Designed to maximise grip on the roads in colder weather, winter tyres help motorists make sure they can stop safely on ice-covered roads and don’t lose control in the snow. They are also more resistant to wear and tear than summer tyres, so if you’re only using them on your car in the winter months they should last longer and will help to preserve the life of your summer tyres too.
Winter tyres are different to summer tyres in the fact that they are made of a slightly different compound. Summer tyres are perfect for warmer temperatures, but as soon as the thermometer reads below 7 degrees celsius, the tyre begins to harden and grip is lost. Winter tyres are made using a higher percentage of natural rubber and other compounds, designed to mitigate the hardening of the tyre and thus providing additional grip.
According to an article on the National Franchised Dealer Association’s website, trusteddealers.co.uk, most car manufacturers recommend putting winter tyres onto your vehicle when the temperature falls below a sustained 7 degrees centigrade as mentioned, so around November/December is usually a good time to start thinking about buying them if you don’t own any already.
If you live somewhere that’s particularly prone to cold weather in winter, or in the countryside where the roads are harder to drive on in wintery conditions, a good set of winter tyres could make all the difference between getting stuck and getting home safely.
Most rear-wheel drive car owners should consider switching to winter tyres. If your car has front-wheel drive, you’ll have more grip in slippery conditions. However, if your car has rear-wheel drive, you won’t have the advantage of the engine weight which means you could struggle climbing steep hills in icy weather.
The article also notes that winter tyres don’t cost more than summer tyres. For example, a small family car may cost around £200 to kit out with winter tyres, depending on the tyre manufacturer and professional fitting costs.
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