Tyre Buying process

Do I have to fit the tyres myself?
No. If you select the fully fitted option, your tyres will be delivered to a fitting centre of your choice and they will fit the tyres for you. This is all included in the price.

Are valves and wheel balancing included?
Yes. Both of these things are included when you select the Fully fitted option.

Do my local garages have an issue with me buying tyres online?
No. People have been buying tyres online for years now. The garage or tyre centre is paid to fit the tyres, so they still make a profit.

Do I have to change all four tyres?
If you have one worn tyre there is no need to change all four tyres. However there are benefits in changing tyres in pairs. It is best to have the same level of grip on both sides of each axel. So, depending on how worn your tyres are it is best to change either both front tyres or both rear tyres at the same time.

Can I have my tracking adjusted?
Check with the fitting centre where your tyres will be fitted. Most specialist tyre fitting centres have the equipment to carry out these adjustments. There will be a separate charge, payable to the fitting centre directly.

Tyre Technical Questions

How do I find my tyre size?
The tyre size can be found on the sidewall of the tyre. Take a look at the picture for details.
Buying Tyres online

What do all these numbers mean? The tyre sidewall markings explained.
At first glance the tyre sidewall seems to contain a lot of confusing numbers and letters. This information tells you about the dimensions, speed rating and tyre pressure setting.

To buy tyres online, all you really need to know are the 4 main pieces of information:

Tyre Width
The tyre width is shown in millimetres and is the width from one side of the tyre to the other. Wider tyres give the car more contact with the road and therefore more traction.

Tyre Profile
The tyre profile is actually a ratio, not a metric measurement. The profile is the ratio of tyre width to profile height shown as a percentage.

For example: If the tyre has the dimensions shown - 205/50. Then the profile is 50% of the width, so 50% of 205mm is 102.5mm. The tyre height from the rim to the tread is 102.5mm

Tyre Speed Rating
All tyres have a speed rating letter. The letter denotes a maximum speed that the tyre can sustain for a 10 minute period without falling to pieces. Each speed rating is 10Km/h above the previous. This is a very important parameter, as there is a legal requirement to fit tyres to your vehicle with the correct speed rating.

Note: the letter R is nothing to do with the speed rating. This letter denotes the tyre construction, so if your tyre is a 255/35 ZR19, it just means that it's a Z rated tyre of Radial construction. This letter is redundant really, because nearly all tyres are radial these days.

Symbol Max Speed Symbol Max Speed
Km/h MPH Km/h MPH
L 120 75 S 180 113
M 130 81 T 190 118
N 140 87 U 200 125
P 150 95 H 210 130
Q 160 100 V 240 150
R 170 105 W 270 168
      Z 240+ 150+

For most people these speed ratings are not relevant to their driving habits as the UK speed limit is just 70MPH or approximately 120Km/h. However if you plan on stretching your vehicle's legs a bit on the German Autobahn, 130MPH may not seem that fast, but on H rated tyres, according to the chart you have 10 minutes max before your tyre comes apart!

Wheel Size
This is the diameter of the wheel rim in inches that the tyre is designed to fit. It's strange that they mix metric and imperial measurements, but they just do.

Load Rating
On some tyres you will see an extra number after the R eg. 205/50/R/16/91/V. In this format the figure 91 denotes the tyre's load rating. The load rating is the weight in Kilos (multiplied by 10) that the tyre can support at speeds of up to 130MPH. It's worth noting that above speeds of 130MPH the load rating decreases.

If you're car weighs 2 metric tons (2,000Kg) then if we do a simple calculation we can assume that there will be roughly 500Kg supported by each tyre. This gives us a tyre load index rating of 84. If you then add a further 20% for passengers and a nice safety margin that takes the up to 600Kg per tyre, giving us a load rating of about 91.

Legal requirements around tyre speed ratings
Although the UK speed limit is just 70MPH, most vehicles are more than capable of exceeding this speed. Therefore vehicle insurance companies will insist that the tyres of the correct speed rating are fitted to your vehicle. This is a legal requirement in the UK.

What is the legal limit on tread depth?
Here in the UK the legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm. However independent tests have proved that a tyre at 1.6mm is 40% less efficient as stopping in the wet than a tyre at 3mm. For safety's sake we would advise people to aim to replace their tyres at 3mm of tread.

How can I measure my tyre tread depth?
You can use a tyre depth gauge. However most tyres have a tread wear indicator to help you to visually identify when you are close to the tread depth limit. If you're looking at your front tyres, lock your steering wheel to either the left or the right and look around the tread carefully, you should see a small rubber bar running across the tread grooves. The wear indicator is usually placed in the tyre at a depth of 2mm. If the tyre tread is flush with this rubber bar then it's time to replace your tyres.

Can they repair my puncture?
Not all punctures are safe to repair, especially if the tyre has been driven on. The guide below shows the areas that can be repaired. If you have Run Flat Tyres read this page which explains why tyre fitters have issues repairing run flat tyres.

Buying Tyres online

What are RFT tyres and why are they so expensive?
RFT stand for Run Flat Tyre. These tyres can survive a puncture and still be driven on, albeit at a reduced speed and limited distance. The RFT tyre is more expensive partly because of the thicker tyre wall that prevents the tyre from collapsing due to a loss of pressure.

Typically you should be able to drive approximately 100 miles at 50MPH on a punctured run flat tyre. There are several benefits to the RFT system; RFT tyres are safer, if you lose pressure with a conventional tyre you could career off the road. The RFT keeps you on the road as the tyre does not collapse. If you sustain a puncture in a dangerous area or on a busy wet motorway, you don't have to change the tyre there and then, just drive on and find a tyre repair centre. With RFT there's no need for a spare wheel, which saves you money and boot space.

Upgrading to RFT on a non RFT vehicle is not really practical or cheap to do. RFT tyres only work with specially designed RFT rims, so you'll need to buy 4 new rims from BMW / Audi etc. Then you'll need to source and install an Electronic Tyre Pressure Monitor System (ETPMS or TPMS). Because a RFT puncture may not always be obvious to a driver, an electronic tyre pressure monitor is required to alert the driver to the loss of pressure.

Follow this link for information on Run Flat Tyre repairs | alternative to runflat tyres