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What Tyres should you buy: Premium vs Cheap

Buying new tyres ranks pretty far down on the list of things most people want to do with their time and money. It can also cause something of a dilemma, which usually boils down to two decisions that have to be made. Firstly, what brand do you buy? Secondly, what should you spend? The misconception being that quality brands are always going to hit you in the pocket. This may be true of some brands, but quality brand name doesn’t always mean the tyres they manufacture are prohibitively expensive.

A little research will be required and is highly recommended, because many premium manufacturers do produce less recognisable great quality budget tyres that are sold at an affordable price. An excellent example would be two of the brands that Trentyre Zimbabwe stock, GoodYear, a premium quality tyre and Sava, which is manufactured by GoodYear, but marketed as a quality budget tyre. Considering the investment in tyres is a decision that will last anything between three and six years (depending on what you buy), it should be done carefully.

During this research, you will also come across knock-offs that have the near identical tread patterns to quality tyres and are unquestionably cheaper. So, why by premium or budget tyres, when you can purchase these really cheap knock-off tyres? The difference is not in what you can see that is similar, like the tread pattern, but in what you cannot see at all, for example the grade of rubber used to make the tyre or what lies beneath, the materials and layers of the internal construction. Almost identical tread patterns will make the tyres look similar but on the critical areas they really are not.

Global brands like GoodYear, invest a lot of both time and money on safety-testing, extensive research, development and engineering, on all aspects of the tyre construction process and materials used. This is to ensure the brand’s tyres are hardwearing and safe, where cheaper knock-off tyre manufacturers will not, making the two products inherently different.

A lot of testing over the years has been carried out to examine the theory that quality tyres beat cheap tyres and it is in this arena of direct comparison that the startling difference particularly in improved wear, grip and fuel efficiency has shown that the old adage “you get what you pay for” is unfortunately often true.

Quality tyres have shorter stopping distances and offer better lateral grip when cornering, these are all critical differences and arguably life-saving factors that justify the extra expense. The quality of the materials used is guaranteed, so the longevity of the tyre is assured and replacing them is less frequent.

GoodYear have what they call the 360˚Quality Test approach meaning its tyres are rigorously tested and not only in-house, but by vehicle manufacturers and industry publications.

Daniel Perlman, Managing Director of Trentyre; “It is not just the lack of actual grip a tyre has, but how the car will react at its limit and then how much control the driver will have of the car once past this limit. This is not in question when you have fitted a GoodYear or Sava tyre. A quality tyre will have been tested in all situations, with the proven test results to show for it. A cheap knock-off is an unknown quantity and where safety is concerned, for me this is just not worth the risk”.

There are many factors to consider when looking at tyres other than the price and quality. But the difference between a more expensive, quality tyre and a cheap tyre can be thousands of dollars in damages if the better tyre can prevent you from hitting something or running off the road. Remember - if you're a millimeter away from hitting something - there's no damage, no problem. Another few millimeters can hit you in the pocket, costing thousands of dollars in repairs not to mention the down time.

You can look into all or some of the following considerations while researching tyres:

  • Breaking distance in dry
  • Breaking distance in wet
  • Lateral grip for cornering
  • Road noise - some tyres are significantly noisier than others
  • Drag - decreases your kilometres per litre
  • Durability - how quickly the tyres wear down and need to be replaced
  • Comfort - how well the tyre absorbs the bumps

Perlman continues; “The wrong tyres will pound your neck, assault you with constant whining, cause your beloved car to handle worse than a bakkie, or scare you witless when it rains. Remember the only thing between you and the road is your tyre, this definitely warrants spending a little bit of time making a decision or contacting any Trentyre branch for expert assistance.”

With the continent of Africa often a dumping ground for cheap goods, including less than quality tyres, it makes sense to go with a reputable brand, stocked by reputable suppliers. Call Trentyre they have experienced staff and a wide range to choose from.