Tyre FAQ

Everything you need to know about Wheel Balancing at MOTEST

A. Wheel balancing, is the process of equalizing the weight of the combined tyre and wheel assembly so that it spins smoothly at high speed.Putting wheel weights on the wheel achieves an even weight distribution.

The wheel/tyre assembly is placed on a balancing machine, which centres the wheel and spins it to determine where the weights should go. The weights are either fixed to the outer rim on steel wheels or glued to the inside of the rim on alloys.

A. Incorrect pressures can affect a vehicle’s handling, cause premature tyre wear and damage a tyre irreversibly. Motest would advise you to check tyre pressures regularly at least once a month, and before every long journey. That includes the spare.

Ideally tyre pressures should be checked when tyres are cold, before the vehicle has travelled any great distance. As they warm, tyres increase in pressure which is quite normal.

Under inflation

An underinflated tyre, the most common, will cause quite a number of issues. The lack of air in the tyre will cause it to effectively sag. This causes extra undesired resistance on the road surface, which results in higher fuel consumption. It also effects the handling.

If both front tyres are low on pressure it will cause excessive body roll when cornering or manoeuvring on a motorway. If one front tyre is flat it will cause the car to pull left or right depending on which tyre it is. Underinflated rear tyres will have a similar effect, but won’t be as noticeable.

It will also cause the outside edges of the tyres to wear faster than the centre tread as it reduces the overall contact area with the road.

Over inflation

Like under-inflation, over-inflation reduces the area of contact with the road, which can adversely affect vehicle handling and braking. The harder the tyre ( over the manufacturers recommendation) the less grip it will have. It also accelerates wear in the centre of the tread and makes the tyre more vulnerable to impact fracture or other casing failures.

An over-inflated tyre doesn’t absorb road shocks so well, resulting in a much harder ride, which can prove extremely uncomfortable when clocking up the miles.

A. Have a look in your vehicles handbook for the correct pressure. A lot of modern vehicles have the tyre pressure written somewhere on the car, such as on a sticker just in the driver’s door frame or on the fuel cap. If you have difficulty locating the information please call your local Motest branch and we will tell you what the correct pressures are.

A. Given your only contact with the road is 4 patches of rubber the size of a handprint, it is incredible that many people put little thought into their replacements. All tyres are black & round but that’s where the similarity ends. Tread design, steel bracing construction and quality of compounds all have dramatic effect on cornering, noise and importantly for this country wet weather grip. Going for the cheapest is not always a wise option – so much depends on the car and the way you use it. We will try and explain the differences based on our experience and knowledge.
If you’re on a tight budget, do low mileage and speeds, the cars a cheap runabout and its mainly urban driving then these could be just what you need. If you have a high performance car or do lot of motorway or fast driving , you should consider a mid range or premium tyre. Apart from tread design, the tyres construction and quality of compounds will have a dramatic effect on performance. This link demonstrates the point (you tubevideo) As a minimum check the new EU ratings, on the tyre and pay special attention to the wet weather rating . Another consideration with a budget tyre is who made it, as number of budget brands are made by the big Premium makers such as Matador by Continental and Roadstone by Michelin which will give you some reassurance on quality. Our advice is make your choice carefully – it may be better to pay £10 + more a tyre to get a known midrange make.
Mid range
The mid-range sector will be easier to understand as it mainly has well established familiar brands, many owned by some of the world’s biggest /premium tyre manufacturers. The mid-range market includes brands like Avon, Firestone , Falken, Kumho, Hankook, and Uniroyal. These tyres are often a very good compromise for general use, offering more in the way of wear and fuel efficiency than budgets and benefiting from the same technology invested in premium tyres, but at a more reasonable price. Indeed, Some of the mid range have also outperformed the premium sector tyres. For instance Falken and Toyo are real good choices as a performance tyre.
Premium brands are the well-known household brands (eg Michelin, Bridgestone, Continental,Goodyear) and are the leaders in driving new tyre technology. If you’re buying a premium brands, you are buying a product that has been tried and tested to perform to the maximum in wet and dry conditions, with good ride, grip, cornering and durability. All the massive investment in technology, safety testing and engineering that goes with a premium tyre is reflected in the fact you pay a premium for a superior tyre. A good example is Goodyear who in Feb 2015 introduced an AA rated tyre on fuel economy and wet grip ratings, which is a great combination. Even amongst premium brands, there are price differences – some premium brands are £20-£30 cheaper than one another. This is usually down to tyre specifics, and tread pattern. If you were looking for a tyre with different characteristics for track day use for example, then you will generally go for a softer compound tyre that grips far better than a standard road tyre, but used on the road would wear considerably faster. If you tend to cover many miles each year or do a lot of high speed driving such as on motorways, then these tyres could be well worth spending that extra for – you will notice the difference.

A. Budget tyres can be a great option for your car but it does very much depend on driving style and vehicle usage. For example, for a vehicle used for regular town driving, popping to the shops, or small local journeys at modest speeds, a budget tyre is a great substitute for a premium brand and it is unlikely any difference will be noticed.

If the vehicle is constantly used for long commutes and motorway journeys then we would recommend spending a little bit more and getting a more hard wearing mid range tyre such as Avon or Kumho, which are very good tyres for the price. As there are a lot of budget tyres available on the market , we at Motest will do our best to advise you on which brand will be best for you.

A. Yes you can, this can be safely done as long as the tyres are the same size, load index and speed rating… BUT! We do advise at a minimum to match tyre brand and model on the same axle. So both fronts, or both rear tyres to be the same.
A. New tyres on the rear axle provide better driver control on wet roads. These tyres with deeper tread are better at displacing water and give better grip. If the new tyres are fitted at the front the car, then it is more likely to oversteer when grip is lost in wet weather, which is much harder to control than understeer. Oversteer is when the rear of the car slides sideways, and understeer is when the front of the car slides.

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