PICTURE PERFECT: Your choice of TV is not a life or death decision
Let’s pretend you’re buying a new TV.
It’s not a purchase you make very often, so you do your research because you don’t want to regret your decision.
You may even justify a bigger, higher-quality TV by telling yourself; “It’s for the whole family”. Or maybe you have ulterior motives: “If I splurge on a really good TV, my teenage daughter may stay home on the weekends”.
When the time comes to visit an appliance store, you’re unlikely to ask: “What’s your cheapest TV?”
Likewise, you’d be suspicious if the store’s salesman kept pushing their “budget” TVs that they “keep at the back”.
Yet, this scenario plays out in tyre dealerships daily in South Africa. Consumers either ask for the cheapest tyre on the market, or the dealer is trying to offload whatever stock they’re stuck with.
The point is: Most of us put more time and research into picking the right TV, than we do researching the right tyre.
Look, we get it, it’s hard to believe that one tyre’s technology could be vastly different to another, but the fact remains: There’s no such thing as a cheap, good-quality tyre, just like there’s no such thing as a cheap, good-quality TV.
They may look the same, they may even drive the same, but typically speaking, budget tyres fail when you need them most. Sadly, when a tyre does fail, it’s a bit more serious than a blank screen and lack of Netflix.
On that note, here are some uncomfortable truths about the South African tyre market and why you shouldn’t rely solely on dealer advice…
- Tyre dealers will often push a product based on rebates, or what they have in stock. Not what’s best for your vehicle.
- Good service has nothing to do with coffee machines and comfy couches, it’s about how well the tyre is fitted and balanced.
- Retail presence is not an indication of tyre knowledge and experience; so don’t overlook independent tyre stores that are owner run by vehicle enthusiasts.
- Most tyre dealers churn through sales staff, so there’s little incentive to invest in tyre knowledge.
- ‘Made in China’ doesn’t automatically mean that a product is inferior or cheap. But if it is cheap, it’s generally because it’s inferior.
- ‘Cost Per Kilometre’ is the only accurate measure of a tyre’s true value. Everything else is smoke and mirrors.
- It may be hard to believe, but almost all double-cabs, 4x4s and SUVs are factory fitted with P-Metric tyres that are designed for fuel economy and budget constraints, not for payload capacity or off-road use. If you don’t want a tyre that punctures easily, ditch the P-Metrics for Light Truck (LT) tyres.
That said, there’s nothing wrong with being budget conscious when you shop for tyres, but bear in mind that if you base your buying requirements on price alone (and not value), your next tyre recommendation may have less to do with what’s right for your vehicle, and more to do with turning stock.
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