Safety should come first, and that is a known fact – for this reason, an increasing number of car owners have started to focus more on expensive, top-notch tyres rather than cheap tyres from imported no-name brands, as they have realized that buying cheap tyres are often a false economy that does not rise to expectations in terms of safety and performance. It is true that price is certainly not always a good indicator of quality but, in some cases, it can truly make a difference.
In a nutshell, tyres are rubber fittings for the car wheels, and their main purpose is to ensure proper traction on wet roads as well as to offer better grip to the road, thus offering smoother control over the steering wheel and, automatically, over the entire vehicle. The high-performance tyres for bigger cars surely have an expensive price tag, while the basic tyres for cheaper cars are typically more affordable.
Are The More Expensive Tyres A Safer Alternative To Cheaper Ones?
Although the answer to this question is relative, generally speaking expensive tyres are indeed a safer option in terms of material quality, durability as well as speed rating. For instance, if you have a high speed car and you like to push it to the limit, then investing in high-quality, pricey tyres is surely the wisest thing to do. Those with a very fast car such as a sports car, for instance, should consider choosing a good tyre for safety reasons rather than for financial reasons, given the fact that you will need to invest in higher-rated, high-speed tyres that can rise up to the performance of your car. On the other hand, if you have a small car that you only use occasionally and you always stay within the recommended speed limit, then some basic tyres should do the trick.
What truly makes the difference between expensive and cheap tyres (and what adds to the safety of the driver as well) is the improved grip and the reduced wear out rate. State of the art tyres are known to ensure a better grip, as they improve the contact between your vehicle and the surface of the road. Also, expensive tyres have a lower wear out rate, meaning that they are designed to last more in the long run – although these tyres do involve a significant investment at first, they are more durable (unlike most basic, cheap cars that need to be replaced faster than these ones). This is the reason why investing in cheap tyres often turns out to be a false money saving trick.
In addition to the improved grip and wear, another important detail that makes expensive tyres stand out from the rest is the fact that they have a better stopping rate. In other words, new and high-quality tyres pass the hard braking tests a lot better than the cheap, basic tyres – and for a good reason, given the generous tyre tread combined with the high-quality rubber they are made from. Expensive tyres are not only safer, but they can also improve the comfort as well as the driving conditions – the stopping distance and the reaction times of the expensive tyres are often superior to those of cheaper tyres from less popular brands, especially in wet conditions. When you need to push the brakes all of a sudden to avoid an accident, even one or two feet can make the difference between life and death, especially when you are trying to avoid a direct collision – in this situation, an expensive tyre may do a better job than a cheap one, especially in wet conditions where the risk of aquaplaning, where you may lose the directional control of your car.
As mentioned earlier, the tyre tread is equally important, and few people know that the depth of the tread coupled with the type of the tyre can add to the final price of the product. For instance, a street tyre is considerably more affordable than a snow tyre or an all-terrain one. The overall performance of your vehicle is significantly influenced by the type of tyre you opt for, as well as by its performance – besides this; a long-lasting expensive tyre may also help you save some gas money, as they will maintain their tread depth for a prolonged period of time.
Cheap, budget imported tyres often happen to be un-roadworthyunsure (therefore they are more likely to be under-inflated as opposed to the more expensive ones), the tread tends to wear out a lot faster and they are more susceptible to physical damage related to inappropriate road conditions – all these factors influence the safety aspect. Also, in some cases the more expensive ones tend to be made of a thicker type of rubber that will minimize the discomfort on bumpy roads.
Nevertheless, when it comes to your safety as well as to the safety of your passengers, it must be said that the price of the tyre alone will not guarantee anything: in addition to investing in a top-notch tyre, you will also need to check the pressure on a regular basis, replace the worn or defective tyres and to make sure that they are properly balanced and aligned, to prevent irregular worn out. Also, having a spare tyre properly inflated is another important aspect.
The Bottom Line
To summarize, we are all familiar with the saying “You get what you pay for”, and this surely applies to car tyres as well. In most cases, investing in expensive tyres does turn out to be a safer and a wiser investment than buying cheap tyres, which are certainly not a good way to save money, if that is what you are looking for. No driver should make any compromise in terms of safety, just to save several tens of dollars. However, the good news is that nowadays you can find a variety of high-quality, durable tyres from reputable manufacturers at highly affordable prices, if you just know where to look for them.
Frank Stevens is an engineer from Alice Springs, Australia.