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Winter Tyres

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Dai Fledermaus27/11/2013 11:27:39
1057 forum posts
52 photos

If someone told me that a two wheel car fitted with winter tyres had much better traction that a four wheel drive car fitted with standard ( summer ) tyres I'd have said they were dreaming, but here is the proof :-


chris basson27/11/2013 11:38:55
168 forum posts
7 photos
A 2 wheel car???
Surely that's a Motorbike!?! :-P

Link not working at no BTW!

Bob Cotsford27/11/2013 11:57:39
8382 forum posts
463 photos

Link works for me! £800 a set for branded winter tyres, plus a spare set of rims or tyre fitting charges to swap twice a year - that's quite an investement to gamble on us getting more than a couple of days with snow on the roads!

avtur27/11/2013 12:23:36
883 forum posts
20 photos

I don't doubt that winter tyres perform better than 'normal' tyres, there is plenty of evidence to prove the case.

Personally I haven't gone down that road because of the outlay, I have a couple of friends who have bitten the bullet and invested the extra money in having a second set of rims fitted with winter tyres. Buying is a one off cost once you have them you can only use one set at a time so the use/wear is being shared across two sets so replacement of either set becomes less frequent, so the running cost isn't any greater.

We all have to make a choice and my choice is simply based on outlay and affordability; and with 4 cars in the family that would be quite an outlay. Trying to risk assess which of the four cars would be more deserving (if I didn't fit them to all cars) is not an exercise I want to do.

Vecchio Austriaco27/11/2013 12:45:27
1498 forum posts
707 photos

As I lived 40 years in Austria and 11 years in the North of Italy I have some experience - there is a real difference between standard and winter tyres. The UK is in the lucky situation that the normal winter sees snow only for a few days per year - and no snow at all in some of the years - of course if we leave out the northern parts.
And about 4-wheel drive - I had 4 winter tyres on my Antara before I moved to the UK - probably the 4WD helps you not to get stuck - but not when you would like to brake

Living in MK now I do not invest into winter tyres - during the last 3 winters I didn't have a lot of problems.



Edited By Vecchio Austriaco on 27/11/2013 12:46:15

John F27/11/2013 12:55:18
1316 forum posts
51 photos

As Vecchio says, we don't get anywhere near enough snow to warrant winter tyres.

I know of several folk who replace their tyres every year, claiming it helps, when there is no mention of winter driving but snow only in the video. This leads me to conlcude that on normal UK roads they don't offer much other than be useful if I want to get to the top of a snowy hill.

I doubt I could warrant that kind of money simply for driving six feet off my snowy drive onto the lovely snowploughed road twice a year.

Paul McCaughey27/11/2013 13:32:09
110 forum posts
11 photos

i finally got some for my car last year and i will be fitting at least a pair of them every year. i am in a city but venture further to visit family etc and will be doing about 1kmiles over festive period.

winter tyres are not just for driving in snow. the rubber compound used is different and as a result it improves grip in low temperatures/icy conditions. winter tyres will give shorter breaking distances in colder conditions than normal tyres.

granted, they are expensive new but there are part worn tyres out there which are also a good option. don't buy anything with a low tread depth as they will become less effective in the snow as the groves are to shallow to hold the snow. also don't buy remould winters as they won't have the right rubber compound used as part of the remould process.

it's also possible to pick up cheap winter steel or alloy wheels. most cars now run fairly large alloys but it's possible to fit a smaller wheel to the car and fit a bigger profile tyre. i.e. i run 19" on my golf during summer but run 17" in winter. 17" gives cheaper tyre choice.

Dave Bran27/11/2013 13:35:23
1896 forum posts
5 photos
Posted by John F on 27/11/2013 12:55:18:

I doubt I could warrant that kind of money simply for driving six feet off my snowy drive onto the lovely snowploughed road twice a year.

Then you are very very lucky, as councils round here in urban London/Kent during the last few successive periods of bad weather have not bothered to even try to keep the roads (even main routes) open.

Depron Daz27/11/2013 13:35:44
760 forum posts
173 photos

Winter tyres have only really come about in the last few years, so what did we do before then? We drove to the conditions of the road!

Having watched the video in the link, the guy states that the winter tread holds the snow in the tread and allows for more traction, however when you actually see the vehicle driving, the treads are clear.

Personally speaking, I would not buy winter tyres as I do not see the point. I accept that tyre compounds are different and will afford more grip on softer compounds, but careful driving will also greatly improve grip. I see too many people who drive in the same style no matter what the weather. I am an advanced police pursuit driver and driving assessor up to advanced pursuit, and I am a big advocate of safer driving for everyone. I see winter tyres in some cases as an excuse for some people to drive in exactly the same manner as they would in fair weather. I have seen the evidence, I have seen the accidents. Excessive speed for the circumstances (again see below) will not change despite you having winter tyres.

I've ridden motorcycles in several inches of snow without any accidents. People just need to adjust their driving.

Careful driving, adjusting speed and quickness of acceleration, braking and steering will stop you from skidding (this includes losing grip/traction - see below). It's people who do not adjust their driving style in all conditions that have accidents or are unable to move away. If people read Road Craft and took an advanced driving course they would become better drivers.

What is a skid? This is the official definition:

A vehicle skids when one or more tyres loses normal grip on the road causing an involuntary movement of the vehicle. This happens when the grip of the tyres on the road becomes less than the forces acting on them.

The causes of skidding

  • Excessive speed for the circumstances
  • Coarse steering in relation to a speed which in itself is not excessive
  • Harsh acceleration
  • Sudden or excessive braking
The road surface is never the cause of a skid - it is always the driver.

Edited By Depron Daz 393 on 27/11/2013 14:00:16

Vecchio Austriaco27/11/2013 14:48:19
1498 forum posts
707 photos

Do not agree Depron Daz. There are conditions you cannot drive any more with standard tyres as you just cannot get the car moving - no matter how carefull or expirienced you are. In the same conditions you still can drive with winter tyres without any safety issues.

And: - winter tyres are around longer than I live - probably not in the UK, but in Skandinavia and the alpine countries of Europe.


Simon Chaddock27/11/2013 14:54:34
5682 forum posts
3021 photos

Snow fine but drive a winter tyre on nice dry tarmac and see how fast it wears down.

You don't get something for nothing!

Dai Fledermaus27/11/2013 15:02:44
1057 forum posts
52 photos

I think what's interesting here is that there is a common perception that the driver of a 4x4 will always get to his or her destination come hell or high water, well snow and ice anyway. The video seems to show that most 4x4s are no better in adverse weather conditions on normal tyres than your average car. I dare say that if you have a Land Rover or something similar you'll do much better.

Edited By Colin Ashman on 27/11/2013 15:04:01

John F27/11/2013 15:04:14
1316 forum posts
51 photos

Sorry Vecchio but I don't agree. I am a Medic in the RAF. We do offroad training and lots of different terrain driving for roles where we are deployed. The most important thing we have learned is that you don't need specialist tyres, you just need to know how to handle the conditions that you're presented with.

Winter Tyres are going to be fine for snow but have no benefit on a normal, snow less, road thereafter. In fact the winter tyre can have an opposite effect and induce a false expectation of being safer, meaning the driver is still driving in a normal style in conditions that warrant a much more careful and considered approach.

Covering the roads around RAF Flyingdales for a few years taught me that many road users do not adjust their driving according to conditions and quickly pay the price for it.

Vecchio Austriaco27/11/2013 15:05:38
1498 forum posts
707 photos

The real winter tyre is not an all year tyre - you have to change when the cold season finishes. I suppose 90% of the Austrian motorists have for this reason 2 sets of tyres. When you change cars you just sell the winter tyres (or winter wheels if you have them on rims) with your car.


Plummet27/11/2013 15:14:00
1418 forum posts
41 photos

Someone said that Winter Tyres are a new innovation. New? I know that I had a set of "Mud and Snows" for my Mini front wheels in the late 1970s.

One thing that has changed is the footprint of tyres on modern cars. Wheels were quite narrow, so they put plenty of pressure onto the snow and bit into it. Now tyres are often much wider, and have much less pattern on them. With some of them it must be like trying to drive with flat tea trays instead of wheels.

And folk in powerful cars seem to think that spinning the wheels might help!


kc27/11/2013 15:53:17
6418 forum posts
173 photos
Winter tyres? I am tired of winter already! ( good job we have English spelling and not American so we know what we are talking about. )
If winter tyres are so good why dont we use them all year round? It could be that they wear quicker but then the manufacturers would just sell more. It must be because they are worse in normal conditions - maybe increased stopping distance in the wet etc. Therefore on non snowy winter days they may be more hazardous at motorway speeds. So in the snow with winter tyres on you may get down the sideroads more safely but risk a high speed accident on roads that are clear of snow.
Which? /Consumers Assoc tested stopping distance for ordinary tyres which was very interesting due to huge differences revealed. They are due to test winter tyres next month so lets hope they compare stopping distances which is really the difference between having an accident or not.
Dave Miller27/11/2013 15:58:58
341 forum posts
27 photos

The real question is should I fit winter tyres to my Wot 4 or take a chance on the standard units?

Vecchio Austriaco27/11/2013 16:04:47
1498 forum posts
707 photos

Wot about skis? ok, we need the snow first

Not a Wot but an Edge - fun in any case VASeagull edge 540 EP

Old Geezer27/11/2013 16:51:15
670 forum posts

Why then is it compulsory (I am told) to have Winter Tyres fitted if you are resident in Holland for the Winter period?

Martin Harris27/11/2013 16:59:01
9262 forum posts
245 photos
Posted by Plummet on 27/11/2013 15:14:00:

One thing that has changed is the footprint of tyres on modern cars. Wheels were quite narrow, so they put plenty of pressure onto the snow and bit into it. Now tyres are often much wider, and have much less pattern on them. With some of them it must be like trying to drive with flat tea trays instead of wheels.

And folk in powerful cars seem to think that spinning the wheels might help!


Absolutely agree Mr P

I used to enjoy winter conditions and prided myself on getting up hills where others were sliding to a halt with wheels spinning madly, by controlling the throttle properly - seeking out quiet car parks to practice my car (or more usually van) control when the snow fell and sensible people who didn't have to be out were toasting their toes in front of their fires.

Fast forward a year or two to when I bought a "modern" front wheel drive car with relatively wide low aspect ratio tyres and the rotten thing baulks at quite modest slopes, requiring route re-planning or extreme efforts to mount them...and when it does snow, sitting in miles of traffic jams while hordes of others obviously encounter similar problems with the slightest of inclines.

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