Buyers' advice, Motoring News, road safety, vehicle maintenance

Don’t scrimp on tyres – they’re all that’s keeping you on the road

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – When it comes to choosing the right tyre for their vehicles, consumers need to understand what to look for, says Dries Lottering, Manufacturing Renewal Executive, Bridgestone South Africa.

“Tyres look pretty much alike, especially to the untutored eye, but it’s what goes into them that makes all the difference,” he said. “Premium brands offer important benefits: price definitely isn’t the sole – or even the best – criterion because, when all’s said and done, your tyres are key to the safety and performance of your vehicle.”

Lottering says a number of critical areas should be considered when seeking replacement rubber: among them are safety, wear, grip on wet and dry roads, braking distance, cornering, steering, road noise and comfort.

CONSTANT DEVELOPMENT

Perhaps the key point to make is that premium brands (such as Lottering’s employer Bridgestone) invest millions of dollars a year in R&D. ”We are constantly developing new and better ways to design tyres for even better performance, safety, and durability.

”It’s not just a question of design,” he added. ”Tyremakers are constantly developing tyre compounds. These new materials set performance standards. Less-expensive tyres may ape the premium brands’ tread patterns but it’s what the tyres are made of that really counts.”

Then there’s what happens after the R&D. Premium brands test their tyres meticulously to deliver predictable, performance. Bridgestone, for example, has 10 proving grounds in eight countries and also uses computer simulation to establish its tyres in various conditions.

‘LOOKING FOR PERFECTION’

Lottering  believes a budget tyre’s performance can be ”a great unknown”; production quality is another area that sets apart the premium brands. ”These manufacturers invest in the right equipment and skills to ensure that the tyres are of the highest quality. You really don’t want to find out that your tyre’s quality isn’t what it might be when you’re cruising the highway at 120km/h or braking to avoid a collision in wet weather,.

“Premium brands look beyond simply complying with safety and other regulations – they’re looking for perfection.”

This is why leading car manufacturers work with the premium tyre brands. They are investing hugely in the performance and safety of their vehicles, so they want a tyre manufacturer who can produce something that complements the improvements they are making all the time. He points out just how much automotive design and production has developed over the past century and more.

IT’S THE TYRES THAT COUNT…

All tyres, once installed, require maintenance. ”That means correct inflation pressure, wheel-balancing,  and wheel alignment. Tyres should also be rotated during their service life.”

There’s lots of information on the internet about tyres, their performance, and their designed use.

”Remember,” says Carman’s Corner’s editor, ”it isn’t your reaction time, the weather, or the road surface that determines how fast your stop. It’s your tyres.”

Lottering, of course, would prefer you seek advice from a Bridgestone tyre franchise…

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