As the Winter months approach, we start to think about the possibility of real winter weather; sheets of snow and ice blanketing the roads and pavements. Whether the idea of this makes you giddy with excitement or fills you with dread, everyone should think about the preparations that need to be made to make sure you’re ready for potential cold spells.
Are your oil, windscreen wash, and engine coolant levels all topped up? Are you stocked up on de-icer and ice scrapers for those icy mornings? And what about your tyres? Winter Tyres are a good investment for cold weather as they make handling your car on snow and ice much easier. If you have all season tyres fitted on your car, you may be able to stick with these, but it will depend on the specific conditions you will be driving in.
Let’s take a look at some of the differences between Winter Tyres and all season tyres, along with their benefits, to see which you should use for the upcoming winter.
Winter tyres are designed specifically to perform well in wet and icy conditions, prepared to drive through heavy snow, slush, and ice. The tread rubber is more flexible than other tyres so that it does not stiffen up in cold temperatures. This allows them to maintain their grip on the road even in cold conditions. The depth of the tread is also deeper in order to reduce the build-up of snow and maintain traction.
The biting edges on winter tyres also improves traction on the ice. The better traction on winter tyres improves acceleration, braking distance, and cornering. This reduces the risk of road accidents because cars are less likely to lose control around corners or travel further than intended when breaking on slippery road surfaces.
All Season Tyres
Generally speaking, all season tyres are designed to suit driving conditions all year round, so they are easy to drive in both wet and dry conditions. However, they are not specialised to any particular condition. So, they can handle dry conditions better than winter tyres, but not as well as summer tyres, and they can handle wet, snowy conditions better than summer tyres, but not as well as winter tyres.
Their asymmetric tread patterns allow for improved grip in dry conditions and improved traction in wet conditions. They are designed to be more comfortable and quieter to drive on compared to specialised season tyres. The tread life of all season tyres is also usually longer than summer or winter tyres.
If you live in a country where the winters are very cold, where heavy snow and icy roads are almost inevitable, then a good set of winter tyres is a necessity. It will lead to much safer and easier driving conditions during these months. However, if your winters are milder and heavy snow is a rarity, like in the UK, then you could survive the winter with the same all season tyres, preventing you from having to change your tyres twice each year. Cold spells can still happen, though, even if they’re not common, so make sure you check the forecast for the season ahead to see if heavy snow is predicted.
If you do opt for winter tyres, make sure you change them out with the seasons. Driving on winter tyres all year round will not only lead to poorer handling, but they will also wear out much quicker, so it won’t be long before they need replacing.
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