How to pick the best tyres for Barbados roads

and keep them in top shape

Barbados car owners often ask about tyres for their vehicle, and they are right to do so. Some consider tyres to be the most important part of the vehicle in terms of their impact on performance and safety. Keep reading for all the information you need to make a smart tyre purchase in Barbados.

Tyre Shop Barbados

Why are tyres important?

If you think about it, your tyres (or “tires” in american english) are the only connection between your vehicle and the road. The actual contact surface of each tyre is no bigger than the palm of your hand, making it pretty miraculous how they work.

Some car enthusiasts and racers claim that the most dramatic performance improvement can be achieved with the right tyre choice.

Tyres perform four main functions:

What’s inside a tyre?

Besides air, tyres are made up of three to four layers of materials. The outer layers, which are visible to the naked eye, are the sidewall and the tread. These are the components you see while a car is traveling along the road.

The sidewall covers the inner layers on the side of the tyre. It is built to resist abrasion, scuffs, and weathering.

The tread is the rubber compound, combined with a pattern used to give your automobile the grip and abrasion needed to hold the roads as one would say. This is the part of the tyre that actually connects with the road.

The next time you visit a shop to have your tyres changed, pay attention to what you see. When a tyre is removed from the rim, the bead and inner liner become visible. Now what are these?

Beads or bead bundles are strands of wire that secure the tyre to the wheel, whereas the inner liner is a rubber compound used to retain the inflation pressure inside the tyre. (You guessed it; this is where you put the air in your tyres!)

Parts of a Tyre

The other components are the body plies and the belts. These are not visible unless you cut open a tyre or your tyre ruptures. The body plies can be comprised of either polyester, rayon, or nylon cords within a rubber layer. Their main function is to provide the strength needed to hold the inflation pressure.

Lastly, the belts are steel cords laid at opposite angles. Their main function is to provide stability to the tyre tread and assist with wear, traction, and handling.

In case you were wondering, most tyres nowadays are tube-less. Tubes have become obsolete and are mainly found on bicycles.

Tyre Change Barbados

How to pick a tyre size?

We spoke to car tyre expert Renaldo Quarless, who has been in the tyre business in Barbados for over twenty-two years. We asked his expert advice on some of the top tyre brands and how to get the most out of your tyres.

When searching for the perfect tyres, the first choice is usually size. This decision can be made based on personal preference or type of ride quality the driver is looking for. For example, wider tyres provide a better ride quality and hold the road better than slimmer profile tyres.

Dirrefent tyre sizes
Popular tyre sizes
Cars – 14″  Cars – 15”  Cars – 16”  SUVs – 16″ 
165/60/14  175/65/15  195/50/16  205/70/16 
175/65/14  185/65/15  195/55/16  215/70/16 
175/70/14  195/50/15  205/45/16  225/70/16 
185/60/14  195/55/15  205/50/16              235/70/16 
185/65/14  195/60/15  205/55/16  245/70/16 
195/60/14  195/65/15  205/60/16  255/70/16 
Popular tyre sizes
Cars – 14″  Cars – 15”  Cars – 16”  SUVs – 16″ 
165/60/14  175/65/15  195/50/16  205/70/16 
175/65/14  185/65/15  195/55/16  215/70/16 
175/70/14  195/50/15  205/45/16  225/70/16 
185/60/14  195/55/15  205/50/16              235/70/16 
185/65/14  195/60/15  205/55/16  245/70/16 
195/60/14  195/65/15  205/60/16  255/70/16 

When asked about tyre sizes here on the island, Mr. Quarless reported that there are three main sizes used for automobiles here in Barbados: 14”, 15” and sometimes 16”. (This is where it gets complicated, you will see a lot of numbers that don’t make sense, but we will explain shortly). The 14s usually come in six varied sizes, ranging from 165/60/14 to 195/60/14. The 15s range from 175/65/15 to 195/60/15. The 16s have a range of 195/50/16 to 205/60/16. These are the sizes of tyres included with most vehicle purchases.

However, sizes for Jeeps and SUVs start from 205/70/16 and can go as far up to 255/70/16.

See the table for a list of the most popular tyre sizes.

The first three digits on a tyre tells you the width of the tyre. The tyre in the image above has a width of 185 millimetres at its widest point (about twice the length of the long edge of a credit card).

The next two numbers indicate the height of the sidewall. This measurement can vary, but it is most commonly between 50-70 for cars here in Barbados based on the table above.

The last two important numbers tell you the wheel size, in inches, that the tyre would fit. According to Mr. Quarless, the most popular wheel sizes range from 14 inches to 16 inches. In some exceedingly rare instances, they can even go to 17 inches. However, most cars are sold with those basic three sizes.

how-to-read-tyre-numbers-in-barbados

How to pick a tyre brand?

After many years in the business, Mr. Renaldo (our tyre expert in Barbados) has come across his fair share of tyres and many diverse types and brands. His five favourite tyre brands are listed below. While these may be Mr. R. Quarless’ top five brands, there are many other companies that make excellent, durable tyres. Share your favourite tyre brand in the comments below.

How much can a set of new tyres cost?

The cheapest tyres start at $99.00, and the more expensive tyres can cost $300.00 or more per tyre. The average cost of a tyre in Barbados is $180.00.

This table can help you get an idea of total tyre investment for your vehicle.

Average new tyre price in Barbados (in BBD)

 

Low budget 

Medium budget 

High budget 

1 tyre 

$99 

$180 

$300 

4 tyres 

$380 

$700 

$1,100 

Where can I buy tyres in Barbados?

Fortunately there are many options for Barbados tyre shoppers around the island.
Below we have compiled a list of tyre retailers by parish along with contact details so you can enquire about prices and book an appointment in advance.

Average new tyre price in Barbados (in BBD)
Name Address Parish Phone Email Address Facebook Page
Luma Trading 6A Willaims Industrial Prk, St. Thomas St. Thomas 246 262-7230 Lumatrading.bb@gmail.com Facebook Page
Goodridge Tyre Services Hothersal Turning, St. Michael St. Michael 246 571-8374 goodridgetyreservices@hotmail.com Facebook Page
Superior Auto Centre Jackmans, St. Michael St. Michael 246 436-7785 superiorautocenters@gmail.com Facebook Page
Tyre Masters Transtech Complex, Christ Church Christ Church 246 271-8919 tyremasters88@gmail.com Facebook Page
Goodyear Tyres Roebuck Street, St. Michael St. Michael 246 431-4164 mark.wilson@thegelgroup.com Facebook Page
Cat’s Tyre Repair Shop Enterprise Coast Road, Christ Church Christ Church 246 245-8783    
Cst Tyres Tweedside Road, St. Michael St. Michael 246 228-8973   Facebook Page
Premium Tyres Limited Brighton Beach, St. Michael St. Michael 246 266-2633 premiumtires246@gmail.com Facebook Page
Saint’ Tyre Shop Speightstown, St. Peter St. Peter 246 422-1098    
Legend Tyre & Auto Edgecliff, St. John St. John 246 233-8973 legendtyreandauto@gmail.com Facebook Page
Tyre Shop Rockhall, Workmans, St. Thomas St. Thomas 246 842-3433    
JR’s Tyre Shop Howell’s Road, St. Michael St. Michael 246 233-0712   Facebook Page
Supreme Auto Parts Barbarees Hill, St. Michael St. Michael 246 622-3012   Facebook Page
Parts Plus Blackrock, St. Michael St. Michael 246 425-7278   Facebook Page
MB Auto City Roebuck Street, St. Michael St. Michael 246 426-7697   Facebook Page
J & M Auto Parts Speightstown, St. Peter St. Peter 246 422-2686    
Percy King Rock Dundo, St. James St. James 246 422-4275    
1st Choice Auto Parts Speightstown, St. Peter St. Peter 246 622-3067 1stchoiceauto123@gmail.com Facebook Page
Wheels on the Hill Tyre Shop Mapp Hill Main Road, St. Michael St. Michael 246 571-4403    
Robby’s Tyre Repair Upper Collymore Rock, St. Michael St. Michael 246 426-1957 robbystyrerepair@gmail.com Facebook Page
Max Auto Parts Barbarees Hill, St. Michael St. Michael 246 421-7073   Facebook Page
SP Imports Tweedside Road, St. Michael St. Michael 246 228-8973 spimports246@gmail.com Facebook Page
A & A Autoparts Tweedside Road, St. Michael St. Peter 246 436-8141 aa_autoparts@hotmail.com Facebook Page

How long do tyres last?

Tyres will eventually need replacing because of a tear, rupture or regular, day-to-day use. How long they last honestly depends on how much they are used and cared for.

One thing you can do to extend the life of your tires is to check the pressure often and make sure it’s within the recommended range. It’s also important to have your alignment checked regularly and make sure your suspension components remain in top shape.

Worn tyre chart

how-to-read-tyre-numbers-in-barbados

Identify what may casue your tyres to wear out.

When is the best time to rotate your tyres?

We also asked Renaldo for advice on tyre rotation. He said tyre rotation, along with good suspension and tyre pressure, are key to extending the life of your tyres.

He suggested rotating your tyres every three months because when you rotate your tyres, it gives all four tyres an equal amount of time at the front and back. This way they are all worn down evenly and can last much longer.

Some people purchase two tyres at a time. The new set of tyres are usually placed at the front of the car, since that is where majority of the weight goes (for FWD cars). When those “new” front tyres need a change, they are then placed on the back of the vehicle and the cycle continues. While this approach might work for some, tyre rotation as explained earlier is a safer approach since all tyres will remain with the same wear and traction.

Here is a tyre rotation guide for your reference

Tyre rotation chart

how-to-read-tyre-numbers-in-barbados

Do this rotation every 3 months.

What can damage your tyres?

Although it is possible to keep your tyres in top condition, some issues are unavoidable living here in Barbados. Yes, you guessed right! Those nasty holes or dents in the road, called “potholes” can cause severe damage to your tyres, rims and even your car itself. Avoid potholes whenever possible. If you spot a pothole in advance, try to go over it as slowly as you can to avoid damage to your tyres and rims.

Potholes can cause bulges in your car tyres. These bulges can appear when you either hit a curb/sidewalk while speeding or dropping into a nasty pothole you just could not avoid.

Though they may seem small or not worrisome, a tyre with a bulge will fail a road worthy examination and be denied for road use unless the tyre is replaced.

While some bulges are noticeable from a distance, others are almost invisible and can only be spotted with close examination.

If you notice a slight rise in your car tyre that was not there before, get it checked out. Also, if you feel like your car is not steering as it should or the ride quality feels a little bumpy, you may have a bulge in your tyre.

See the images below for several types of bulges that can be caused after an encounter with a pothole.

Vehicle hitting a pothole

how-to-read-tyre-numbers-in-barbados

This action can create a bulge in your tyre.

Vehicle hitting a pothole

how-to-read-tyre-numbers-in-barbados

This action can create a bulge in your tyre.

Huhe tyre bulge after hitting a pothole in Barbados

Huge tyre bulge

Medium tyre bulge

Medium tyre bulge

Small tyre bulge

Small tyre bulge

Famous Barbados potholes

While every country has its fair share of potholes, in Barbados we believe we have the most.

There are many ways potholes can form, including heavy rain fall, or a heavy tanker carrying a load of gas on roads where the asphalt is already weak.

There are so many potholes on Barbados roads that there is even a Facebook page created to talk about Barbados potholes! https://www.facebook.com/whydowepayroadtax/

Even though potholes can wreck our tyres or worse, create an accident, Bajans were still able to make light of the situation. The photos below were taken from the Facebook Page and they are hilarious!

Luckily for us here in Barbados, our government dispatches workers to “cover” the potholes when they become a cause for concern in any community. Some people have opted to fix the problem themselves by pouring cement into the holes. This is not advised as it can do more harm than good. When you encounter a pothole, contact the Barbados Ministry of Transport and Works (https://www.gov.bb/Ministries/transport-works), and make them aware of the situation and give them the exact location.

Ministry of Transport, Works and Maintenance
Pine East/West Boulevard, St. Michael,
P.O Box 25,
(246) 536-0000
(246) 437-8133
http://www.mtw.gov.bb/

While every country has its fair share of potholes, in Barbados we believe we have the most.

There are many ways potholes can form, including heavy rain fall, or a heavy tanker carrying a load of gas on roads where the asphalt is already weak.

There are so many potholes on Barbados roads that there is even a Facebook page created to talk about Barbados potholes! https://www.facebook.com/whydowepayroadtax/

Even though potholes can wreck our tyres or worse, create an accident, Bajans were still able to make light of the situation. The photos below were taken from the Facebook Page and they are hilarious!

Luckily for us here in Barbados, our government dispatches workers to “cover” the potholes when they become a cause for concern in any community. Some people have opted to fix the problem themselves by pouring cement into the holes. This is not advised as it can do more harm than good. When you encounter a pothole, contact the Barbados Ministry of Transport and Works (https://www.gov.bb/Ministries/transport-works), and make them aware of the situation and give them the exact location.

Ministry of Transport, Works and Maintenance
Pine East/West Boulevard, St. Michael,
P.O Box 25,
(246) 536-0000
(246) 437-8133
http://www.mtw.gov.bb/

Potholes of Barbados

 

Potholes of Barbados - Facebok Group and Page

Facebook page.

Potholes of Barbados

 

Potholes of Barbados - Facebok Group and Page

Facebook page.

Potholes of Barbados - Facebook page
Tryin to touch the bottom
of a pothole in Barbados
Potholes-of-Barbados - Facebook
Chilling by a pothole with a bottle of rhum
Potholes of Barbados - Facebook group
Exciting attraction in Barbados: Pothole Rafting!

The 5 worse potholes in Barbados

While researching Barbados potholes, we came across a few which might be familiar to you. We even created a Google map for you.

1. The Belle

The Belle Road, St. Michael- pothole

If you are ever travelling The Belle St. Michael, watch out for this one. It will not be easy to avoid given its width, so go slow.

2. Sergeant’s Village

Sargent's Village, Christ Church - pothole

This massive pothole is located right in the middle of the main road in Sergeants Village, making it very difficult to avoid.

3. Goodland

Goodland St. Michael - pothole

This pothole is located in Goodland, St. Michael. It is a treacherous one, especially after a heavy rain.

4. Club Morgan

Potholes of Barbados - Facebook group

If you are ever travelling south through Club Morgan in Christ Church, be on the lookout for the mini cave pictured below.

5. Cane Garde

Cane Garden, St. Thomas - pothole

Lastly, this pothole is in Cane Gaden, St. Thomas, the exact location is unknown as it keeps moving, but be sure to keep your eyes out for this one!

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About the author:

Jalisa
Jalisa

Jalisa is a Customer Experience Officer and blog contributor at Almi. She is passionate about customer service and helping Barbadians achieve financial prosperity.