Buying tyres – you “get what you pay for”

Auto Express has published the results of various tests it performed with Goodyear to measure the difference in winter braking distance when tweaking one particular tyre characteristic, and one finding is especially worth reporting as we head into the coldest part of the year. The distance it takes to stop a car doesn’t just vary depending on your choice of winter tyre – it can vary a lot.

The test in question was carried out at the Mira proving ground’s braking circuit, a facility equipped with basalt tyres that replicate the characteristics of a snow-covered surface. Size 205/55 R16 tyres were fitted to Ford Focus 1.5 TDCi hatchbacks, identical save for tyre choice. Once car wore Goodyear’s UltraGrip Performance Gen-1 tyres, while the second was fitted with a set of Wanli Snowgrip tyres.

After accelerating to 52mph (83.7 km/h), the testers braked hard. The stopping distances were then measures. The results, shares Auto Express, were startling. The Goodyear tyre outbraked its budget rival by more than 40 per cent, stopping on average after 94.4 metres. The Focus fitted with Wanli tyres took an average of 138.3 metres to stop – 43.9 extra metres. Afterwards, MIRA expert driving instructor Stuart Fane commented: “Think how many cars, pedestrians and other road users fit in the space of 44 metres.”

Fane added: “Anyone can press the brake pedal hard, but no matter how good your reactions are, it’s ultimately the tyre that will determine how fast you come to a stop, and the 44-metre difference speaks for itself. This test proves that you get what you pay for with budget tyres.”

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