Thursday, 16 October 2014

Should you buy Winter Tyres?

Should You Buy Winter Tyres?

As winter draws nearer, with colder mornings and christmas merchandise strewn over shops already. Many of you will be wondering about whether or not to buy winter tyres, like me you're probably thinking will it snow, will we get any ice or will it just be cold.

However as we all know that trying to guess the British weather, is nigh on impossible with even taking what the news says to be a gamble.

Buy Winter Tyres OnlineGoing back to Winter Tyres, the actual name 'Winter Tyres' is slightly misleading as it implies that they are only to be used in the winter. However with our weather forever changing with low temperatures from September to April it would be more apt to call them 'Cold Weather Tyres' as that's exactly what they are meant for.

Let me explain a little further, Winter Tyres are designed to be at maximum performance at 7ÂșC or below. It doesn't matter what the weather, whether it's a sunny dry day or snowing blizzard, winter tyres are designed to perform in low temperatures. That's not to say that in higher temperatures they won't perform, they will but at 90% of their maximum.

The ability of Winter Tyres to perform in cold conditions compared to summer everyday tyres is the down to a specially formulated compound which allows the rubber not to harden once it gets cold, meaning when you're driving the levels of grip aren't compromised.

With this added safety winter tyres braking distance is greatly reduced. On ice travelling at 30 km/h stopping distance is 11m shorter, another 2 car lengths.

On snow the distance is 8m shorter driving at 50 km/h.

If you've decided to buy winter tyres, then like all tyres there is a plethora of options from budget to performance. Like all tyres generally the more you spend the better the tyres, however if you're on a budget any brand of winter tyre is better than a summer tyre in cold conditions. If you're on a budget I would go for Jinyu or Rotalla Winter Tyres, if however you want to go for the best, I would go for either the Continental TS850, Yokohama W Drive or Nokian WR Winter Tyres. Which I would recommend if you have a high powered car or 4x4.

So should you buy winter tyres? The short answer is yes. Most winter tyres will last you 4-8 winters, depending on how many miles you cover. I would change to winter tyres from the end of October and keep them on til April. If however you don't do many miles in the year, you could use your winter tyres all year round. The only down side is slightly less performance, but nothing that is noticeable.

In an ideal world you need to buy your winter tyres as soon as possible due to the limit stocks available. Especially if we have a cold icy winter.

Friday, 29 August 2014

New Tax Disc Rules Ins & Outs

We've all heard rumours about the change to Tax Discs but apart from that, not much else has been explained about what's exactly happening and if this will affect anything.

From October 2014 you will no longer have to display your tax disc in your windscreen.

So how will the police and DVLA check if I have paid my tax?

This will all be done electronically via your registration plate, from the numerous cameras dotted around the whole country.

How do I buy my Tax Disc?

Direct Debit will be a way to pay from October 1st as well as the usual pay online service where you can choose between paying annually, six monthly or monthly.

It will also affect when you buy or sell your vehicle

If you're selling your vehicle notify the DVLA and you will get a refund for the remaining months that you have paid.

If you're buying a vehicle you will need to buy the tax straight away.

Friday, 22 August 2014

When should you change the tyres on your car

One of the questions that we get asked about a lot is when should you change the tyres on your car.

The legal answer is that your tread should't be lower than 1.6mm, however the performance of a tyre starts to decrease once you get passed 3mm, making them dangerous to use. See below results for stopping distance in the wet at different tread depths.

Tread Depth       Stopping Distance
     7mm                      28m
     4mm                      33m
     2.5mm                   36m
     1.6mm                   43m
     1mm                      49m

From the results we can see that the distances taken to stop in the wet increase dramatically once the tread gets below 2.5mm. This creates an increased danger to both you and other road users. Which is why we recommend changing your tyres once they get to 3mm, especially in powerful vehicles.

There are quite a few gadgets on the market that can help you check the tread depth of your tyres. However there is a very simple way to check your tyres using a 20p piece, meaning there is no excuse no to check them regularly.

How to check your tyres using a 20p

Step 1 - Make sure your cars handbrake is engaged
Step 2 - Get out a 20p

Step 3 - Place your 20p in the tread grooves

Step 4 - If you can see the edge of the 20p, your tyres maybe illegal

Step 5 - This is what a full tread looks like

You can tell the huge difference in a worn and new tyres tread depth!

For a full tutorial visit our WikiHow page

What are you waiting for, go and check your tyres

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The EU Tyre Label - What Does It Mean?

Back in November 2012 the tyre industry quietly launched the EU Tyre Label, this label was designed to give customers more of an idea of what they were buying and the ability to compare tyres on more than the name, price and pattern design.

Since April 2014 it has been a legal requirement for tyres that were made during this month or later to come with an EU Tyre Rating. This is the biggest change that has happened to the tyre industry in over 2 decades. We look at the Ins and Outs of Tyre Labels and whether they will help you choose what tyres to buy. Check out the video Continental have done to explain the Labels.

Firstly lets look at what the label actually shows:

  1. Fuel Consumption
  2. Wet Grip
  3. Noise Level
Fuel Consumption:

Based on an A-G Rating
Shows the amount of energy lost when a tyre is rolling
The Lower the rolling resistance the less fuel is lost

Wet Grip:

Rated on an A-G scale
Measures the braking distance on wet roads
The higher the rating the shorter the braking

Noise Level:

Rated in Decibels and Waves
The higher the Wave the louder the noise
2 Waves is soon to be the limit on noise level

But Do The Ratings Really Make That Much Difference?

You might be thinking that the ratings won't make much difference, we take a look and find out.

Fuel Consumption:

A vs G - A rated tyres could save you over 6 litres of fuel compared to G rated ones over 625 miles. This does however depend on your driving style and conditions.

Wet Grip:

A vs G - Between each rating the distance increase by roughly 3 meters or 1 car length. So the difference between A and G is 18 meters or 4 Car Lengths. A huge difference.

So What Tyres Should I Buy?

Although some say that the EU Tyre Labels have made buying tyres easier due to the ability to see a distinct difference in each tyre, other argue that the Label doesn't go far enough and things like Wear, should be added to the label.

Here at Ears, we welcome any positive changes that make it easier to buy tyres, so we do endorse the tyre label as a good starting point on what tyres to buy.

If you're still comparing tyres and don't know which to buy, we would recommend going for which ever has the higher wet grip rating even if the fuel efficiency is low. As we'd rather be safe than save a few quid. 

Friday, 13 June 2014

Budget Tyres vs Premium Tyres

We have been asked many times about the quality of budget vs the price of premium tyres, for everything from a small car, Ford Fiesta to a big 4x4, Audi Q7. Below I will help you answer any questions you may have when buying new tyres.

Buying new tyres can be a confusing nightmare. With a huge selection to choose from, the decision can be mind boggling. Tyres are generally placed into 3 categories; Budget, Mid-Brand and Premium, but what gives you the best value for money, we take a look below to see what's what.

Budget Tyres

The key question for budget tyres is what is their overall value for money. Yes they may be cheap at the time but if they don't last as long or performance is sub standard will you need new tyres sooner rather than later. Ideally budget tyres are suited for slower speeds on B roads or for cars that do a lower annual mileage. Whilst they will still be a very safe tyre performance hasn't really been looked at due to the selling price. So if you just use your car as a run around for popping to the shops, the budget tyres could give you the ideal combination of price with performance.

Mid-Brand Tyres

Mid-Brand Tyres are middle of the market, slap bang between Budget and Premium Tyres. Often tyres in this section are manufactured by Premium Tyre companies and put under a different name, for example Continental make Semperit Tyres. What happens with Mid Brand tyres is that they use the technology from Premium tyres, maybe 3-6 months later than Premium Tyres use it. Ideally suited for general everyday use, with wear and fuel efficiency far outweighing that on budget tyres.

Premium Tyres

Premium Tyres are the ones everyone has heard of such as Pirelli, Michelin and Continental. Tyres in this category use the latest in tyre technology in all aspects of the tyre, Fuel Efficiency, Performance and Wear, meaning they will easily outperform cheaper tyres in 90% if not all areas. However they can be expensive, depending on the size you need. They're ideally suited to cars that cover a lot of miles or are regularly used at high speeds on motorways for example.

Still Don't Know What Tyres To Buy?

The EU have tried to make it easier when buying tyres, by introducing an 'EU Tyre Label'. This new label is similar to what white goods, such as Fridges have on them. The Tyre Label show the performance of the tyres ' Wet Grip, Fuel Efficiency and Decibel Levels'. Rated on A-G on both Wet Grip and Fuel Efficiency with A being the highest rating. These labels are on every tyre whether it's Budget, Mid Brand or Premium, so you can see exactly what performance you're going to get from each tyre.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Should You Buy Track Day Tyres?

With the increase in popularity for Track Day events, manufacturers have started making tyres specifically for everyday road driving and track days. Manufacturers including Yokohama, Toyo, Nankang and Federal now make a specific track tyre.

With these new breed of tyres becoming more readily available, we have noticed an increase in customer questions regarding using track day tyres on their vehicle.

Questions include:

  • Should i put track day tyres on my car?
  • What are they like on the road?
  • How long will they last?
  • What are they like in the rain?
These are all excellent questions to ask before you decide to buy any track day tyres. Below we aim to answer all these questions and more, to help you decide whether track day tyres are right for you.

Like road tyres all track day tyres have their differences, so for this review we are going to use Yokohamas AD08Rs as a guide.

What Are Track Day Tyres Like On The Road?

Firstly we will look at what track tyres are like on the road in the dry, as that's where most people will use them most. With performance the main feature of the tyres, noise levels have been slightly affected when compared with everyday road tyres, making them slightly nosier, but not so much that you would notice constantly. They also take slightly longer to warm up, i.e to get to their maximum performance, which is due to the compound that is used, but unless you want to thrash it around from the off you won't notice much difference. They also have the added benefit of giving you increased feedback from the road.

In the wet, track tyres have come a long way. They used to be a real pain to warm up and find any grip at all. They have however improved hugely since, with the AD08Rs being especially good for wet driving. Drivers do still need to be aware that they are performance tyres, so in a heavy rain downpour and deep lying water, care needs to be taken to avoid aquaplaning.

But what are they like for day to day driving i hear you ask. Well as shown above they are extremely capable of being used everyday, you just need to bear in mind that you understand their limitations in heavy and deep standing water. Apart from that they are an excellent tyre to use everyday.

Never Mind The Road What Are Like On The Track?

This is what Track Tyres were made for, pure performance on the track. Dry grip is superb, handling hits the max and braking is astounding. Using track day tyres compared to everyday road tyres, makes the difference between a quick and slow lap time. With standard tyres you will feel the car moving around, harder to control, braking a finer art and the sweat dripping of you as you battle for control. With the Track Day Tyres your lap time will increase, grip is huge, you'll get feedback from every corner, you'll feel like being in a go kart and most importantly of you'll have more fun. 

They also allow you to work on your skills as a driver, give your car increased stability and fill you with confidence of how far your car can perform. 

How Long Will Track Day Tyres Last?

Like all tyres it is impossible to give a specific time period for how long they will last. As things such as how you drive, weather conditions and how often you drive can all affect how long your tyres will last. On estimations a likely milage of between 10,000 and 20,000 miles gives a good idea of durability, which is mainly in thanks to the latest tread compound used.

Are Track Tyres Right For Me?

In short, Yes. If you are thinking of blasting round at track days and want a tyre that you can just rock up and go straight from road to the track you can't go wrong with track day tyres. We rate track day tyres so much that we have them on our own cars.

If you need any more information or have any other questions regarding any of our products don't hesitate to get in touch with one of our experts. You can contact us via email on, phone on 01625 433773 or via our website at .

Check out some independent reviews for track day tyres below:

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Ears Welcomes Blogger

From a recent update of our website, we have decided to update the rest of our brand to bring it back to where it once was.
In this era of new technology, we are going to fully utilise a select few at first, including Blogger, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter & Instagram, to bring you the latest news, views and interests direct to you.
We're looking to show you a range of videos from in race karting footage to the kind of cars we deal with. As well as being on hand to answer any questions or queries you have about any products from tyres to helmets, harnesses to seats.
If there is anything you would like to see on any of our accounts, just let us know and we accommodate your requests.

Thanks for reading.

The Ears Team