Car Tyres | Kent, Berkshire & London | SMC Group
Book Your Tyres Online in 4 Simple Steps

Buy Tyres Online from SMC Group in Kent, Berkshire & London

When replacing your tyres, you need to choose the right ones for your vehicle and make sure they are suitable for the kind of driving you do and the number of miles you cover. Use our online tyre booking service to find out what you need in 4 simple steps.

Our comprehensive guide below on tyres and tyre buying answers many of our customers’ most frequent questions. We hope you find it useful – if you have a question not covered on this page, please get in touch with the expert team at your nearest SMC dealership.

Payment for your tyres will be taken once the fitting is complete.

Tyre FAQs

What’s the difference between budget and premium tyres?

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Budget tyres are significantly cheaper than the equivalent product from premium brands such as Pirelli – the price difference can be as much as £200 per tyre. Testing by independent body What Car? reveals that budget tyres perform worse in wet weather and that cars fitted with budget tyres have a greater stopping distance. Budget tyres may also wear faster and need replacing sooner than premium tyres.

What do the sidewall markings mean & How can I find out my tyre size?

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The numbers and letters on the sidewall of the tyre provide information about the type of tyre and what size it is, along with the maximum load index and speed index.

When replacing your car’s tyres you should match the size of the tyres fitted previously. To find out what size your current tyres are, you can use our tyre booking widget above or look for the label on the side of the tyre. The label will be a group of letters and numbers. For example, if the label is 215/60 R 16 91 V:

  • 215 is the width in millimetres
  • 60 is the tyre profile
  • R is the construction type
  • 16 is the wheel rim diameter in inches
  • 91 is the load index, indicating the maximum it can carry
  • V is the maximum speed rating

What is tyre labelling and what does it mean?

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As of November 2012, all tyres are labelled with key performance and safety information. Tyre labelling is designed to enable customers to easily compare tyres and make an informed decision about which product is safest and best for the environment. Each tyre label contains a rating for the tyre’s fuel efficiency, wet braking performance and exterior noise emission characteristics.

What is the minimum legal tread depth and why is it important?

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To meet legal requirements, all four tyres must have a tread depth of at least 1.6mm across the full width of the tyre.6

The tread depth must not fall below the legal limit of 1.6mm, which would mean that the tyre is too worn to perform properly. This causes safety issues such as increased stopping distance and poor grip in corners and on wet roads, increasing your risk of being in an accident.

What causes irregular wear?

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Having your tyres over-inflated can cause greater wear at the centre of the tyres and having them under-inflated can cause greater wear at the edges. Tyres must be inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure in order to prevent irregular wear. If the wheels are unbalanced or misaligned this can also cause irregular wear and these issues need to be fixed by a qualified technician.

How many miles can I get from my set of tyres?

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If you drive a front-wheel drive car and look after your tyres, you can expect to get 20,000 miles of use from front tyres and around 40,000 miles from rear tyres. Tyres degrade naturally with age, and this process is accelerated by exposure to severe weather. However, most tyres have to be replaced due to wear rather than age-related degradation.

How far/fast can I drive with a special ‘run flat’ tyre in a deflated condition?

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If your car is fitted with run-flat tyres and one of them gets a puncture, it should be capable of covering around 50 miles at speeds of up to 50mph in a deflated state. You should check your vehicle handbook for more precise guidance.

Do I need to fit winter tyres in the winter and how are they different to standard tyres?

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Specialist winter tyres are made from rubber with high silica content, meaning they remain flexible at low temperatures and provide good traction and braking performance on snow and ice. This increases performance and reduces wear during cold weather; however winter tyres perform poorly in summer so you should only fit them during winter. Winter tyres are not compulsory in the UK as icy weather and snow is relatively rare.

How often should my tyres be checked & what should I do when I check them?

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You should check your tyre pressure every two weeks, and before every long journey. At the same time you should monitor the tread depth of your tyres and look out for damage such as bulging or tears. If you are concerned about the health of your tyres you should book an appointment at your nearest SMC dealership to have your tyres checked by a technician.

You can check your tyre pressures for free using the gauge at any fuel station or garage, or you can buy a tyre pressure gauge to keep at home. When checking your tyres, make sure the pressure is in line with the recommended settings in your vehicle handbook. You should inspect the whole tyre thoroughly and measure the tread depth at various points over the whole width of the tyre.

Why is correct tyre pressure important & Where can I find the correct pressure for my tyres?

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Driving with your tyres inflated to the correct pressure is essential for safety and optimising your car’s fuel economy. Under-inflated tyres offer poor grip and handling and they also affect fuel consumption and braking performance. Over-inflated tyres reduce your car’s speed and performance. Either one can cause accelerated or irregular wear.

You can find this information in your vehicle handbook and on a sticker inside the fuel filler cap. There will be two numbers: one for normal driving and one that applies when your car is heavily laden with luggage or passengers.

What are the fines for driving with illegal tyres?

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If you are caught driving with tyres which do not meet legal requirements you could be fined up to £2,500 and be given three penalty points on your licence for each illegal tyre.

Which is the best axle to place new tyres on? Should I fit four new tyres at a time?

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It is usually a good idea to have the newest tyres fitted at the rear of the car, as this gives you better control in wet weather. That means that if your front tyres need replacing, you should move the rear tyres to the front and fit the new tyres to the rear axle.

It is generally recommended to replace all four tyres at once in order to optimise handling and braking performance. If it is not possible to replace all four tyres at the same time, you should fit two brand new tyres to the rear axle and put the older tyres at the front. This gives you better control in wet conditions and optimises handling and grip. You should only replace a single tyre as a last resort, or if you are fitting the spare tyre in an emergency in order to drive to a garage.

Do you have any further questions?

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We hope the information on this page proves useful for keeping your tyres in good health. If you have any further questions or would like to book an appointment to have your tyres checked or replaced, please contact your local SMC dealership. You can enquire via the website or phone us directly and a member of the team will be happy to assist you.