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Motoring Advice

Get a Grip with Winter tyres

Winter Tyres

 So what are winter tyres? Essentially, they look extremely similar to summer tyres but they are developed to help handle ice and snow. Many believe that winter tyres are for only driving in the snow but this is not true, in fact, they are designed to work in conditions below 7 degrees, which makes the essential when it is wet and icy as they provide enhanced grip and handling.

A winter tyre contains more rubber which means that it does not become hard when cold. This gives the tyre more flexibility during the cold winter temperatures which helps to improve stopping distances which is vital on slippery roads and when the weather cause poor visibility.

The tread is designed in a way that helps it to bite into ice and snow causing an interlocking grip which is crucial in the centre of the tread which is the area of the tyre that carries the most weight. The increased grooves along as well as up to 10 times the amount of spies than is seen on a summer tyre making winter tyres an important investment.

If you have concerns about your car lasting the winter months, now is a good time to consider changing your car before the frost takes a grip.  

When should I fit winter tyres?

Ideally, winter tyres should be fitted before the cold weather strikes. Waiting until the cold weather appears could be too late because snow and ice can hit instantly causing problems on the road. In the UK it is not compulsory to fit winter tyres which is slightly different to other countries. Opting to have them fitted in October will give you the best chance of being prepared for the bad weather.

If you do decide to fit winter tyres then storing away your summer tyres will ensure that they can be re-fitted again in March or once the cold weather has disappeared.

Winter tyres are crucial for all drivers but those who live in remote areas where the weather can be worse should consider having them fitted. Drivers who live in other areas may believe that it is a cost that they do need to pay but there is always a risk of bad weather anyway and this highlights the importance of having them fitted.

Most manufacturers make winter tyres with the likes of Goodyear, Bridgestone or Continental. It is possible to purchase the tyres pre-fitted to a set of alloy wheels making it easier to change the wheels. It is important to remember that they must be fitted in sets of four because fitting only one pair will alter the stability and the balance of the vehicle.

The cost of winter tyres is very similar to that of regular tyres. This is because a wide range of manufacturers make them which means budget brands sell them and the more expensive, well-known brands do. For a regular sized vehicle such as a hatchback, it is possible to purchase tyres for around £50 a tyre, whereas a premium manufacturer can cost double or three time as much as that. However, one thing to remember is that the tyres will last you several winters so they can be cost effective.


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