In the past purchasing tyres was a relatively simple ordeal. When you ran out of tread you went to the garage and you asked the nice man in the dirty overalls to stick on a set of Dunlops or Michelins, or you may have even considered Semperit because they had that big place over in Ballyfermot and buying Irish was important.

Today however, things are different. In growing older we have learned that the rubber tree is not an indigenous species and Semperit have long since gone. Now we are more likely to be concerned about things like grip levels and price. And in the tyre market, price is God. A huge increase in the number of tyre manufacturers in Asia and the Far East has caused a panic amongst the big names in Europe. The demand for cheaper tyres led to a large drop in sales and forced them to react. However, after years of marketing and product placement they were reluctant to water down or cheapen their brands by introducing cheap tyres, let alone lose out on the still lucrative “grip at any cost” performance car market. The solution was to create or purchase new brands in an effort to compete at the lower end without damaging the reputation so valuable to the prime product.

Another big change has been the growth in tyre specialist such as Advance and Kwik Fit. Large operations such as these with huge buying power which in turn have been of great benefit to the consumer, and while not actually leading to a reduction in price, they have led to a reduction in the rate of increase.

The end result has been that now when you feel the unwanted understeer or the back end breaking away a little too soon and you feel it's time to change the rubber the range of tyres available is simply massive. Even within a single price range, if you were to phone around you'd probably find at least six different brands and ten different garages competing for your hard earned cash. And that's what this is all about.

For a complete answer we have to look at a number of factors, including construction, tread pattern, aspect, load index, speed rating, etc. and if you follow the links below we'll look at these in more detail. However if you just want to have an idea of what's good on the MX-5 then you can skip straight to our tyre test, which was compiled entirely from data contributed by our members.


Tyre markings and what they mean.
Low Profile Tyres and their effects
General Tyre Safety Tips
The Test