Tyre Guide – Everything You Need to Know about Tyres


Tyre Guide

Tyres are the only contact your car has with the road, so it’s important to keep them at optimum performance, maintain them regularly and understand how they work.

This guide covers the basis of everything you need to know about tyres, from basic sidewall markings to tyre innovation in the design process.

Armed with all this information, you can relax and enjoy the drive, knowing that your tyres are safe and performing at their best. 



What do the markings on my tyre sidewalls mean?

Your tyre knowledge should start with understanding the sidewall markings. A tyre's sidewall contains all the information you'll need to know about that tyre.

There are five key bits of information on the tyre’s sidewall:

A. Tyre Width: the width of your tyre, in milimeters, measured from sidewall to sidewall

B. Aspect Ratio: this is the ratio of the tyre's cross-section to its width, expressed as a percentage. An aspect ratio of 65, for example, indicates that the tyre's height is 65% of its width.

C. Wheel Diameter: the diameter (or height) of the wheel, measured in inches.

D. Load index: your tyre’s load index relates to its maximum carrying capacity (in kg). You’ll find the load rating of your tyre on the sidewall, just to the right of the diameter. See our guide to tyre markings for a load index chart.

E. Speed rating: the speed rating is the maximum speed for a tyre when it is correctly inflated and being used under load. 



There’s plenty more to understand about your tyre’s sidewall markings. For a more detailed view, read our guide on tyre sidewall markings.



How to Find Correct Tyre Pressure

Correct tyre pressure is fundamental for optimum tyre performance. Every aspect of driving will be affected by under or over-inflation, so it’s important for you to know exactly what your tyre pressure should be and to check your tyre pressure regularly.

The recommended pressure for your tyres can be found in your vehicle handbook, or alternatively, it should be visible on the inside of the driver side door.

Driving with the correct tyre pressure will ensure optimised handling and traction in all weather conditions. Correct tyre pressure also has a positive impact on braking distances and fuel efficiency.

What’s more, an incorrectly inflated tyre will also wear down your tyre treads faster, meaning you’ll need to replace your tyres sooner.

For more information on tyre pressures read our guide on what your tyre pressure should be.

How To Check Your Tyre Treads

You can check tyre tread by using a tread depth gauge - relatively inexpensive and can comfortably fit inside your glove compartment.

You can also check for Tread Wear Indicators on your tyre, usually marked up alongside the letters TWI on your tyre’s sidewall. If these indicators are smooth with the tread, you should replace your tyres immediately. Lastly, you can use the 20p test, which couldn’t be simpler. Watch the video a guide to do so.

Tyre tread is vitally important for grip, traction and resistance to aquaplaning. In the UK, the legal limit of tyre tread is 1.6mm, but it’s important to check tyres regularly and keep them well maintained.

If you notice uneven wear when checking your tyre tread, this might be a sign of incorrect tyre pressure or a wheel alignment issue.

There’s a few more specific details to look out for – read our guide on checking tyre treads for a complete overview. 

How Long Will Tyres Last?

Your tyres will last longer the better you look after them. Taking good care of your tyres will extend their lifespan. A set of premium tyres such as Goodyear tyres should last over 20,000 miles. And by maintaining them well, they’ll perform well until the day you need to replace them.

Goodyear Mileage Plus Technology allows you to get 20% more miles than the next best tested competitor. Find out more about the Goodyear Efficient Grip Performance 2.





How To Look After Your Tyres

If you keep your tyres correctly inflated and regularly check your tyre tread, you’ll be well placed to maximise your tyre’s lifespan and keep them maintained to optimum performance levels.

For more advanced tyre maintenance, you can rotate your tyres periodically to ensure even wear over a tyre’s lifespan.

You might notice changes in the handling or traction of your tyres. If so, you may need to rebalance your tyres or need a wheel alignment service. If you’re unsure, take a trip to your dealer who will be able to help.




Knowing When To Replace Your Tyres

If you look after your tyres well over the years, you shouldn’t have need to replace them regularly. However, as soon as you can see that your tyres are damaged or no longer roadworthy, you should look to invest in a new set.

Checking your tyre tread regularly will ensure you are always aware how much tread you have left before you need to think about replacing your tyres. This will also mean you can keep an eye out for any bulges in the tyre sidewall, blistering on the tyre or any other kind of damage that may have occurred meaning you’d need to replace your tyres.

Read our complete guide on knowing when to replace your tyres for more details. 



Should I Change All Tyres At Once?

Whilst you might be a safe and smooth driver, on occasion you may need to push your tyres harder. For example, when braking harshly or during a heavy swerve. Fitting the same construction and pattern on both axles aids equal handling.

Different brands and patterns of tyres may also vary slightly in height and the speed they roll due to their individual designs or state of wear. This could affect the performance or mechanics if the tyres were mixed.

There is no law requiring the same pattern, but to obtain the best and safest driving conditions it is advisable to fit tyres with equal performance. It is worth noting that some countries do have laws on mixing. If you are planning on travelling abroad, you will need to check current laws of the country you will be visiting and those you will be driving through.



How to Fix a Flat Tyre

There’s no escaping it: at some point you will probably have a flat tyre. We recommend that you find a local tyre dealer to help you repair or replace your flat tyre.

But first, take a look at our guide on fixing a flat tyre to learn more about repairing tyres, preventing future damage and maintaining your tyres.




Spare Tyres

If you do find yourself with a flat tyre, having a spare tyre will ensure you’re fully prepared. There are several types of spare tyres available for your vehicle:

1. Full size matching spare: a tyre that is exactly the same as those currently on your vehicle,

2. Full size non-matching spare: a full size tyre that differs from those currently on your vehicle,

3. Full size temporary spare: this is a lightweight tyre designed to get you to a dealer or garage to replace the flat tyre,

4. Folding temporary spare: an inflatable or collapsible spare tyre designed to get you to a dealer or garage to replace the flat tyre,

5. Compact temporary spare: A smaller, lighter tyre engineered to allow the driver to continue their journey to a garage for repair or replacement.

Each type of spare tyre has pros and cons. See our guide to spare tyres for all the details. Remember, vehicles equipped with run flat tyres do not have spare tyres. Instead, run flat tyres are designed with reinforced shoulders to allow you to continue driving at a reduced speed for a short distance until you get to a dealer or a convenient location to replace your tyre. Discover more about run flat tyres.


What’s the Difference Between Summer, All Season and Winter Tyres?

As Jon Benson from Tyre Reviews explains in this video, summer tyres are designed to be excellent in the dry and wet when the weather is warm, but as soon as the temperature drops below 7°c, so will the performance.

Winter tyres contain a higher proportion of rubber, making them softer with a higher rate of elasticity. This increases the level of grip the tyre is able to offer in temperatures below 7°c. Winter tyres also have a different tread pattern containing sipes to give you the best possible performance on snow and ice. The softer and more elastic rubber on winter tyres degrades quickly in the warmer weather of summer as they are designed to be a winter weather specialist.

If you live somewhere that gets especially cold in winter with a lot of snow and ice, then choosing summer and winter tyres may be your best option. This will give you optimal performance in the warmer months, but as the temperature drops, you’ll have the best tyres for those wintry conditions.

An all season tyre blends the best of both the summer and winter tyre into one package, meaning you can run it all year round. This tyre is best if you live somewhere in the country that doesn’t get especially cold or see so much snow and ice. You will still get good performance in the summer and when the temperature drops, the tyre has the elasticity in the rubber to provide good winter performance too.

What’s the Difference Between Car, 4x4 and SUV Tyres?

If you have an SUV or 4x4 vehicle, then you’ll also need to choose a tyre that’s appropriate for that vehicle.

An SUV tyre such as the Asymmetric 3 SUV takes the features of a car tyre and builds on it for an SUV specific application. This allows for the higher weight and higher loads of an SUV vehicle to be put to the ground safely, while retaining good levels of comfort, safety and excellent grip for handling and breaking.

If you spend a lot of your time off road, then a 4x4 tyre such as the Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac is ideal. The tyre is designed for 80% off road use and 20% on road use. Features include reinforced sidewalls and an aggressive tread pattern, which give you excellent grip off road without risk of puncture.

If you are looking for a 4x4 tyre with more on road performance, the Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure bridges the gap between the SUV tyre and the off road 4x4 specialist tyre. The tyre is designed for 50% off road and 50% on road, so you can still use it off road regularly, but it’s got nicer road balance than the DuraTrac tyre.

What Are OE Tyres?

Original Equipment (OE) tyres are tyres specifically designed by tyre manufacturers alongside car manufacturers for a specific vehicle, to ensure that the individual vehicle’s performance can be maximised.

This usually takes place in the early development cycle of a new vehicle and takes into consideration various aspects of tyre performance, such as handling, braking, traction, tread wear, noise and vibration. Development cycles can take 2-3 years, including lab and bench tests as well as several prototype tyres over hundreds of thousands of real world miles.

When it comes to replacing your tyres, it’s always a good idea to check what the OE tyres are for your vehicle. OE tyres will have their own specific mark fitment, such as a star marking for BMW, MO for Mercedes and AO for Audi.

Take a look at our OE tyres for all car manufacturers here



EU Tyre Label

The EU tyre label provides important safety and environmental information about each tyre. It helps you compare tyres for wet grip, fuel efficiency and noise.

Fuel efficiency is rated from A to G on a colour-coded scale. A (green) = highest fuel efficiency rating. G (red) = lowest fuel efficiency rating.

Wet grip is the tyre’s ability to stick to the road in wet conditions. The EU rating focuses only on one aspect of wet grip – the wet braking performance of the tyre. Wet grip is rated from A to F: A = highest rating and F = lowest rating.

Noise Rating measures the pass-by noise a car makes that comes from the tyres. It is measured on a scale of decibels, depicted as waves. 1 black wave = quiet, 2 black waves = moderate and 3 black waves: noisy.

See our guide to the EU Tyre Label for exact details.

How Tyres are Made

At Goodyear, we’re continually developing new technology and looking for innovative ways to improve our tyres. Our quality control engineers are also always on hand to test tyres when they’re made to make sure they’re up to scratch.

The manufacturing process typically follows five key steps:

1. Blend: up to 30 different kinds of rubber, fillers and other ingredients are mixed in giant blenders to create a black, gummy compound that will be sent on for milling.

2. Mill: the cooled rubber is cut into strips that will form the basic structure of the tyre itself. At this stage, some of the tyre parts prepared are then coated in another type of rubber.

3. Build: the tyre is built from the inside out using a tyre-building machine. The result is a ‘green tyre’ – a tyre that is beginning to look finished.

4. Cure: the green tyre is then vulcanised with hot moulds in a curing machine, compressing all of the parts of the tyre together and giving the tyre its final shape, including its tread pattern and manufacturer’s sidewall markings.

5. Inspect: trained inspectors using special machinery will now carefully check each tyre for the slightest blemish or imperfection before it can be shipped for sale. 



Find out more about how tyres are made.





The right tyre for you

Tyre Search

Find a Dealer

Store Locator

Tyre Guide

Find out more