Cheap van tyre buying advice

Looking for cheap van tyres? This Honest John Vans guide will help you find the van tyres you need for the best price.

Choosing the right tyre for your van

Many drivers will stick with the basic tyre recommendation from the van manufacturer. And on the face of it there is nothing wrong with this - after all vanmakers know their vehicles and should have a pretty good idea when it comes to deciding which tyre is best. 

However, while opting for the default option is a quick and easy solution, it might leave you at a disadvantage when it comes to the tyre's performance and expected lifespan. 

"Details such as the average payload, travelling distance, conditions and terrain are all factors that should be considered. For example, an extra heavy-duty sidewall construction will be suited for those with a high payload, while the weather can be a huge influence for van owners that need to be on-the-road all-year-round," says Andrew Reitzner, tyre brand manager at Maxxis Tyres. 

"Investing in an all-season tyre can be a smart move for those looking to strike the ideal balance between wet and dry-weather performance. These tyres include features such as high density sipes, tougher sidewalls and an advanced tread compound to ensure a strong performance in a variety of conditions."

Van tyre labels and load weight ratings

Understanding labels and load ratings will make it easier to find the best tyre for your van. Indeed, look at the sidewall of a tyre and you'll see a series of numbers and letters. This code shows the size, speed rating and load index.

Tyre label: 215/60 R17 109 C

What is actually means:

215 - width from sidewall to sidewall (215mm).

60  - height ratio (60 per cent of the tyre’s width).

R - indicates it is a radial tyre (cords positioned at 90 degrees to direction of travel to increase strength).

17 - diameter of the inner rim of tyre and the size of the wheel (17-inches) that the tyre can be fitted to.

109 - load rating (in this case 1030kg). 

- speed rating (C indicates it is designed for commercial vehicle use and lower speeds).

Load Index

The load Index shows the tyre's maximum load weight when inflated to the recommended pressure. The chart (as seen below) starts at 265kg with a rating of 62 and increases to 1700kg when the tyre has a maximum rating of 126. 

"Twinned tyres may have a dual load index 113/110," says Brian Porteous, technical manager at Michelin. "Such tyres will carry the higher load in single formation and the lower load in twinned formation. Tyres must have sufficient load capacity to carry the laden axle weights of your vehicle. 

"Check the plate on your vehicle and check the tyre capacity. Do not be confused by the writing on some tyres which says xxxkg at xxxpsi - this is for the American market and may not be the information you need for your vehicle."

Load Index Max load (KG)
62  265 
63 272
64 280
65 290
66 300
67  307
68  315
69  325 
70  335
71  345 
72  355 
73 365 
74  375 
75  387 
76  400 
77  412
78  425 
79  437 
80  450 
81  462 
82  475 
83  487
84 500 
85  515 
86  530 
87  545 
88  560 
89  580 
90  600 
91  615
92  630 
93  650
94  670 
95  690 
96  710 
97  730 
98  750 
99  775 
100  800 
101  825
102 850
103  875 
104 900
105  925 
106 950 
107 975 
108  1000 
109  1030 
110  1060 
111  1090 
112  1120 
113 1150 
114  1180 
115  1215 
116 1250 
117  1285 
118  1320 
119  1360 
120  1400 
121  1450 
122  1500 
123  1550 
124  1600 
125  1650 
126  1700 

Can I fit larger wheels and tyres to my van?

Yes, but only within the van manufacturer’s official guidelines. Some drivers will fit larger wheels to improve the all-road handling of their van, while others will simply do so to improve the aesthetic look of their vehicle by swapping steel wheels with alloys. Whatever the reason for upsizing, it’s important to note that the van’s fuel economy and ride comfort may suffer.

Changing the wheel size may require the van's speedometer and electronic safety systems to be recalibrated, while some insurers will increase the premiums to reflect the additional cost of the new wheels and tyres.

Never change your van’s wheel size without consulting with a qualified specialist beforehand. Not only could it adversely affect the suspension and steering characteristics of the vehicle, but it may also impede its braking performance.

How can I get cheap van tyres?

It has never been easier to buy tyres for your van, with the established high street names competing with online retailers and mobile tyre fitters for your hard earned cash.

KwikFit*, ATSEuromaster*, Halfords Autocentres and National Tyres* can all be found online and some will arrange for the tyres to be fitted at your home or workplace.

In addition, there are online-only tyre retailers who can either deliver the tyres to an address of your choice for fitment elsewhere or also quote for a mobile fitment service. Retailers such as Blackcircles.com*, Tyre-shopper.co.uk and Tyresonthedrive.com* all offer a wide choice of tyres and fitment options.

If you want to compare lots of tyre and fitting costs then Motokiki.com* might work better for you. It's been built by some of the people who originally set up Confused.com and compares prices from a wide range of tyre suppliers and manufacturers.

ATS EuroMasterDownload (7)

 

Typical fitted prices at ATS EuroMaster

Tyre Size

Avon Tyres AV12 

BFGoodrich Activan 

Tigar Cargo Speed 

195/70 R15 104

£72.99*

£74.49*

£58.99*

205/65 R16 107

£89.99*

£99.49*

£68.99*

205/75 R16 113

£94.49*

£100.49*

N/A

215/65 R16 109

£93.49*

£101.79*

£71.99*

BlackcirclesDownload (11)

Typical fitted tyre prices at Blackcircles

Tyre Size

Avon Tyres AV11 

Dunlop SP LT Econodrive

Continental Van Contact 200

195/70 R15 99

£68.53*

£71.83*

£76.49*

205/65 R16 99

N/A

N/A

£87.85*

205/75 R16 113

£96.31*

£104.04*

£106.74*

215/65 R16 109

N/A

N/A

N/A

Halfords AutocentreImages (3)

Typical fitted prices at Halfords Autocentre

Tyre Size

Dunlop Econodrive

Firestone Vanhawk 2

Michelin Agilis+ 

195/70 R15 104

£74.99

£70.99

£87.99

205/65 R16 107

£110.99

£90.99

£125.99

205/75 R16 113

£103.99

£94.99

£120.99

215/65 R16 109

N/A

£96.99

£125.99

KwikfitDownload (10) (1)

Typical fitted prices at Kwikfit

Tyre Size

Hankook RA18 Vantra LT

Michelin Aglis+

Pirelli Carrier 

195/70 R15 104

£74.00*

£86.50*

£80.00*

205/65 R16 107

N/A

£124.00*

N/A

205/75 R16 113

£109.50*

N/A

N/A

215/65 R16 109

£108.50*

£124.00*

N/A

MotokikiUntitled -1_150x 45

Typical fitted prices at Motokiki

Tyre Size

Firestone Van Hawk2

Michelin Aglis CrossClimate

Pirelli Carrier 

195/70 R15 104

£69.33*

£88.75*

N/A

205/65 R16 107

£88.99*

£123.62*

£101.90*

205/75 R16 113

N/A

N/A

N/A

215/65 R16 109

£101.95*

£125.63*

£105.04*

National TyresDownload (10) (2)

Typical fitted prices at National Tyres

Tyre Size

Avon AV12

Continental Vanco 2

Michelin Agilis+ 

195/70 R15 104

£65.73*

£83.48*

£88.39*

205/65 R16 107

£90.74*

£108.61*

£127.09*

205/75 R16 113

£94.65*

N/A

£123.07*

215/65 R16 109

£86.35*

£124.00*

£127.53*

Do I need winter tyres?

Drivers who travel to rural or remote locations on a regular basis may want to consider upgrading to winter tyres, which improve vehicle handling in cold conditions and reduce stopping distances on slippery roads.

The rubber compound on a standard tyre tends to harden when the temperature drops below 7°C, which reduces grip. A winter tyre will remain supple at lower temperatures to improve handling, while additional grooves in the tread will generate more heat and disperse slush and water more quickly.

You should always fit winter tyres as a set of four. While you might think they will only work on the driven wheels, using only two cold weather tyres can destabilise your van in difficult conditions

Winter tyres do not wear out any faster or slower than standard tyres, but some businesses tend to replace the winter wheels in the spring and store them before they’re needed again in the autumn.

Important: Always speak with your insurance provider before using winter tyres on your van. Most insurers are happy for winter tyres to be fitted to the vehicle, as long as it’s according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, but some may try to charge an additional fee for adjusting the policy document.

Can I get a puncture repaired?

Punctures are common for van drivers, with a loose nail or lump of building site material piercing the tyre and allowing air to escape. A slow puncture may be difficult to spot, with the tyre looking relatively healthy from a distance, but the internal tyre damage may increase the risk of a blowout. That’s why it is important to get into the habit of making weekly vehicle checks.

Most tyre suppliers will offer some form of repair service. Some firms will provide a mobile service that will come to your home or workplace, while others will insist on the vehicle visiting their workshop. Most firms will quickly identify the puncture and look to plug it with fresh rubber before re-inflating the tyre.

Don’t be shocked or offended if the firm tries to sell you a completely new tyre - the laws that govern tyre repairs is strict and a repair can only be carried out if the puncture is within the centre three-quarters of the tread. And even then, the damage may be deemed too significant to rectify.

How much does a tyre repair cost?

Most companies that offer a tyre repair generally do so for a fixed cost regardless of the tyre size, but it is always worth shopping around to check prices nearby. The prices below are shown as a guide and may vary depending on the nature of the repair and if it is a mobile or on-site service. 

195/65 R 15

Repair price

National Tyres

£25*

Kwik Fit

£23.50*

Tyresonthedrive.com (mobile)

£45*

Halfords Auto Centre

£25

ATS Euromaster

£26*

 

 

Tyre maintenance advice

Van tyres are tough but they can still develop damage from running on harsh surfaces. Look out for bruises, scuff marks and cuts. Any deformation on the sidewall or circumference should be investigated by a qualified specialist and as it may indicate serious internal damage to the tyre. 

"Remember to look all around the tyre tread and on both sidewalls. The inner sidewall is just as vulnerable to damage against kerbs, rocks and building rubble and the sides of ruts," says Michelin’s Brian Porteous.

"Develop a feel for vibration, pull and tyre noise when you are driving and use these signs as an early warning that something may be wrong."

"Develop a feel for vibration, pull and tyre noise when you are driving and use these signs as an early warning that something may be wrong.

"Wheels can be damaged by impacts and abnormal loading, so check those too for scratches, cracks and deformation.  If you have been on site or off road, always check tyres before returning to the road."

Van drivers should also pay attention to tread depths. Simply leaving a check to your next MoT date may risk substantial problems developing in the meantime, particularly if the tread is close to the minimum depth of 1.6mm.

"Most modern tyres will now include an inbuilt tread depth indicator, which is next to the central rib on the tread," says Andrew Reitzner at Maxxis Tyres. "If the adjacent rib is worn down to a point where it is level with the indicator, the tyre will need to be immediately inspected and replaced. This simple yet crucial check should be completed regularly to ensure van tyres are both safe and road legal.

"Carrying out regular pressure and visual checks is the easiest way to check for any damage or defects. Van drivers need to look out for tread and sidewall cracking, bulges and/or abnormal wear," adds Reitzner.

A tyre must have at least 1.6mm of tread

Van tyres need to have a minimum tread depth of at least 1.6mmm across the central three quarters of the entire circumference.

One of the easiest ways to check your van’s tyre tread is with one the older-style 20p pieces. Insert the outer rim of the coin into the tread and if the outer rim is exposed, the tread is below the legal minimum. Or you can use a tread gauge, which cost just a few pounds to buy.

250914tyresafe2

 

Checking tyre pressures

Only a correctly-inflated tyre will provide the maximum level of grip and performance. Overinflated tyres will have an adverse impact on the vehicle’s handling and increase wear, while underinflated tyres requires more effort to keep rolling, which in turn uses more fuel.

  • Check the owner's manual to identify the correct tyre pressures. They will also be shown on a plate or sticker on the van, inside the door or by the fuel cap. They will usually be shown in PSI and then (BAR) in brackets.
  • Use a handheld pressure gauge or a portable tyre inflator to measure existing pressure. This can be done with an inflator at a fuel station via handheld pressure gauge.
  • Check the pressures when the tyres are cold. The PSI will increase as you drive and the tyres heat up, which could give you a misleading reading. 
  • If you’re using an automatic device you simply set the tyre to the desired pressure and it will inflate until the correct reading has been achieved - and don’t forget to replace the dustcaps afterwards.

Converting tyre pressure from BAR to PSI

BAR PSI BAR PSI BAR PSI BAR PSI BAR PSI
1.30 bar 17 psi 1.90 bar 27 psi 2.60 bar 37 psi 3.25 bar 47 psi 3.95 bar 57 psi
1.35 bar 18 psi 1.95 bar 28 psi 2.65 bar 38 psi 3.30 bar 48 psi 4.00 bar 58 psi
1.40 bar 19 psi 2.00 bar 29 psi 2.70 bar 39 psi 3.40 bar 49 psi 4.10 bar 59 psi
1.45 bar 20 psi 2.10 bar 30 psi 2.75 bar 40 psi 3.50 bar 50 psi 4.15 bar 60 psi
1.50 bar 21 psi 2.15 bar 31 psi 2.80 bar 41 psi 3.55 bar 51 psi 4.50 bar 65 psi
1.55 bar 22 psi 2.20 bar 32 psi 2.90 bar 42 psi 3.60 bar 52 psi 4.80 bar 70 psi
1.60 bar 23 psi 2.25 bar 33 psi 3.00 bar 43 psi 3.70 bar 53 psi 5.20 bar 75 psi
1.70 bar 24 psi 2.30 bar 34 psi 3.05 bar 44 psi 3.75 bar 54 psi 5.50 bar 80 psi
1.75 bar 25 psi 2.40 bar 35 psi 3.10 bar 45 psi 3.80 bar 55 psi 5.85 bar 85 psi
1.80 bar 26 psi 2.50 bar 36 psi 3.20 bar 46 psi 3.90 bar 56 psi 6.20 bar 90 psi

Best tyre inflators

Ring RAC620 12V Analogue Tyre Inflator

A favourite tyre inflator here at Honest John, the Ring RAC620 keeps things nice, simple and effective. Another plug-and-play device, the Ring RAC620 takes a 12V feed to power the compressor with an analogue dial displaying in PSI, BAR and kg/cm2. Also included is an LED light with red and white flashing modes to attract attention in case of emergency with an adaptor set to inflate toys and bikes. For a few pounds more you can have the RAC600 version with a digital readout too.

Buy it now

Ring RAC620 12V Analogue Tyre Inflator, Air Compressor Tyre Pump, LED Light, Adaptor Set and Case

£19.99

Mbuynow Tyre Inflator

Covering all the bases at a reasonable price, the Mbuynow Tyre Inflator is ready for just about anything. One of the more compact offerings available via Amazon, it still offers a 3-metre power cable into your 12V socket and has enough power to dish out 27 litres a minute up to 100PSI of pressure. The backlit digital display means accurate pressures are easy to achieve and a trio of adaptors gives you the option to blow up a variety of inflatables.

 

Air Hawk Cordless Digital Tyre Inflator

Currently reduced from £49.99 at Argos, the Air Hawk has the advantage over most of the other devices in this list in that it operates via a rechargable battery, giving you the flexibility and security to inflate your tyres anywhere and anytime. Capable of inflating up to 150PSI the Air Hawk can tackle a variety of jobs, comes with its own storage case, light and automatic stop. It can even run via the 12V socket if need be.

 

Buy it now

Air Hawk Cordless Digital Tyre Inflator + Air Compressor

£50.00

See the top 10 tyre inflators

Ask HJ

What's the best all-season commercial tyre?

I have a 2008 Volkswagen Transporter T5 that needs a new set of tyres. As Michelin Cross Climate tyres are not available in 215/65-16 commercial, can you recommend an all season tyre that will fit instead?
If you can’t get Michelin Cross Climates then you might be better fitting Goodyear Cargo Vector 2s. They aren’t the cheapest all-season tyre you can get, but they provide good performance and shouldn’t wear out as quickly as a standard winter tyre. I've tried them on a number of vans and always been left impressed with the handling on icy roads or heavy rain. Our Guide To Cheap Van Tyres has much more advice and recommendations: https://vans.honestjohn.co.uk/van-tyres/cheap-van-tyre-buying-advice/
Answered by Dan Powell
More Questions
Ask HJ

Are van tyres worth the extra money?

Can you tell me if van tyres are worth the extra cash? They are more expensive than car tyres, but look the same.
As the name implies, van tyres are designed specifically for heavy duty use, with stronger sidewalls and harder wearing rubber. My advice would be to spend the extra on the van tyres, because they’ll last longer and offer better grip under heavy loads.
Answered by Dan Powell
More Questions

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