September 27, 2017
Polish Tyre Industry Association (PTIA)
What every driver should know before purchasing new tyres?

Did you know that unused tyres made a few years ago are just as good as those produced yesterday? Do you know that the M + S symbol on tyres is not the sign of winter homologation? Do you realize that with good tyres your car will consume less fuel? Do you remember that your road safety depends on the grip that tyres provide? 

Tyre parameters are essential in everyday use, as well as in difficult situations on the road. Before purchasing, it is good to know what tyres are available on the market,  for example browse some reviews –  however, primarly we should know the basic tyre properties – it will significantly help us choosing the right tyres. Polish Tyre Industry Association encourages to familiarize yourself with the most important tyre parameters.

SIZE: Tyres are tailored to the requirements of the car manufacturer as well as performance and specifications of each type of car. An example tyre designation:

195 / 65R16 91T consists of:

  • 195 - Width expressed in millimeters measured between the sides of the tyre.
  • 65 - The height of the profile is the percentage representing the height of the side of the tyre relative to its width. In this case it is 65% or about 127 mm.
  • R15 - R is the type of tyre, in this case radial. 15 - This is the diameter of tyre fitted to the rim in inches.
  • 91 - The load capacity index represents the maximum load value of one tyre at the speed allowed by the vehicle manufacturer.
  • T - The speed index informs us of the maximum speed at which the vehicle can move safely when a particular tyre is fitted.

The information which tyres were used by the producer to homologate its vehicle can be found in car’s manual. There is also all the necessary data, that will help us to choose the right size and type of tyres.


„Due to the wide range of tyres available on the market drivers could find it difficult to select the right one. There are also some low quality products, making it is easy to make a bad decision and regret it for several years – as when we buy used tyres with an unknown usage history. In our cars we are not able to upgrade ABS or ESP, nor any other safety system and replacing the braking system could be very expensive. Using new and good quality tyres is the easiest way to increase road safety said Piotr Sarnecki, Director General of Polish Tyre Industry Association.

There are other markings on the side of the tyre. The most important are:

  • E.C.E symbol – European homologation, ie information on admission to use within the European Union  
  • DOT number – data on producer: factory, date of production
  • Alpine symbol – for tyres with winter homologation

Matching tyres for winter conditions is crucial for keeping road safety in difficult weather. Winter approved tyres differ from the summer ones with rubber compound and thus retain better grip at lower temperatures. These tyres are marked with “Alpine” symbol and guarantee better traction in winter conditions. Drivers can often come across a M+S marking (Mud and Snow) – it indicates that tyres are equipped with special thread but not with a winter rubber compoundadds Piotr Sarnecki.

LABEL: New tyres have labels informing about 3 important parameters:

  • Fuel efficiency - determined by the coefficient of rolling resistance of the tyre. It is expressed in grades A to G, where A is the most economical tyre.
  • Grip on wet roads - informs you of the braking distance of the car on the wet surface. Class A means that the tyre model has the shortest braking distance.
  • External rolling noise - expressed in decibels, the value emitted by a given tyre.

In case of fuel efficiency and grip on the roads, differences between grades are significant. The difference between Class A and G tyres for wet braking at 80 km/h is up to 18 m. As for fuel efficiency, the difference between Class G and Class A is up to 7.5% less fuel consumption. For a car that consumes 8 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers, it saves close to 2 fuel tanks per year.

In addition to tyre size and information on labels, we should pay close attention to other parameters – braking distance, handling, wet and dry steerability, aquaplaning resistance, durability and strength. In case of winter tyres – their performance in winter conditions.


We should remember to choose tyres depending on:

  • Our driving style.
  • The type of roads we drive on (city, highway, unpaved roads).
  • Individual preferences

When we know what tyre parameters are important, we have talked with professionals at the tyre service or shop it is worth to remember one last thing - unused tyres produced even a few years ago, if properly stored, have the same characteristics as tyres that left the factory a few days ago. They will have all the qualities of a brand new tyre. The main influence on the condition of tyres is their exploitation, not the time of storage.


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