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Winter VS. Summer Tyres – why should you consider changing them over?

With the previous few years bringing in cold winters to the UK, you may be wandering if it is about time to purchase that set of winter tyres.

What is the difference between the two tyres?

Summer tyres or what most people would call ‘normal’ tyres are what most Brits have fitted on their cars year round. These are made out of a hard compound which is soft at warmer temperatures, usually anything over 7oC. However under 7oC these tyres harden up causing them to have a weaker grip on the road.

Winter tyres or ‘cold weather’ tyres are made from a softer compound which stays soft at temperatures below 7oC. Not only is the rubber softer but the complex tread pattern helps to grip snowy or wet road surfaces.

So why should you consider changing over to winter tyres?

When applying your brake in the snow you can travel over 3 times the distance in summer tyres than winter tyres. Traction also plays an important role, the complex tread pattern provides a stronger grip enabling a car equipped with winter tyres to accelerate away relatively easily even on snowy roads whereas summer tyres with the poor grip will take a while to get going and may even start to spin if you try to accelerate rapidly.

There are also ‘all-season tyres’. These are a softer compound than winter tyres so are efficient in both mild and cold temperatures. With a deeper tread they also provide some grip in snow and slush down to -5oC. However experts say a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ meaning they are not as efficient as winter tyres in the cold weather or summer tyres in the warm weather.

Experts believe that we should consider using winter tyres for half of the year as they also improve braking in wet conditions. With the months of October to March being the coldest and wettest this may not be a bad idea.

With this in mind and the cold temperatures fast approaching with northern England already experiencing their first snow fall, if you wish to make yourself safer on the road then you should consider investing in some winter tyres.

posted by: Abigail Lavallin 16 November 2016