What do I need to know when buying tyres?

Products for Car / 4x4 / Van

Continental Tyres technology


Buying tyres

Key requirements

The key to choosing new car tyres

When your car needs new tyres, what do you usually do? Who helps you with all of your vehicle issues? Who chooses your tyres? Do you know someone who is an expert on everything your car needs (size, tread, width, diameter, fit, etc.)? Or do you make all the decisions? We know that buying new tyres can be a complicated and sometimes overwhelming process, so we want to try to simplify it for you. 

There are a number of considerations when choosing the right tyres for your car, let's start with some of the key points. To ensure the right fit, grip and price point – which makes for a safe and economical driving experience – take time to think about the following before your new tyres hit the road:

What tyre size do I need?

One of your first considerations should be tyre size. With hundreds of tyres to choose from, you can use a number of factors to help you decide: comfort, style and value, to name just a few. However, it is important to make sure that the diameter of the tyre is as close to the original as possible. Fitting your car with wheels that are the same diameter will help protect your drive shaft and suspension. Consult a service professional if you would like to fit your vehicle with a differently-sized tyre. There are many factors – such as extra load, low profile, speed ratings and load index – that can be affected by tyre size, so it is important to let the service professional know exactly what you are looking for. 

What is the weather like?

When fitting your car with tyres, it is important to think about the weather. Do you need specific winter or summer season tyres or are you looking for all-season tyres? How often will you be driving in cold weather? How frequently will the roads be wet – do you need a tyre with a good wet-grip rating?

How do I drive? 

Ideally the tyres fitted to your car should last you many years. To ensure they do, you have to consider your driving habits. How many miles or kilometres do you cover with your car each year? Do you frequently push the car to the limits of its performance? Are you in the habit of braking and accelerating suddenly? 

What else should I consider?

For information about load size and speed capacity, look on the sidewall. The details are usually located directly after the tyre size information and typically consist of a number and letter. You can then determine the actual load and speed capability figures by referring to industry tables.

Other information found on the sidewall that may be useful includes: 

  • Manufacturer
  • Pattern type
  • Tread wear indicators

Tips for buying new tyres   

  • Make sure you need new tyres. Examine them quickly to see how much tread wear they have and check whether there's any bulging, changes in colour or cracks in the sidewalls. If you are not sure what to look for, take your vehicle to a professional. Additionally, if your tyres are more than 10 years old, consider replacing them even if they do not look damaged or worn. 
  • Have your car checked. If you put new tyres on a car that has issues with alignment, suspension or braking, then you risk damaging them unless you first correct the issues. 
  • Consult the vehicle manufacturer to see what type of tyres they recommend for your car. You can contact them directly or look for information written on the placard located along the inside edge of the door. 
  • Learn how to read the tyre code written on the sidewall of the tyre. 
  • Make sure that you choose the proper size so that you maximise the lifespan, value and comfort of your tyres.
  • Buy a full set of tyres. It can be tempting to only replace the tyres that need to be replaced, but not getting a matching set can create issues with uneven wear, suspension and handling. 
  • Check the spare tyre. Whenever you need to replace your tyres, it is always a good idea to have your spare checked.

Tyre sidewall information


What does the information on the tyre sidewall mean?

Read More

Vehicle type & Application

Vehicle types

What type of vehicle do I drive?

Read More

General Legal Requirements & Fitting of Used Tyres

Remaining tread depth

What are general legal requirements and what do you need to know about used tyres?

Read More

Tyre Label ratings

EU tyre label

The EU Tyre Label offers exact information about safety, fuel efficiency and noise of a tyre. 

Read More

Summer, Winter and All-Season tyres

All season

When do I need summer tyres, winter tyres or all season tyres?

Read More

Other considerations

Tyre valve

What do you need to know about up-sizing, valves and balancing tyres?

Read More

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