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Winter tyres – why you need them
Winter tyres are fast growing in popularity here in the UK, following two consecutive extreme winters. They are still a niche market but interest in them is rapidly rising - and here we tell you why you need them.
The headline fact is that winter tyres offer benefits whenever temperatures drop below 7C. They are therefore not just for when it snows - indeed, the benefits they offer when it is icy are twice as great as those in the snow.
To find out more, MSN Cars visited Porsche Centre Silverstone to test both regular and winter tyres on the wet-weather test facilities, so we could discover just what sort of benefits they bring.
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Winter tyres do work. One thing people should remember that if you drive in certain european countries in winter, i.e. for holiday. It is law that you have them, if you get stopped by the police and you still have regular tyres on, make sure you have plenty of euros in your wallet, there is a good chance they wont let you drive further until you have.
It has been proven they reduce the risk of an accident because they have a better grip on snow and ice.
why talk about winter and summer tyres. Why not use all year round tyres. We lived in South Germany for more than 20 years. Traveled in Austria and Switzerland on all year round tyres never had problems in winter or rainy summer days. In winter we had a set of snow chains in the car. We never had problems in travling up the mountains were roads were covered in 5" of snow or more.
And to those of you that say it's a good marketing ploy from the tyre manufactures to sell summer and winter tyres beat them and buy all year round tyres and you are safer on the road all year round. We still use all year round tyres
One Christmas (26th December) we traveled up to Engelbird (altitude 3350ft)in Switzerland with temperature of -25C towering a 18 ft caravan no problems at all.
If you have a 4x4 there's no problem. I've had 3 Land Rovers and last winter was my first without a 4x4. I had no Winter tyres on either on my new Volvo C30. My neighbour had small Peugot with winter tyres. We stuck to the road like glue. I was, in effect, snowed in for nearly 3 weeks. My neighbour was not and neither was my neighbour with a 4x4 without snow tyres.
So, think it's sensible to have snow tyres if you don't have 4x4 capability. I now have them and the difference so far in the ice and snow has shown a vast improvement with the Volvo. Plus scrap iron isn't so easy to get hold of nowadays!
jock 8040 is telling it like it is, winter tyres do work so glad i got mine,
I drive a 4x4 and i live in Finland where it gets to be -26 and -35 in the south of the country during the winter. The roads are cleared of surface snow but that still leaves the ice below so basically your driving on ice most of the time and up in the north all of the time, you wouldn't be able to go anywhere without winter tyres, which is why they are a legal requirement in any Scandinavian country from november to april and some other european countries to.
Are winter tyres needed in the UK? Well i was there just a couple of days ago and my sister was looking into buying some because the rear wheels of her merc were just spinning when she tried to pull off and then had trouble driving up the very steep hill home again, the tyres worked out at anything from £55 to £200 depending on the make. Of course its going to cost the driver more money to drive in the winter if he wants the tyres, but unlike Scandinavia you don't have to have them but you may have had personal experiences over the last couple of winters where you feel you would be better off if you had them. I certainly remember the story of the surgeon who had to walk 16 miles through the snow when Kent was snowed in two winters ago. And other stories just like it. Unless you live with driving in harsh winter conditions every winter you cant understand the importance of winter tyres really.
winter tyres for me this winter .
Justified themselves in the last 7 days with snow and ice we had
general grip in lower temps a lot better as well
Winter tyres increase stopping distances in warm dry weather and they also aquaplane more than summer tyres for thease reasons if you have an accident in summer on winter tyres you might have problems with your insurance company.
Its not about the tyres its about the drivers, and the reality is most drivers in the UK cannot drive in good conditions, let alone ice and snow, and i drive 60-80,000 miles annually so see it all.
Winter tyres do work, but at what price, correct driving for the conditions is much more effective, and winter tyres suffer from many traits such as rapid wear in warm conditions and lack of grip outside their working temperatures. In addition you have the expense of buying another set of tyres and storing them, then having them changed at least twice a year. Tyres only last 5 years so many winter tyres will be sat for most of the year and be thrown away with barely any use, not exactly environmentally friendly, but very good for manufacturers profits.
It's all down to having a bit of intelligence and buying the right car in the first place.
Furthermore, when I had rear wheel drive cars in the past, I just loaded up the boot with scrap iron and cement bags to get some grip and again had no trouble. So, winter tyres would just be an expensive luxury here in the UK.
We just need to think more carefully what we are doing and where we are going and plan ahead!
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