What are the positives and negatives of switching?
Colder temperatures are now a more common occurrence as we head towards Christmas and, when things start to get chilly, switching your car onto winter tyres can make a great deal of sense. Often a requirement in many European countries, winter tyres are starting - ahem - to gain traction here in the UK too.
But what are the positives and negatives of switching? Let’s take a look.
So what do winter tyres do?
Winter tyres have been specifically designed to be at their best when being used in colder temperatures. Crafted from a slightly softer compound than regular tyres, they heat up far more quickly and, as a result, are grippier when things turn chilly. They also boast a different tread pattern to ‘normal’ tyres, which means that they can clear away sleet and snow far more effectively.
What benefits do they bring?
Essentially, that softer compound means that winter tyres will be able to find grip far better in near-freezing temperatures compared with summer tyres. They’re a must-have in countries with harsher winters because they’re far safer. Though super-chilly temperatures aren’t as common here in the UK, winter tyres can still provide benefits in single-digit temperatures. Plus, if you’re caught out in a rogue snowfall, winter tyres should ensure that you can see your journey through.
Do they cost a lot more?
Just like normal tyres, the cost of winter tyres varies between brands. Compare them with all-season tyres, and you’ll probably look to pay around 10 per cent less for a winter set. Though this might sound good value, just remember that you can't use them all year round.
Do I need to make the switch?
No. Here in the UK, winter tyres aren’t a legal requirement so you don’t need to fit them by law. However, they could be a good option if you live in an area that is prone to snow and frost, or have a rear-wheel-drive car that really struggles in colder temperatures.
Are there any other drawbacks?
One aspect of winter tyres you need to consider is storage. You’ll need to switch your winter tyres out for summer ones when the temperature begins to rise and that leaves you with the need to store those winter boots somewhere. Of course, if you’ve got a garage or outbuilding then this shouldn’t be too much bother. However, if you’re lacking space then you might need to find somewhere else to store them. Companies do offer the service but, of course, this comes with additional cost.