The real cost of cheap tyres

One of Cornwall’s most respected automotive experts is urging motorists to avoid the ‘short term fix’ of buying budget tyres to beat the recession, after identifying a safety swerving trend for cheap overseas brands.

Justin Roberton, owner of HiQ fast fit centres in St Austell, Truro, Bodmin and Helston, believes that the current age of austerity coupled with a market of poor imported tyres is a recipe for disaster.

Justin said that recent performance tests on premium products compared to Chinese and Taiwan tyres are ‘scary’ and  he is calling on motorists to think of the long term implications of a short term fix.

Justin said: “Tyres are a distress purchase for many car owners, so when the time comes to replace them it’s no surprise that many motorists shop on price.

“But by buying cheap tyres, they are sacrificing safety.

“Accurate official statements don’t exist, but cheap import tyres from China and Taiwan account for around a fifth of all passenger car tyres currently sold, many of them via the internet.

“This makes their performance well worth testing.

“In order to earn the circled “E” on their sidewall, tyres have to pass the ECE R30 high speed test, which ensures they can carry a specified percentage of their rated maximum speed without failure.

“But there are no statutory tests of braking, handling or aquaplaning performance and even the R30 test is considered inadequate by many car makers.

“In other words, just because a tyre can be legally sold in the UK, that is no guarantee of its performance in safety-critical aspects of normal driving.

In monitored tests by leading manufacturers a tyre size 205/55-16 was put through the paces

Five imported “budget” brands were tested against the leading manufacturers and the results were something of an eye opener.

The difference in Aquaplaning between the lowest budget brand was a staggering 8.5 metres

The test on cornering grip was a 28% higher lateral acceleration with the premium tyre that equivalent to a 13 per cent difference in cornering speed

Finally in comparison “wet braking” between top and bottom places on a partially worn tyre was 20% 11m / 3 car lengths.

HiQ, with our fully qualified tyre professionals, can always recommend the right tyre for your vehicle whether you would prefer great wet braking, short journeys around town or regular trips up and down the motorway.

Give HiQ a call today. Our advice is always free and motorists are always invited to call in to take advantage of our free pressure and wheel alignment checks to prolong the life of their tyres.