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Winter Tyres vs All-Weather Tyres

Winter Tyres vs All-Weather Tyres

Posted On 21 Feb, 2014

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Everybody wants to drive safely, and to keep their families safe too, so the question of whether to fit winter tyres is important to us all.

Before starting down this road, firstly consider where you live, and how that affects the issues. If for example you live in Spain, or another country where ice, wind and snow are rare, then the benefits of winter tyres may not outweigh their cost implications.

But in the UK, Germany or France, you will likely encounter much more challenging weather conditions, and these may actually demand the use of a set of winter shoes for your vehicle. Winter tyres are not mandatory in the UK, but they are in some other EU countries, so consider where you might be, if you travel to visit family at Christmas for example.

‘Four winter tyres and spare rims for a Mini start from £560, excluding assembly. However, if you’re a family-hatch driver, KwikFit quoted £635 for a set of four 205/55 R16 Goodyear Ultragrip8 winter tyres (Nov 2011) – but additional rims are extra.’ explains www.which.co.uk

This proves there is a price tag for winter alternatives. ‘Winter tyres are also designed to gather a snowy ‘in-fill’ in the tread grooves and in the sipe slits, to help with grip on loose snow. Think about how you create a snowman by rolling a snowball, bigger and bigger, and hopefully it will help you understand that snow clings to snow, so a covering of snow on the tyre actually aids grip.’ which advises.

Whatever the weather, you must remember to remove winter tyres when the warmer months return. Winter treads are generally designed to operate in temperatures below 7C. If you continue to run them, you are likely to damage them, or even risk a blow-out whilst you are driving.

Autocar tested out a BMW wearing its show shoes, and found the results were stunning; ‘When eventually it snowed – albeit only a bit – the tyres were an absolute revelation. The 1M was not rendered useless, as I’m no doubt it would have been on its original 19in summer tyres. Instead, it could go pretty much anywhere because it could stop, steer and accelerate, almost as if the roads were merely wet rather than covered in snow.’

That’s quite an endorsement, and suggests that if you are likely to encounter adverse weather conditions you really ought to take a winter tyre option seriously. They cost more, but there’s little way to place a value how avoiding accidents, strandings or worse during freezing months helps you. Such safety is in fact invaluable.

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