Stay cool with winter tyres

Even though the worst of the winter has yet to hit us, think back to the last couple of winters to remember how bad the ice and snow was. Can you remember the road conditions and how ill prepared you were for the icy temperatures? Why not prepare now, and invest in a set of winter tyres. The tyres that come fitted to your car are perfect for mild and hot temperatures, and it is only the compounds specifically designed for winter tyres that are up to the job of excelling in cold temperatures, snow, ice and slush.

Diesel Car has teamed up with tyre experts Wheelbase to answer all the burning questions that you may have.

Q – Why should I buy winter tyres?

A – Winter tyres are specifically designed for the cold temperatures and wintry weather. Winter tyres can also greatly reduce your stopping distance in temperatures below seven degrees Celsius, enabling you to get to your destination safely, whether it be cold, wet, icy or with snow on the ground.


Q – What difference will winter tyres make?

A – As well as the obvious advantages of improved grip, increased traction and better turning ability, it also means that you can stop in a shorter distance, compared to summer tyres. In tests, a car travelling at 30mph that was fitted with winter tyres stopped after 35 metres on a winter’s road, while the same car fitted with standard tyres took a further 8 metres, stopping at around 43 metres. This is the difference between having an accident and not, and could be crucial if the object you hit was to be a pedestrian or child. It could be the difference between them surviving or dying.


Q – What about the cost – aren’t they expensive?

A – What price can be put on safety? They are a very good investment, and don’t forget that while you are using the winter tyres, you aren’t wearing out the summer tyres. And you won’t be paying out for accident damage as a result of mishaps that have occurred in the icy weather – that alone could save you hundreds of pounds in damage, or in insurance excesses.


Q – Do I have to replace all four tyres with winter tyres, or can I just do the fronts or rears?

A – Yes, we recommend replacing all four. You wouldn’t go out with one welly boot on, and a summer sandal, would you, so why compromise with your tyres. By replacing all four, you will have good traction all round. Wheelbase offer a wheel and snow tyres package, that saves you the fitting costs of swapping between your winter and summer tyres each time.


Q – But how long will the winter tyres last?

A – It’s difficult to predict exactly, but they’ll roughly last the same sort of time as your summer tyres do. It’ll depend on how many miles you do each year, but typically you should get three winter seasons out of your winter tyres, if you fit them at the correct times.


Q – I’ve heard that my insurance premiums will go up if I go for winter tyres?

A – This isn’t the case with the majority of insurers, although there will always be an exception. Providing you have the correct winter tyres on at the right time of year, your insurance company shouldn’t levy an extra charge. In reality you are acting more responsibly, so why would an insurer choose to penalise you for that? All of the main insures that we contacted don’t charge any extra for Winter Tyres.


Q – I’ve got traction control fitted to my car, so I don’t need winter tyres, do I?

A – Yes you do. Traction control only makes sure that you aren’t overpowering your tyres and cuts power to stop wheel spin. The only way to improve the grip in the cold weather is by choosing winter tyres. They provide better grip, and therefore work side by side with the traction control system.


Q – I’ve got four-wheel-drive, so winter tyres don’t apply to me, do they?

A – While it is definitely an advantage to have all-wheel-drive, you could bolster that package further by fitting winter tyres too – a kind of belt and braces approach.


For more hints and tips, log onto the Wheelbase website.

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