With winter already here and snow experienced recently by many people in the UK, many motorists will be asking themselves whether they should switch to winter tyres from their current summer tyres.
My advice would be a categoric yes as the benefits in traction, braking capability and overall safety have to be experienced to be believed. Once you have driven on good quality winter tyres on snow, or even on damp days when the temperature is below 7C, you will not want to go back to using summer tyres in the winter.
Winter tyres work because they are made from a much softer compound than summer tyres so that when the temperature drops they stay softer, and give more grip, than summer tyres. They also have “snipes” cut into the tread pattern that allows snow to accumulate in the tyre and then the snow in the tyre grips with the snow on the road. The deeper grooves in winter tyres also help to disperse water more quickly.
Because they are softer they will wear more quickly on warm (over 7C) roads than the summer tyre and of course in those conditions the summer tyre will perform better than the winter counterpart. However, because you will be driving in wet weather more often in the winter the wear pattern between winter and summer tyres will be very similar overall. As long as you are not planning to change your car soon (or even if you did you could sell your winter tyres with the car as a second set) then it is a “no-brainer” to drive on winter tyres in the UK during the months of late November through to March.
Please note these comments are purely the personal opinions of the writer, Colin Smith, and cannot be relied on in a Court of Law