THINK of driving, and the first as well as the most important fitment that comes to mind is the right set of tyres. Automakers engage in a lot of research before finalising the size and type of tyres in every vehicle, but when it comes to replacing the tyres, it becomes a rather difficult choice as various types of tyres are available in the market.
India represents the fourth largest market for tyres in the world after China, Europe and the US. The demand is primarily catalysed from two end-user segments — original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and the replacement segment. The replacement market is huge and currently dominates the market, accounting for most of its sales.
MRF, Apollo, CEAT, Goodyear, Bridgestone, Continental, Yokohama, Michelin, JK Tyres and BKT are some of the major manufacturers in the country.
According to a report of the Automotive Tyre Manufacturers' Association (ATMA), the Indian tyre industry will contribute 3.4 per cent to the country’s manufacturing gross domestic product (GDP) by the 2032 fiscal as compared to 2.2 per cent in 2022.
Anshuman Singhania, chairman, ATMA, and MD, JK Tyre & Industries, said, “The Indian tyre industry has the potential to lead domestic manufacturing on the global stage. Today, India has some of the finest radial tyre manufacturing facilities in the world, and the products are world class, as is evident from the rising demand for them worldwide. Made-in-India tyres are being exported to more than 170 countries, with the US and Europe buying the most.”
Selecting the optimum fit
The right set of tyres plays an important role not only in the performance of the vehicle and driving experience, but also the overall safety of passengers. They improve the handling, steering, acceleration and braking of the vehicle.
Markings on the sidewall
Printed on the side of a tyre are markings, numbers and letters. These denote the size, type and performance of the tyre. The markings usually look something like this: 205/55 R16 91V. The first number (205) tells you the width of the tyre in mm. The second number (55) tells you the height of the tyre as a percentage of the width. The letter (R) stands for ‘radial’, which is the type of tyre. The next number (16) tells you the size of the wheel rim in inches. The last two numbers (91) tell you the load index rating and the letter (V) tells you the speed rating.
Points to consider before buying
Always buy the tyres that are compatible with your vehicle. You can also buy the tyres originally fitted by the manufacturer.
Other factors to be kept in mind are the kind of driving you do, how many kilometres you drive and the climatic conditions where you live and drive.
Seasonality and weather
Depending on the severity of the weather where you live, this may impact the choice of tyres you buy. There are three types of tyres you can choose from: summer, winter and all-season tyres.
Summer tyres: Most commonly fitted in cars, these grip well on both dry and wet road surfaces and are designed for optimum performance in mild weather conditions of 7°C and above.
Winter tyres: These contain a higher proportion of rubber than summer tyres, making them softer and more elastic. This increases the level of grip the tyre offers in temperatures below 7°C.
All-season tyres: The technology of both summer and winter tyres is blended to make these tyres. This allows you to run one set of tyres on your car all year round.
In addition to above, run-flat tyres are also available in the market. These are able to run at a speed of 80 km/hour for up to 80 km in the event of a puncture. Most luxury cars are fitted with run-flat tyres. Tyres can account for up to 20 per cent of your vehicle’s fuel consumption. Choosing the right set can save you money every time you fill up.
You can look after your tyres by checking air pressure, treads regularly, getting wheel alignment and balancing done after every 5,000 km and rotation of tyres periodically.
Replacement of tyres
Driving on worn-out tyres is risky. It is recommended that the same load index, speed rating, tread pattern and size of tyres that are part of the original fitment be adhered to whenever replacement needs to be done. Happy motoring!
Evolution of tyres
- US-based Goodyear Tyre Company — named after vulcanisation pioneer Charles Goodyear — developed the tubeless tyre in 1947. Tubeless tyres have continuous ribs moulded integrally into the bead of the tyre so that these are forced by the pressure of the air inside the tyre to seal with the flanges of the metal rim of the wheel.
- French tyre major Michelin designed, developed, patented, and commercialised radial tyre in 1946.
- In the radial tyres, the cord plies are arranged at 90 degrees to the direction of travel, or radially from the centre of the tyre.
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