We experience the most inconsistent weather in the winter months, rain, wet leaves, snow and ice bring often unseen hazards. Fitting winter tyres to your car can greatly improve the cars grip and safety in winter conditions.
What are winter tyres?
Winter tyres are designed to offer increased grip and traction in cold conditions. As temperatures drop, the rubber used in summer tyres hardens reducing their performance. From 7°C the softer rubber used in winter tyres starts to significantly outperform summer tyres and the colder it gets the greater that performance gap increases.
As well as a softer compound winter tyres have deeper grooves and sipes (narrow cuts) built into the tread. These are added to increase water/snow dispersion, and to allow the tyre to remain in contact with the road.
A true winter tyre will be marked with a mountain snowflake symbol on the side wall.
So what are the benefits?
Winter tyres work best <7°C, they will then outperform conventional (summer) tyres for traction, cornering grip and braking. No matter the road conditions wet, snow or ice.
Tyresafe (an independent road safety charity), conducted a test to show the effectiveness of winter tyres and the conclusion showed improved performance. A two-wheel-drive car with winter tyres proving safer than a 4×4 with summer tyres.
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How much do winter tyres cost?
The price will vary depending on time of year and the brand of tyre chosen. Ryton Tyre Centre offer prices from just £33.65 inc fitting.
This can mean buying a second set of wheels to just swap over at the right time, or paying to have tyres swapped over when temps rise above 7°C. However, this does have the benefit of making your summer tyres last longer too.
Will they affect my insurance?
Fitting winter tyres should not affect your insurance – if anything you are less likely to slide into something. But if you are unsure it is best to check with your provider.
Is it law to fit them?
Winter tyres are not mandatory in the UK. In fact relatively speaking only a small percentage of drivers fit them. This is probably due to a lack of knowledge rather than simply deciding not to.
However in some mainland European countries, winter tyres are compulsory and if not fitted during the required periods can incur fines of €5,000.
So if you are travelling abroad, it’s important to check the local laws and guidelines to stay safe and legal.
What are the alternatives to winter tyres?
If you are concerned about the upfront cost of winter tyres, Ryton Tyre Centre offer 4 months 0% finance to help spread the cost. Other options include snow socks and snow chains, which offer improved grip but take time to fit and it’s always in the freezing cold.
All season tyres offer improved performance over summer tyres and can be left on all year round but can be a year long compromise. However if your driving suits these are an effective solution.
If you would like a price on winter or all season tyres, Ryton Tyre Centre offers very competitive pricing and FREE puncture repair on selected brands. They also cover exhausts, batteries, brakes, diagnostics and wheel alignment.