• Car Tyre Upgrade Guide



    This is one of the most common modifications people do to their cars. After ICE i.e.

    Unfortunately, people dont know anything about tyres and assume numbers mean random things. They themselves assign certain meanings to it and insist that they are right, even when talking to a sales guy whose been selling tyres for 20 years.

    Let me explain the basics. I wont get into tyre ratings, etc for now.

    195/60 R 14.

    195 = Tyre width in mm. This is the amount of rubber that is in contact with the ground when the car is stationary.

    60 is the sidewall profile. It is a percentage of tyre width. In this case, the sidewall height is 60% of 195, which is 117mm.

    R = Radial tyre. Most people assume that R 14 means 14 inches radius of the tyre/rim. It's wrong. R is just a random alphabet used to indicate that this is a radial tyre. Crossply tyres generally have D.

    14 = Diameter of wheel/tyre in inches.

    So, 235/70R16 means a tyre which has a width of 235mm, sidewall height of 70% of 235 which is 164.5mm and is a radial tyre of diameter 16 inches.

    Now, your stock tyre is crap. This is true in 95% of vehicles sold in India. Especially if it's a Maruti or a Tata.

    To calculate your upsize, use this tyre size calculator.
    http://www.carbibles.com/tyre_bible_pg2.html

    Now, while upsizing, there are some things you need to keep in mind.

    Too low a profile will give you a very hard ride. So, 195/60 R15 is more comfortable on Indian roads than 205/55 R15. It's simple. Whichever tyre size has a higher sidewall is better for comfort.

    Theoretically, on the race track, lower profile tyres, which are horrible on the roads, are better. So, 205/55 R15 is better than 195/60 R15. However, this doesnt make much difference on the roads.

    Some info and my opinion on the tyres which I will be naming below.

    Michelin: One of the top manufacturers in tyres. They are currently #2 in the worldwide list of tyre manufacturers. Bridgestone is #1. These two keep exchanging positions every now and then. Michelin is a premium brand and they charge you for it. When you buy a Michelin tyre, you dont just pay for the tyre, you pay for those 8 characters. Michelin is the family name of the guy who started this company. Heavily into motorsports and invest a lot in R&D. More importantly, I like the way they treat Indians. They give us updated products. No dumping as such. Of course, there is a certain delay between them releasing the tyres abroad and bringing it to India, but it's acceptable. The Primacy LC for example. It's a brand new tyre and was released in India just a couple of months after they released it elsewhere in Asia.

    They have a different range for Europe/America and for Asia. So, PP2s, XM1+, etc.... will be found only in this side of the globe. The high end stuff like PS2, etc are similar I think.

    They are prone to dumping old tyres sometimes. PP2s especially. By old, I mean the Date of manufacture.

    XM1+: This is their entry level tyre in India. Earlier, they had the XM1 which was a major PR disaster for them as they did not work well in Indian conditions. The life of the tyre was extremely short. The XM1+ is basically an XM1 with 10mm extra tread. This is a very good budget tyre(budget, by Michelin standards.) Good grip in wet, extremely comfortable and silent. Pretty robust as well. The tyre can take a lot of abuse. A little expensive compared to the competition. It is marketed also as a tyre with low rolling resistance which results in lower fuel consumption. This is true, but it doesnt make much of a difference in real world traffic and city conditions if you ask me.

    Primacy LC: LC stands for Luxury Comfort. It's a tyre aimed at the high end of the market. Towards people who want a comfortable, silent tyre for long distance highway driving. It lives up to it's name. It is very comfortable and silent. It is also a low rolling resistance tyre. Good at wet braking. However, the handling could be better. It's still more than enough for 99% of Indian cars, but the steering feel isnt as great as a CPC2 or something.

    Pilot Preceda 2: Sport tyre. Noisier than most other Michelin tyres. But extremely good in the wet and the dry. Highly recommended. Only drawback is the high price.

    LTX and LTX 2: SUV tyres. Good on and off the road. Expensive. Pretty robust also.

    Latitude Tour HP: Mainly on road tyres but can do well off road as well. Silent. More expensive than the LTX, but available in only a few sizes(X Trail, Tucson, CRV, etc)

    Yokohama: A relatively small company compared to the biggies like Michelin, BS, Conti, etc, but have developed a name for making high performance tyres at low prices. Especially popular in Asia and in India's grey market until they officially entered about two and a half years ago. They are also into motorsports. Another company which I like because they bring in their current range. However, the real test lies ahead for them. The AD08s. I'm waiting to see how much they delay launching that tyre in India. Their tyres are quite good VFM.

    A Drives: Their low end budget tyre. Good all rounder tyre. Doesnt really excel at any particular aspect. Pretty cheap in most sizes when you compare it to Michelin. In fact, it compares well even with some Indian manufacturers.

    A539: Part of the A drive series. This is available only in 12 and 13 inches. Has an unusual pattern which is popular.

    S Drives: Their performance tyre. Not as hardcore as the Advan Neovas. They are well priced in India. I would rate them below the PP2s but in the wet, I would say they are almost equal. They are soft tyres so need a little care on Indian roads.

    Advan Neovas AD07s: Their ultimate tyre. Hard, noisy but grippy as hell. Remember that stubborn chewing gum stuck to the sole of your shoe which just wouldnt come off? The AD07 is probably as sticky as that when a little warm.

    Advan Sport: Available only in 17" and above in India. Not as grippy as the Ad07 but much more silent and comfortable. It's like a less hardcore version of the AD07.

    Yokohama AVS dB V550: A silent tyre. Meant for big vehicles which are chauffeur driven and cruise on the highways at 80-100 kmph. Comfortable, silent but not too grippy in the wet(reports from the web).

    Geolandars A/T: Extremely good on-road tyres and do well off road. With A/T tyres like these, you dont need H/T! Silent, grippy and comfortable. Well priced as well.

    Apollo: It's an Indian company which has been in the business for ages. But it has always made basic tubetype radials and truck tyre. A few years ago, they had a tie up with Michelin which resulted in Michelin-Apollo India Pvt LTD or something and then things changed. Apollo's R&D dept learnt a lot and put that knowledge to good use. I appreciate and like this company for being the first(and till now, only) Indian company to take the fight in tubeless radials to the phirangs. The Acelere is a very good tyre and symbolises the turn around this company has made in the high end of the market. In the low end, they still have their Amazer range which sells well and is extremely suitable for our taxis and our roads. Recently, they have also got into the alloy wheels business. They arent manufacturing them but importing them. The manufacturer is YHI fo Singapore who are famous for making alloys for Yokohama(yes, you read that right), BBs, Oz, Enkei, etc...

    Acelere: Their premium car tyre. Extremely well priced, good grip in wet and dry, silent and comfortable.

    Acelere Sports: Dont know much about this, but it is marketed as a higher end model compared to the Acelere.

    Aspire: Available in only one size. 225/45 R17. Practically vapourware.

    Bridgestone: Japanese company, currently largest tyre manufacturer in the world. Has some amazing tyres in their line-up. Relatively new company compared to Michelin and Goodyear but quite active in motor sports, especially F1. Their low end tyres(the S322 S245, etc) in India are good for the common man. Last long, few punctures, no grip and no comfort and noisy. I hate this company in India. They dump old products on us. And we dumbasses buy them. While the other companies are bringing in modern tyres, this company continues to dump tyres which they stopped selling in other markets years ago. Today, BS's top end tyre is the Potenza RE050 Pole Position. Here, it is the Potenza GIII. They have just brought the dies or whatever they use to manufacture tyres from other countries and are minting money out of it. They also supply tyres to Nissan(Xtrail) and Honda(CRV) directly, but in the replacement market, there are no BS tyres available. Knowing the Indian consumer's penchant for "Original tyre", they dump 2-3 year old tyres in the market and people buy them because they got Bridgestone with the vehicle and they want bridgestone again. Most of these replacement tyres are not even the same pattern. These are patterns that have never been launched in India.

    I know it's foolish to blame only BS. The Indians are at fault too. For buying such crappy tyres. But Michelin and Yoko dont really exploit the customers like this. This is why, for the enthusiast who knows a little about tyres, I try not to recommend Bridgestone. At least you people who are more knowledgeable should boycott the company!(I cant join in. Sorry! ).

    Turanza ER 60: Decent tyre. Like the A Drive. Nothing great, but a decent all rounder.

    Dueler H/T: OEM tyre. It's not even that cheap. So, no point ibn buying it.

    Potenza GIII: Decent tyre, but the game has moved on. The only plus point I can think of is that it lasts reasonably long.

    Let's get into upsizing for individual vehicles now. Whatever options I give are the correct upsize options. Apart from what I've listed below, there are many many many more options. Some of them would be the wrong upsize, but the only drawback of that would be a speedo error and a bad ride(or in some cases, an improved ride).

    Maruti

    1) Swift: A very popular car. Comes with 165/80R14 tyres on the L/V(xi/di) models and 185/70R14 on the Z(di/xi) models. Both come on JKs. The 165/80 R14 is a JK Tornado and the 185/70R14 is a JK Vectra. The Vectra is marginally better, but I wouldnt recommend either.

    This is applicable to Ritz, A Star, butt-ugly(pun intended) also.

    Options:

    Stick to 14": 185/70R14
    Michelin XM1+: Extremely comfortable and silent tyre. Good grip in wet as well. Average grip in dry. A little expensive compared to the competition.
    Yokohama A Drive: Valeu For Money. A good all rounder. Decent comfort, decent grip and not too noisy.
    Bridgestone Turanza ER 60: Decent tyre. Very similar to A Drive. Doesnt excel in any one aspect.
    Apollo Acelere: Same as the two above. Doesnt excel as such in anything, but decent at everything.

    All the above tyres will last anywhere between 45-55 thousand kms depending on driving style, roads and maintainence.

    Bridgestone Potenza GIII: Performance tyre. Very noisy, but better grip in dry and wet. Lasts long. Hard rubber, outdated tyre. Has been withdrawn in all other markets but BS continues to dump this in India.

    195/65R14: Only option is Yoko A drive. And not recommended if you have steel wheels. Frankly, the 185/70R14 is a better option. You have a lot of choices and you dont need 195 section tyres on a Swift.

    195/60R14 is a wrong upsize and the ride quality is pretty bad, but the only reason for going for this size is if you want Advan Neovas for your car. Anup's Swift has this and so does Kartik's(who by the way is totally MIA. Hasnt even signed up here).


    15" : 195/60R15

    Sweet spot for the Swift. Lots of options and gives decent grip with reasonable comfort. Unless you have a madly modded Swift, you dont need to go beyond 195 section tyres.

    1). Michelin Primacy LC: Expensive, but supremely comfortable and silent tyre. Grip is so-so. Wet braking is decent.
    2). Continental ContiPremiumContact2. Good VFM when you consider the tyre with respect to the Primacy LC. Extremely good performance in the wet. Comfortable. Decent grip in the dry. A little noisy.
    3). Yoko A Drive and BS ER 60: Both of these are totally outclassed by the above two tyres and their price is a little less than the Conti. Go for this only if you are on a really tight budget.
    4). Yokohama ES 100: Decent tyre. A little noisy. Good grip in wet and dry.
    If you want an outright comfort tyre, the Michelin Primacy LC it is. Otherwise, the CPC2. Unless you work for either BS or Yoko. I honestly dont see any reason for BS and Yoko to sell in this size(except for the Es100)
    5). BFG GeForce Sport: Good grip in wet and dry. It looks good. Quite noisy and hard ride.

    205/55 R15

    Go for this size only if you want the "fat tyre look". It's quite pointless unless you push your car like crazy(a certain LPG Swift comes to mind )
    1). Yokohama S Drive: Good in the dry and wet. A little noisy. Good VFM as well compared to the competition. Some lamers(j/k) will crib about these tyres, but these are good tyres. Very soft compound tyres, so you need to take a little extra care on bad roads.
    2). Yokohama Advan Neovas: Extremely expensive. The BEST road tyre currently available in India. Noisy, hard ride, but if you have a Swift which is used as a test bed for one of the best tuner's in India(referring to one Doc from Malluland ), then you absolutely need to reward yourself and your car with these tyres.
    3). Michelin PP2. Expensive but very good tyres. Relatively comfy, relatively silent and superb in the wet. Extremely good in the dry as well.
    4) Conti CPC2: Same as before. VFM in this category.
    5). Bridgestone GIII: Long life is probably the only plus point. Totally outclassed by the competition in every other respect.

    FIAT


    Linea: Comes only with 195/60R15. Will recommend tyres soon.
    Punto: Comes with 165/80R14(low end version) or 195/60R15 for the top end version.

    165/80R14 is the JK Tornado. The 195/60R15 is the Goodyear GT3. The GY GT3 is an ok tyre. Cheap, hard, noisy. But in this size, I say it makes sense to spend a little more and get the Michelin Primacy LC. For the kind of power these cars develop, the Michelin is enough. If you dont want to spend so much, then the Conti CPC2. Look at 195/60R15 from Swift to see all options.

    The base Punto's 165/80 R14 can be upsized to 185/70R14. Scroll up to see options.

    Palio: The diesel palios came with 13" tyres. 165/80R13 I think. You can get 185/70R13 in XM1+ or in Yoko A Drive. Makes a lot of sense and is totally worth it.

    The 1.6 Palios came with 175/65 R14 tyres. You can upsize to 185/65 R14 or 195/60R14.

    185/65 R14:

    XM1+, A drive, Continental ContiEcoContact3, Acelere. My pick is the Michelin but if are tight on budget, there is a massive difference in cost between the Apollo and the Michelin and the Acelere wins due to it's VFM quotient.

    195/60R14: This is my preferred tyre for a car with 100 bhp. Get the 195/60R14 Conti CPC2. If you want more grip, get the Advan Neovas
    The Michelin XM1+ doesnt make sense in 195/60R14 due to it's price. It's a lower end tyre (compared to the CPC2) and priced higher!

    Adventure: Comes with 195/70R14. Get the XM1+. A drives, ER60s, Goodyear Assurances and Apollo Aceleres are also available.

    HONDA


    ANHC and Jazz: Both come with 175/65 R15 tyres. Goodyear, MRF and Michelin are OEM suppliers. If you book yiour car, ask the dealer to give you your car with the Michelins. Even if you know you are going to change the tyres within minutes of taking delivery of the car, get the Michelins. You will get a better price for those tyres than you would for the GYs or the MRFs. The MRFs are MRF ZVTV. They dont mean anything. The name is just a random collection of alphabets picked out of a scrabble bag. The Goodyears are GPS2s. Pretty much the worst tyres available. Worse than most MRFs, JKs, etc.... They develop wobbling problems after 10-15 thousand kms and no amount of balancing will solve the problem. Highly susceptible to uneven wear. Dont get these tyres even if you are getting them free.

    Upsize options: You have 185/65 R15. This is a size introduced only recently. You have few options. Michelin XM1+. That is pretty much it.

    185/60R15. Totally useless upgrade. You get the Acelere in this size.


    195/60R15:

    Best possible upsize. Good ride comfort and decent grip as well. The ANHC is pretty powerful and so, I will recommend the CPC2s or the ES100s(for the enthusiastic driver). If you are the uncle types(not the Elantra Uncles... they are crazy! ), then the Primacy LC would be very good as well.

    205/55 R15: If you want a wider than 195 tyre. Look above for options.

    Civic: Stock size is 195/65 R15. Comes with Goodyear Eagle NCT5 or Bridgestone B250 or Michelin XM1+. As usual, ask for the Michelins. The NCT5s are bad. They are noisy and have very low grip. You can feel them sliding even at 70kmph.

    You really dont need to upsize if you ask me. Just get better tyres in the same size.

    Michelin Primacy LC: It is worth an upgrade from the GYs and the BS. If you get the XM!+, then let them wear out, unless you plan on pushing your car and want some grippy rubber.
    Conti CPC2: Again, highly recommended from my side. Especially for wet driving.
    Yoko A drive: Not against this competition
    Yoko V550: Yokohama AVS dB Decibel. Very silent tyre, but people on the interweb report that it has very bad wet grip. It is supposed to be awesome for cruising though. Comfortable and silent.

    205/60R15:
    Michelin PP2 --- My pick. Fantastic tyre, but pricey.
    Conti CPC2--- After the PP2, this is second best.
    Yokohama AVS dB V550.
    Bridgestone GIII.

    You can also go for 205/65 R15. For more options, look down under Innova.

    TOYOTA

    Corolla Altis: Stock tyre is 195/65 R15 Bridgestone Turanza ER 300. Decent tyre. No point in changing unless you are going for a high performance tyre like 205/60 R15 PP2.

    For options, look at Honda Civic. Both come with identical tyre size.

    I'm not sure that you can fit 205/65 R15 on this car though. If you can, you have some options. Look under Innova below.

    Innova: Comes mostly with Goodyear GT3 or Bridgestone B390 in 205/65 R15. If you are using it as your personal vehicle, then it makes sense to change the tyres.

    I would totally recommend the Michelin Primacy LC. It's a good tyre for this vehicle. CPC2 is also a good option but a little noisier and less comfortable. You also have the Yoko V550 and A drive. Acelere is also available.

    Only decent upsize option is 225/60 R15.
    Yokohama C drive. Excellent tyre. Good grip, good comfort and pretty silent.
    Continental CPC2
    BFG GeForce Sport: Good tyre. Grippy. Hard sidewall and quite noisy.
    Michelin Primacy LC


    Hyundai


    Santro: Stock size is 155/70 R13. Dont upsize on stock steel rims. Not recommended. If you get 13" alloys, you can go for a wide variety of tyres.

    165/65 R13: This is also the stock size for Indica.

    Michelin XM1+, A Drive, ER 60, ContiEcoContact3, Acelere.

    175/60R13: Yoko A 539, BS GIII, Apollo Acelere
    The Yoko A 539 has an unusual pattern and is supposed to be somewhat grippier than the normal A Drive. It basically sells on it's looks.

    185/60R13: A 539 and Apollo Acelere.

    If you go to 14", you can go in for 185/55 R14 Yoko S Drives. This is pretty much the biggest size you can fit on this car.

    i10: Stock size is 155/80R13. The only good thing about this is, you can fit a slightly higher profile tyre to this car compared to the Santro. As with the Santro, you cannot think of upsizing on the stock steel rims. If you do want to upsize, you need alloys. In 13" or 14".

    13" . Best option is 175/70 R13. Lots of options.
    XM1+, ContiEcoContact3, ER 60, A Drive, Acelere.

    14". You can go in for 175/65 R14 or 185/60 R14.

    In 175/65R14, you have Michelin XM1+, A drives, ER 60, Aceleres.
    In 185/60R14, you have the above and you also have BS GIII, the Yokohama ER100 and the PP2(but god knows when it will be in stock in our country).

    15". You can go 15" as well on the i10! You can go in for 195/50 R15. Yoko S drives, Michelin PP2s.

    i20: Stock size is 185/65 R14. They almost always come with Apollo Aceleres. Very good OEM tyre. to Hyundai India for giving good quality tyres on their cars. Mercedes should learn. Their E Class(old) used to come with Goodyear NCT5s :sick:

    I would suggest you stick to OEM tyres unless you want fatter tyres or some hardcore rubber. In that case, 195/60R14 would be your best bet. Conti CPC2 and the Advan Neovas are the only worthwhile upgrades.

    15". 195/55 R15:

    Yoko S drives, AD07s, BS GIII, BFG GeForce Sport, Aceleres.

    Getz: Stock size is 175/65 R14. It is mostly Goodyear GPS2. Some lower end models come with 175/70R13. Goodyear GPS2.

    13". You can get 185/70R13 Michelin XM1+, Aceleres or Yoko A drive. Worthwhile upgrade. Even if you stick to stock size and change the tyre, it makes sense.

    14". 185/65 R14. Best size if you have steel wheels.
    XM1+, Aceleres, A drives.

    195/60R14: Recommended only if you have alloys(you.... yes YOU. You know who you are. I'm talking about you only).

    CPC2, AD07s, Aceleres.

    15" 195/55 R15:
    Yoko S drives, AD07s, BS GIII, BFG GeForce Sport, Aceleres.


    Mitusbishi


    Cedia: Stock size is 195/60 R15. Comes with Potenza RE88s. Not great tyres. They grip somewhat well in the wet for sure. Dry grip is very average. Noisy as hell and hard.

    205/55 R15 is a good upsize. Options are S drives, AD07s, PP2s, CPC2s.

    205/60R15 is also a good size. The error is less than the 2% threshold. You get PP2s and CPC2s in 205/60R15. This size gives you a little extra ground clearance and a better ride quality.

    Ford:

    Ikon: Stock size is 175/70 R13. It comes with MRF ZVTS. The ZVTS is noisy, but reasonably comfortable. It is of course long lasting and very robust. This is generally a tubetype tyre. If you need to change, then you can go in for XM1+, A drive, ER 60, Acelere of the same size.

    If you upsize to 14", then you can go in for 175/65 R14, though why someone would do that is beyond belief. If you go to 14", then please get at least 185/60 R14. XM1+, ES100s, PP2s, Aceleres.

    For the Ikon, you cannot fit 195/60 R14. There will be some scraping on the inside of the wheel arch.

    Fiesta: Stock size is 175/65 R14 MRF ZV2K. You can go in for 185/65 R14 XM1+, Aceleres, A Drives, ER 60.

    If you have a 1.6 Petrol Fiesta, my recommendation is simple. 195/60 R14 Conti CPC2. A 100bhp car deserves more than the XM1+ if you are going to be driving enthusiastically. But if you want outright comfort, then, XM1+.

    Fusion: Stock size is 195/60R15. It is usually Goodyear GT3. You can fit 205/55 R15 or 205/60 R15. It will fit without any problems.

    This is the end for now.

    I know I've missed out on all the SUVs and some cars(Tata for one), but I'll continue this some other time.
    Have an opinion? Add your comments here: Car Tyre Upgrade Guide started by Nikhil View original post