The question on everyone’s minds as the cold days draw on – do I need winter tyres for my car? Changing the tyres for the season comes with the associated costs of new tyres and fitting. Many of us would rather spend that money on presents and occasions with loved ones.
However, winter tyres can be worth the investment. We’re going to show you whether you need to take the time to upgrade your wheels.
Winter tyres use a type of rubber with a higher silica content than your normal tyres. They also have a slightly different tread pattern that help them to remain flexible in low temperatures. Ordinary tyres tend to stiffen when the temperature drops.
Your winter tyres are better able to cope with the challenges of the roads. They’ll handle better on wet surfaces, in snow and ice, and withstand the cold more easily. You can tell the difference between normal and winter tyres by the little snowflake or snow topped mountain icon on the tyre.
Winter tyres aren’t a legal requirement in the UK, but they are in other parts of Europe. They’re most effective in temperatures below 7 degrees Celsius.
There are lots of benefits of winter tyres, especially if you work and live in remote areas of the country. Away from the cities and into the countryside, weather conditions are likely to be more extreme, and the additional support from your tyres is welcome.
Having the extra gripping power on the road is very useful, especially if you’re not a very confident driver. In bad weather, knowing you’re going to stick more easily to the road should help make your journey a little less stressful.
The deeper tread on winter tyres helps remove more water between your car and the road. This gives you greater control when stopping. It helps you to minimise your stopping distance and reduces your chances of aquaplaning.
You’ll also notice that winter tyres have a more rugged tread, full of what are called sipes. These little channels cut into the tyre are what helps to move more water than summer tyres, but are very clever at responding to snow.
Instead of clearing the snow, they hold on to it, storing it in the sipes. Nothing sticks better to snow than snow, so these well designed tyres are better able to grip your car to the road in snowy conditions.
If you choose not to fit your vehicle with winter tyres, make sure you have at least 3mm tread during the colder months.
Plus, it’s worth remembering that despite the slightly higher cost of winter tyres, it’ll actually help increase the lifespan of your summer tyres. So, the bigger outlay initially balances out longer term.