Seven things you need to know about winter tyres

A legal requirement in most of northern Europe cold weather tyres is very misunderstood in the UK. Here are 7 reasons you might want to consider swapping to cold weather tyres.

1) Cold Weather Tyres are NOT SNOW TYRES!

One of the most common reasons we hear as to why cold weather tyres aren’t needed in the UK is because we don’t get enough snow. Cold weather tyres are designed to be more effective than regular tyres in any temperature under 7c (44f) on any type of road. Cold weather tyres are designed with a larger percentage of natural rubber and silica in the compound which doesn’t harden up as much as synthetic rubber in cold conditions.

2) Cold weather tyres really work

Tirerack tested the Bridgestone Blizzak WS60 winter tyre against the Bridgestone RE050A ultra high performance summer tyre in icy conditions. From just 10mph the winter tyre stopped in 6.4 metres, while the summer tyre needed more than twice the distance to stop at over 14 metres. Imagine the difference from 30 mph.

3) Cold weather tyres could save you money

Modern cars have big alloys and expensive wide low profile tyres. Once the small outlay of a set of steel rims has been made, cold weather tyres are often cheaper because of their smaller size. While you’re driving on cold weather tyres, you’re not wearing out your expensive summer tyres, thus saving you money.

4) ABS doesn’t stop your car any quicker

Another false-truth we hear a lot is cold weather tyres aren’t needed thanks to ABS. ABS was designed to allow steering control to be retained while in an emergency situation and will not stop you any quicker in low grip situations.

5) Cold weather tyres are as comfortable as summer tyres

Yet another myth is a loss of ride comfort, or extra noise thanks to cold weather tyres. The truth is modern cold weather tyres are as every bit as comfortable as summer tyres, sometimes more so thanks to an increased profile.

6) Avoiding other people on the road

The number of accidents caused by wet conditions increases in winter by 267%. Give yourself a chance of avoiding someone else’s incident by fitting cold weather tyres.

7) Cars have changed

It’s no secret modern cars have gained a little weight, in fact a MK5 Golf is almost twice the weight of a MK1 Golf. With all that extra weight comes added inertia when trying to change directions or slow down, which gives the tyres much more work to do. To compound the problem many more cars are coming with overly wide sports tyres which have even less chance of slowing the big heavy car.

Would you fancy trying to get this car out of the steep driveway and then up the hill to your place of work?

I think not.

Instead of thinking negatively, think Cold Weather Tyres, you know it makes sense..


Cold Weather Tyres – FAQs

Why should I consider putting cold weather/winter tyres on my car?

oIn the winter, 48% of car accidents in the UK are resultant of skidding. Fitted at the beginning of the winter season, Cold weather/winter tyres permit you to drive with confidence for the entire period and also substitute the use of chains.

How can fitting cold weather/winter tyres on my car affect braking and aquaplaning?

oTypically, at temperatures below 7°c, braking distances of cold weather tyres in the wet are 10% less than summer tyres. Similarly, braking distances in icy conditions are reduced by as much as 20%. Thanks to the specific cold weather tyre tread pattern design and the use of sipes, the adhesion on dangerous wet, snowy and icy surfaces is maximised.

What in the tyre makes the difference though?

oModern High Performance summer tyres have a harder tread compound, engineered to ensure grip at medium/high temperatures. The molecules in the tread rubber freeze and harden as temperatures fall, thereby increasing the risk of aquaplaning and increasing breaking distance. Cold weather tyres use a higher proportion of natural rubber in the tread, minimising the hardening effect at low temperatures. This results in higher grip levels.

Should I get the same performance from cold weather/winter tyres?

oCold weather tyres deliver a better performance under 7°C whilst maintaining the same drive comfort as summer tyres.

Will cold weather/winter tyres really make a difference to my mobility in the car?

oWith the right tyres, you don’t fear the weather. Cold weather tyres protect you in any condition and help you get safely to your destination. They ensure maximum mobility throughout all cold weather conditions.

Won’t they end up costing more?

oAlternating summer and cold weather tyres in accordance to seasons increases the mileage of a tyre and therefore save money in the long-run.

I live in the city and during the winter I drive only around the road, do I need winter tyres?

oBelow 7° C, that means for most of the period between October and March, winter tyres have a greater grip than summer ones, whose composition during the cold months hardens with consequent reduction of grip, traction and, therefore, braking.

Why can’t I leave the cold weather/winter tyres on all year round?

oWinter tyres are developed in order to ensure the best performance when the temperature is below 7° C; during the summer, the composition, which is softer than summer tyres, tends to wear out much quicker, which will compromise safety and performance.

Can winter tyres be used only on snow?

oWinter tyres are developed to actively react in presence of snow and they also offer better performances than summer tyres even on dry and wet surfaces during the entire cold season. This is due to a greater adherence to the ground and a tread pattern design that reduces aquaplaning compared to summer tyres giving greater reliability and safety to the driver.

Can I mount only two snow tyres on the driving wheels and keep the summer tyres on the others?

oThis solution is strongly inadvisable because: if your car has a front wheel drive and the snow tyres are only mounted on the front wheels you risk spinning: if your car has rear wheel drive and the tyres are only mounted on the back wheels you risk sliding off the road while turning.