Take a look at the pride and joy parked in your driveway.
Do you stay loyal to this original ‘love match’ that the manufacturer bestowed their blessing to achieve the ideal ride?
When shopping around for tyres, you’re likely to come across the letters ‘OE’ – which are not one of those fancy Order of Australia titles some people have next to their names, but rather stand for ‘original equipment’. Put simply, OE tyres are those that a vehicle was originally equipped with at the factory.
Russel Stewart, National Marketing Manager at Bob Jane T-Marts explains that carmakers work with tyre manufacturers to select or develop tyres that complement the design and purpose of the vehicle.
For example, luxury carmakers seek tyres that will provide a smooth, quiet ride, while sports car tyres are chosen for dynamic handling and sportiness. Whatever the drive style, safety will always be the underlying goal through technology improvements.
“Tyres are painstakingly researched and tested to be compatible with the particular vehicle’s level of performance as well as its safety features, such as autonomous braking and electronic stability control, and fuel efficiency and more,” he said.
Specific vehicles can have several OE tyres across multiple brands – no tyre monogamy necessary – but many of the well-known high-end carmakers work with tyre manufacturers to create fitments that are highly recommended for specific models in their model range.
“Companies such as Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Tesla and Volvo have manufacturer ‘marked’ tyres, with engineering approval for their cars, recommended as the preferred replacement on their vehicles where applicable. More details on what these markings are can be found in more detail on our website,” Russel explained.
“The distinctive features of marked tyres are often so subtle that the average consumer would struggle to tell the difference – outwardly, the tyres look identical and bear the same pattern name, speed symbol and load rating as a non-marked tyre. The differences are often deep beneath the surface, in the rubber compound or construction which have been refined to achieve the optimal driving performance the vehicle engineers intended.”
Moving from a marked to non-marked tyre often isn’t an issue for car owners, however, moving to a tyre that doesn’t align with your modern vehicle’s safety standards can be fraught. It’s recommended that you choose a reputable tyre brand that is continuously investing in its own R&D to keep pace with technology and advances in modern car manufacturing.
Go for the latest version of the suitable tyre brands and products as these will have the latest tech and improved features built into the manufacturing process and design.
If you’re buying a cheaper brand whose name you’ve never heard of, while the tyre might be black and round and ‘fit the bill’, the technology in their rubber compound or methods of manufacturing might be as much as 5 – 10 years behind modern tyre manufacturing processes from premium brands.
The relationship between your vehicle’s electronic safety systems and your car’s tyres cannot be understated. All of the latest safety tech can be made redundant when it relies on tyres that lag behind in sophistication by a decade or more – in fact, some private testing by a premium tyre brand identified that the difference between their patterns and cheaper variants could increase braking distance in standard ‘swerve and recover’ brake testing by up to two car lengths.
Another relevant example is a premium European manufacturer that went to great expense during a global staff training event and organised five brand new vehicles to be fitted with tyres that were 10 years old in pattern, compound and construction, as well as five ten-year-old vehicles from the same manufacturer to be fitted with the latest generation of the same pattern tyre.
“After driving the new cars on the old tyres, and the old cars on the new tyres, you’d swear that the older cars were not only better performing, but substantially more confident on the wet handling track and safer under wet braking,” recalls Russel while stating that tyres are still very much a grudge purchase for consumers, even though they’re one of the most important safety components of any car.
When in doubt speak to a reputable tyre retailer that stocks all the top brands and offers great pricing across the board.
“We’re trusting that most consumers understand that premium products will cost a little more, but the behind-the-scenes R&D to achieve enhanced safety and performance is worth the investment.”