1. Why winter tyres?
When the temperature is below 7 degrees Celsius winter tyres require a shorter braking distance on wet surfaces than summer tyres. In addition, the rubber compound of winter tyres retains more elasticity at lower temperatures, guaranteeing the best possible grip on snow and ice. By comparison, the rubber used in summer tyres stiffens and loses its grip. Moreover, high-tech winter tyres are every bit as quiet, comfortable and wear-resistant as summer tyres.
2. When to fit winter tyres
In deciding when to fit winter tyres, it is important not only to consider the chances of bad weather conditions, but also to observe when the average temperature falls below 7 degrees Celsius. In north-western Europe, this means that the right time to fit winter tyres is at the end of September, and its best to keep them until April. An easy rule to remember is that you should be using winter tyres when there is an ‘r’ in the name of the month.
3. Storing summer tyres
When storing summer tyres on rims, we advise the following. First clean the tyres and wheels thoroughly with water and allow them to completely dry. After that, store them hanging up or lying down flat (you can put up to four tyres in a stack), whereby the tyre pressure is raised to 40 psi. Remember to mark the wheel position on the tyres so you know which is which when refitting. Do not let the tyres come into contact with chemicals or petroleum products. Store them in a dark, cool environment.
4. Fitting two or four winter tyres
Winter tyres enhance your safety through improved tread rubber that always guarantees optimal grip, even at low temperatures. Therefore, it is not advisable to drive with only two winter tyres fitted on the drive axel. Doing so can lead to a lack of stability, especially when cornering or braking.
5. Pressure in winter tyres
It is not necessary to inflate winter tyres differently than you would summer tyres. It is important to check your tyre pressures every two weeks, and to do so while the tyres are cold.
6. Using snow chains
The use of snow chains can be compulsory in certain areas. If you should be involved in an accident and haven’t fitted snow chains, you could be held liable. With winter tyres, however, snow chains are often unnecessary. You should therefore take them off as soon as possible in order to enjoy much smoother driving and prevent wear on snow chains and roads.
7. Driving with a lower speed code
In many European countries, winter tyres (with a snowflake symbol) can be used with a lower speed code. It is in fact common practice to go for a lower speed rated tyre in the winter. As long as you do not drive over the speed that the tyre is capable you will not have any problems. Tyre speed ratings are as follows:
|Speed Rating||Miles per/hour|
|W, Y, Z||150+|
8. Driving in the winter
Driving on snow and ice requires you to adapt your style of driving. When accelerating, for instance, don’t use too much gas; speeding up too abruptly can cause the wheels to slip and you to loose control. It is better to smoothly change into a higher gear to reduce the drive on the wheels. Taking bends and braking also has to be gradual in order to prevent slipping and wheel locking. Try to slow down as much as possible. While going down a slope, you can decrease wheel locking while braking by changing gears late. Conversely, while going uphill, changing into a higher gear sooner than usual will decrease the chance of slipping.
9. Winter car equipment
It is important to prepare your entire car for bad weather conditions. This obviously includes fitting winter tyres, but also checking up on the battery, oil and coolant levels, as well as the spare wheel pressure. Remember to bring window and lock de-icer (don’t keep them inside the car) when driving, and when leaving the car, to place the wipers in their upright position away for the windscreen, so that they don’t freeze. It is also advisable to keep jump leads and a towing cable. Finally, don’t hesitate to have your car washed more often than usual – the salt used on icy roads is bad for your car body as well as the tyres.
10. Tread thickness of winter tyres
Winter tyres with less than 3mm of tread remaining can no longer guarantee optimal performance on snow and ice. We advise you not to re-use such tyres for the next winter season. In certain European countries, tyres are no longer considered winter tyres if their tread has become less than 4mm, bear this in mind when driving in countries where winter tyres are compulsory (Scandinavian countries, Germany & Austria).
11. Winter runflat tyres
We can supply certain winter sizes of winter runlfat tyres, although quite expensive these do offer the additional safety of not losing shape when a loss of pressure occurs. Many of our customers decide to move away from runflats for winter, especially when purchasing one of our wheel and tyre packages. If you would like to do this then we can offer a mini compressor and repair foam in case you get a puncture and have no spare wheel. If you currently use runflats and are considering changing to regular tyres then all 4 tyres on the vehicle must be changed.
Need more help?
Call us on 01482 505526.