These days consumers have more product information available to them than ever before. Not only do we have a full breakdown of what went into its manufacture but we also have a slew of independent ratings available to us.
Our grandparents wouldn’t have dreamed that they could find out the energy efficiency of an appliance before they bought it, rather than checking their power bill over the years and going largely by their gut-feel.
Neither would they have imagined being told the health value of their food before it even made it into the trolley. It’s a new age of consumer enlightenment, so why should tyres miss out? The good news is that they haven’t.
American law has brought about the implementation of a tyre standard called the UTQG (Uniform Tire Quality Grading). Any tyre sold in the U.S. must comply by showing three ratings on its sidewall: Treadwear, Traction, and Temperature. A result of this legislation is that consumers in New Zealand get to benefit from this standard, with many SUV and car tyres bearing this information (light trucks and 4WDs are exempt).
The UTQG system works on the simple idea that ‘the bigger the better’ – the higher the score, the better the tyre. This has empowered tyre purchasers to be able to assess the value of each tyre according to an independent standard for themselves. We no longer have to rely solely on sales advice or just use price and brand as the main indicator of quality.
The treadwear grade tells how long a tyre will last. For example, a treadwear rating of 700 means it can be expected to have double the longevity of a tyre with a 350 score. This is a key piece of information to keep in mind when comparing prices. The life span of a tyre is probably the most important aspect of its value, along with grip.
Traction grades include AA, A, B, and C, with AA being the best performing in terms of grip. In wet conditions it is essential to be able to rely on your tyre’s ability to grip and maintain traction, the higher the traction grade, the shorter your stopping distance will be.
Heat resistance is an important component of tyre performance, and the temperature grade indicates a tyre’s resistance to heat generated on hot days over extended driving times. The grades are A, B, and C, with A meaning the tyre is most resistant to damage caused by heat: bursting, deterioration and tread separation.
How do Cooper tyres stack up?
Always compare the ratings of factory supplied tyres to the Cooper equivalent for the same make and model. Then crunch the numbers: all things considered, including price, tyre life and grip – which tyre brings you the greatest value, to bring you the best bang for your buck?