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Are winter tyres worth it?

Date: Mon 4th December 2017   |   Author: Modeten

We explain how they work and if they’re worth their value

Winter is fast approaching and before long we’ll have our first snowfall; if you’re on higher ground you may already have had it. Snow and ice can cause all kinds of disruption on the roads and if you’re not properly prepared it can have a significant impact on your life and work.

One way to minimise disruption is by fitting a set of winter tyres to your car, but they come at an a extra cost. In this blog post we look at a range of factors and ask: “Are winter tyres worth it?”

Why are winter tyres better?

According to the main tyre manufacturers, winter tyres can stop between 11 and 8 metres sooner driving at 30mph in icy or snowy conditions. But before you start deciding if winter tyres are worth it, it’s important to understand why they are better in winter weather.

Firstly, they have a deeper tread that offers more grip. Unlike a standard tyre which has between 7mm and 8mm of grip from new, a winter tyre starts from between 8 and 9mm of grip. As well as being deeper, the grooves are also wider which allows the tyres to grip the snow better rather than slipping on the surface of the tyre.

Winter tyres also contain a higher ratio of natural to synthetic rubber. This allows the tyres to stay soft in colder conditions unlike silica which hardens when cold.

If you’re still unsure of whether winter tyres actually work, it’s worth pointing out that in countries such as Germany, Sweden and Austria where the weather can be extreme, winter tyres are compulsory.

How much do winter tyres cost?

Generally speaking winter tyres cost the same as normal tyres, but the added cost comes in replacing them. If you currently have summer tyres and you want to change to winter tyres you’ll have to pay to take the tyres off your wheels and replace them with winter tyres. If you change back to summer tyres in the summer, it will cost you to change back.

If you intend to use winter tyres in the winter and summer tyres in the summer, you could  have a spare set of wheels to have loaded with winter tyres ready to go. This can be a big expense though so it’s good to know you’re going to make use of them in the long run.

Are winter tyres worth it?

When deciding whether winter tyres are worth the extra money and effort that they cost, it’s worth considering a number of factors, including:

  1. Your location.
  2. How much you use your car.
  3. Your job or needs.
  4. Public transport options.

Location

If you live on higher ground that’s more susceptible to snow then you’ll obviously have more use for your tyres. It’s also worth considering how well the roads are gritted in your destination and how dangerous they can be to drive on in the winter. People in a city centre may rarely experience standing snow on the roads, so it might not be worth the excess outlay.

How much you use your car

If you use your car every single day then the chances of been caught in the snow are greater than if you rarely use it. It’s also worth considering that you’ll be more inconvenienced should you not be able to drive in the snow.

Your job or needs

If you have a job where people are relying on you to be in work, whatever that may be, then winter tyres may be the difference between being able to make it and not being able to make it.

Public Transport Options

If you live in a city or location where public transport, or even walking, is a convenient option should you be snowed in one morning, then you might consider a change of tyres less necessary. However, the more money that you spend on the train or bus, the more you might wish you bought some winter tyres!