Budget Tyres vs Premium Tyres

Probably one of the most frequently asked questions regarding tyres is, “What is the difference between budget tyres and premium tyres?” Indeed, if you use our online tyre pricing calculator over on our special Darlington Tyres website, you’ll see that some premium name tyres can cost half as much again as the cheapest budget tyres. So given that tyres are always a distress purchase, we thought it would be good to do some research and offer advice on budget vs premium tyres.

Firstly, it’s unrealistic to expect drivers shopping for tyres on a budget to buy the most expensive brands. Many people simply can’t afford it, so offering scary stories about increased stopping distances doesn’t really help anyone if you can only afford the cheaper tyre brands. But whilst they are indeed all black and round, there are differences and each driver needs to take a view on which tyres are most appropriate.

So here are our top facts and tips about budget vs premium tyres to help you choose:

1. Premium tyres last longer than budget tyres. This is true, but there’s no such thing as an average life cycle for a tyre. Drivers on open roads at constant speeds can expect better tyre life than cars used across country or in towns, where braking and acceleration forces are increased. If you can only afford a budget tyre, always buy new and never part worn. Read our article on the dangers of part worn tyres for more details.

2. One of the biggest reasons for increased tyre costs is due to neglect. Most tyres that we see in our workshops have worn out simply because the owner didn’t care about them enough. Someone buying premium brand tyres who doesn’t take care of them is simply wasting money. A poorly inflated tyre, a tyre that has been constantly bounced up kerbs, or a car with the wrong suspension alignment can make a massive difference to tyre life. Check your tyre pressures at least once per month. If you hit a kerb or a bad pothole, check your tyres and try and see if your wheels have been knocked out of alignment. If in doubt, call into our workshops and we will check your tyres for free.

Poor wheel alignment can ruin a good tyre very quickly
Poor wheel alignment can ruin a good tyre very quickly

3. Premium tyres have a shorter stopping distance. This is true and there’s no getting away from that. This article by What Car shows the differences in stopping distances between budget and premium tyres. However, in the real world, we know that it depends on a combination of your budget and your expectations as a driver. At 70 mph, the article shows that it took the length of an articulated lorry in extra distance to stop. So if you drive on motorways a lot, perhaps it’s worth paying the extra for those brands.

4. I’m just paying for the name with premium brands. Not so. While it’s true that many of the major tyre brands also have a secondary brand aimed at the budget markeplace, the two tyres are constructed of different material, with a different level of research and development invested into it.

5. Budget tyres are noisy. This can be true and it’s one of the side affects of the reduced level of research that goes into them. If you run a premium executive car, it’s worth considering that budget tyres will have more road noise. If you’re simply driving a family hatchback and drive everywhere listening to the radio, that’s not such a big problem.

There are many arguments for both budget and premium branded tyres, the list is endless. So which should you choose? Premium tyres vs budget tyres? It’s certainly confusing and we hope this has helped. But if you’re not sure call into our workshop for a chat with our technicians, we’re quite happy to give advice based upon your driving profile and how much you have to spend.

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