Winter tyre guide – are you prepared for winter?

Date posted: September 10, 2012

As their name suggests, winter tyres are designed for the winter season, when the weather allows for more extreme and downright dangerous driving conditions.
As we’ve seen with most winter seasons over the years, there have been prolonged icy spells and snowy spats, which change the road conditions dramatically. That’s why we need to prepare and make sure that our vehicles are ready for the looming winter weather in order to ensure maximum safety while driving on Britain’s roads. Question is; why are winter tyres so necessary and how and when should you make the change?

Why winter tyres?

As we already know, Britain’s winters can be incredibly severe. Although we can prepare ourselves (and our wardrobe!) for the wintry season, our tyres may not be so versatile.

Summer tyres aren’t so effective during cold conditions as they’re specifically designed to deliver better performance during higher temperatures. Winter tyres on the other hand provide brilliant braking and traction performance on snowy, icy and wet roads thanks to their high silica content and unique tread pattern. Winter tyres can retain more elasticity at freezing temperatures, meaning that they can provide a better grip of the roads, even in ice.

Although not mandatory in the UK, fitting winter tyres are strongly encouraged and can really benefit you during the winter when road conditions become dangerous.

Winter tyres are especially beneficial for those living in a remote area where winter conditions are very likely to be prolonged and affect road conditions considerably.

When to change to winter tyres?

There’s no specific time when you should put on your winter tyres, mainly because different parts of the UK are hit by various weather conditions, some more severe than others. However, the earlier you get them changed, the better.

October or November time is a good time to make the switch to winter tyres, as temperatures usually begin to drop and wetter weather conditions usually come into play during this period.

It’s good to have two sets of tyres – winter tyres for October through to February/March time and summer tyres for the remaining months.

How to change to winter tyres?

Putting your new winter tyres on another set of rims is advised, which will save you a lot of time when it comes to changing them. Winter tyres should always be fitted in sets of four; otherwise the stability of the car will be impaired.

When it comes to winter tyre maintenance, check the pressure of each tyre every fortnight when the tyres are cold. Ensure that each winter tyre tread is between 4mm and 3mm – any less than this will only reduce the tyre’s performance.

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