brands that cover all areas of market. Top Brand is ContiSportContact3 (i think it's out now). Very good high performance.

    Probably one the main contenders too. Possibly the biggest and, since the Firestone US problem, they now have the most stringent sign off critera out of everyone. Recent multi-million pound technical centre built in Rome which is state of the art and allows them to recreate any road condition anywhere.
    Seem to always be in there where high performance is concerned. Top brand is some version from there Potenza range (although there are about a million difference brands within Potenza, including the F1 tyre!) Can be a bit pricey, especially at the top end (I.E: the Honda NSX tyre was about 700 quid each, although that was a one off directional & assymetrical tyre)

    They are now the same company. Now manufacture out of same locations etc. Excellent technical centre in Luxembourg, similar to Bridgestone Rome. Good quality and have many approvals across the world on every manufacturer. They are certainly a safe choice in terms of tyre selection. Would probably go more for the GY Eagle F1 (GSD3) rather than the Dunlop SP9000 which is old and due to be replaced.Expect the costs to be pretty good considering the quality of tyre. Only issue is that alot of aftermarket tyres are manufactured in the Washington plant (Newcastle) andthe quality coming out of there was always questionable. The same tyre made in Germany would always be alot better, unfortunately.

    Good overall. Probably an inbetween Goodyear/Dunlop and Continental, rather than a real top player. Expect the costs to be a little high. Probably not the first choice, but wouldn't be dissappointed if I had to buy from them.

    Other Brands......
    Verdestein, Yokohama, Hankook, etc...
    Would not consider these brands as you only get an in-between performance. You are better off saving money and going for budget brand, or spending more and buying from top manufacturer. Certan brands like Falken (which are essentially the budget brand of Dunlop) are ok, but really you have to look at who has OE approval. I think Kuhmo may have an approval on VW Lupo...., and Hankook are the approval spare tyre on Mondeo.... Say no more...
    Yokohama is always a fun one. They do have one or two 'normal' OE tyres, which are approved on things like MR2 & Celica etc. These tyres are fine and if available for your vehicle, may be worth a shot (but only likely to be available if you have a Japanese car). The other sticky stuff they make, often 'OE' on Lotus (if you can call an attempted production line in Norfolk OE) are not really ideal for normal fast road use and will not deal with all conditions. They're place is really track day only. Dry track day only. Hot, dry track day only. No; hot, dry track day with good road surface only.

    Obviously, tyre selection depends upon the vehcile (i.e high performance, wheel size etc..). Most manufacturers won't make a small tyre size using there high performance brand, as most higher performance vehicles are now fitted with larger 17"+ wheels. This is governed by style mainly, but also the desire and need to fit larger brakes etc..

    Article Writen by James Smith

  • #2
    also see


    • #3
      Informative as ever, James.

      Has inspired a quick thread Q from me...
      [URL=""][COLOR="Black"][FONT="Arial Black"]Black Series 2 Peugeot 106 Rallye LHD - "RACK"[/FONT][/COLOR][/URL]



      • #4
        Its only a very brief description of each manufacturer really, nothing too indepth, but is easy to understand for everyone! which has to be good, especially for quick reference.

        As mentioned before, he isnt a tyre design engineer, but he has (or had to) work with lots of tyre design engineers and manufacturers whilst designing wheels (alloys mainly).

        Hopefully it will act as a quick guide for people.

        very happy


        • #5
          i needed new tires on mine recently so fitted pirelli p6000's, due to the fact that it had pirelli's when it came out of the factory

          looks like i made an informed choice lol


          • #6
            You have P6000, good luck to you..... Seriously I have learnt that mistake and it took me 2 years to wear them out, still I became a more conciencious driver due to them and my reactions had to become far faster to get the car round corners and at times in the wet in a straight line...


            • #7
              they aint that bad i dont think

              well, compared to the tyres i had on before they are glued to the road.


              • #8
                I understand that these days the car manufacturers work in conjucntion with tyre manufacturers to make specific compounds for certain cars, which can have big benefits for handling. But I find it hard to believe that pug genuinely believe that the P6000 is THE best tyre for our cars!

                This guide is a good general help, but I think you should point out that tyre technology moves on from what was originally specified (most 106's are at least 7 years old) and also that tyres are more often than not picked by the OEM for cheapness and/or fuel ecconomy benefits rather than handling and proformance.


                • #9
                  It was the P4000, now out of production. I believe there was a concensus that they were selected for their price and I believe rallyes were kitted out with different rubber around the globe but could be wrong.

                  I went to P6000 for the same reasons as Paul, I thought they would be similar to teh P4000 and thus work with the car.


                  • #10
                    P700-Z on Gti; P4000 on Rallye.
                    [URL=""][COLOR="Black"][FONT="Arial Black"]Black Series 2 Peugeot 106 Rallye LHD - "RACK"[/FONT][/COLOR][/URL]



                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Chris J
                      I understand that these days the car manufacturers work in conjucntion with tyre manufacturers to make specific compounds for certain cars, which can have big benefits for handling. But I find it hard to believe that pug genuinely believe that the P6000 is THE best tyre for our cars!

                      This guide is a good general help, but I think you should point out that tyre technology moves on from what was originally specified (most 106's are at least 7 years old) and also that tyres are more often than not picked by the OEM for cheapness and/or fuel ecconomy benefits rather than handling and proformance.
                      If you read the articel again it does mention that other alternatives are available once a tyre becomes unavailable - and it doesnt mention that this is a problem - therefor the Pirelli's at the time would have been used when developing the cars handling, susp, chassis etc but are not essential aslong as good replacements are used after the tyre becomes unavailable.

                      What he is saying is that these tyres would have been perfect for the car in other words (at the time) but not neccessarily the best for track use, or fast road - remember these tyres were selected to perform best on that car!! on the road in all conditions, not to excell in corners say, or round a track or be excellent in the wet - they just worked the best with the chassis and wheels!!!!!

                      All I will say is that this guy has spent the best part of 9 years with a large motor car company designing, engineering and testing wheels, tyres and chassis/suspension setups and I trust his opinions as he is probably one of the top 10 engineers in this field in the UK (as there are no motorcar factories hardly left now!!) - I would hazzard a guess more than than a few hundred thousand cars on the road at the minute have his input in 4 corners!!


                      • #12
                        James, I don't doubt your friends knowledge in the field of tyre/wheel design, or yours, I bought my last set of tyres (Conti premiums sports) on your recommendation!

                        My post simply was to make it more explicit that the car manufacturer has more than one motive when picking a tyre to go on, and pure proformance is unlikely to be the top one.


                        • #13
                          Yeah and mine was based on specific vehicle experience and having had to live with the bastard P6000 tyres (not the OE spec tyres BTW, as I said) for 2 years and all weather conditions. They did not represent value and were inconsistent and lacked wet/damp/greasy grip due I believe to the compound aswell as construction.

                          I don't doubt pug did some costings and research into tyre choice, but a commercial decision it was, delivering acceptable performance and cost, P4000 was never to my knowledge a high performance tyre and from what I have heard it seems to be rated on a par with the P6000 by those who have run and compared them... Horses for courses but I don't think it was a fine enough boundary to put my experience (comparing them to other tyres on teh same car) down to driver preference.

                          I love my Bridgestones...


                          • #14
                            My 16v rallye came with Michelins which was a good thing as Greek asphalt is like a mirror at the best of times...

                            My experience of Pirellis is bad and I wont even mention the yoko A539's wet performance....

                            See my avatar for thatcry


                            • #15
                              yeah I am glad my A539 are on my dry weather non everyday car and I should be OK with that... 40 each fitted etc I could not complain much, I'll just have to tread careful in the wet or relish being abe to lose the rear with ease..