As we approach the colder months, road surfaces start to become a little more challenging and drivers must adapt the way they drive to ensure that their passengers, other road users, and indeed, themselves remain safe on the road.
One way to do this is with the addition of winter tyres. This tyre is specifically created to handle the more slippery and dangerous conditions that colder weather brings.
Are they worth it, though? Our cars cost a lot to run and maintain as it is. Should we be investing in these additional safety measures, or is it something a driver could easily do without? In this edition of our blog, we take a look at winter tyres and whether they are worthwhile.
Winter tyres are often thought of as the type that helps you battle through snowy conditions and help you grip the road via studs or chains attached to the tyre itself. This is perhaps where the confusion often arises over whether they are worth investing in. In the UK we don’t have huge amounts of snow to tackle, and ice, compared to many countries, is relatively minor. As a result, some drivers don’t consider winter tyres at all, believing the road conditions encountered in the UK don’t merit them.
However, it is this confusion that can lead to accidents. Winter tyres are designed to assist drivers when temperatures are low and the roads slippery. They are not snow or ice tyres. Giving drivers extra traction and grip when it gets a little colder, these tyres are made differently from summer and all-weather tyre types.
Made from a softer compound, winter tyres have deeper grooves and more of them compared to other tyres. This helps displace any water, snow, or slush that may be on the road surface.
This soft compound that constitutes the make-up of the tyre allows it to stay more flexible on the roads, therefore reducing slip and increasing grip. A summer tyre would become extremely tough and rigid in cold weather and as a result, slide and skid on the road much more.
There is no reason why you can’t, but it does not come as advised. Winter tyres work best when the ambient temperature is lower than 7oC and will work in any weather condition, not just when it is wet or snowy. They will even provide more grip than summer tyres on a dry road when the temperature remains at 7oC or less. Once the temperature goes above this, your winter tyres will struggle and will end up wearing out very quickly. This will then see you having to buy a new set of tyres to replace the ones that would have given you great benefits in the colder months.
Summer tyres are certainly not advised for use in winter weather. They are not built to work in lower temperatures and without the deep tread and additional groove of winter tyres, your summer tyre could find it a struggle. As mentioned earlier, a winter tyre is made from a compound that is naturally more flexible whereas a summer tyre is much tougher. This stiffer compound hardens in colder weather, increasing the risk of slips and skids. Not only is there an accident risk but due to the compound hardening, the tyre is more prone to cracking and splitting, too.
Something that should act as a deterrent from anyone using summer tyres in the winter is that your braking distances can be increased by as much as two times longer than if you were driving on winter tyres. This vastly increases the likelihood of an accident.
Winter tyres can vary quite dramatically in cost. It all comes down to the manufacturer, your car and the size of the tyre required. On average, prices for both winter and summer tyres are more or less the same and that can be seen as a large expense at first. It is perhaps worth looking at the positives that this additional investment can bring. Not only will you be keeping yourself safer on the roads, but you won’t need to be spending again when summer comes around. By swapping out your tyres, you naturally extend their lifespan.
Additional costs may come from the fitting, but it would be advisable to ensure your winter tyres are fitted by a professional to help you avoid any issues with them.
Weather in the UK is truly variable. Our summers can feel like winters at times, and then come winter, an unusually high temperature can be recorded. This is another reason winter tyres are a worthwhile investment as you can make the change to your car as soon as you feel it necessary without being caught out by a surprise change in climate.
As a rule of thumb, winter tyres are likely to give you far better results than summer tyres between November and March.
At present, there is no law in the UK stipulating that you must add winter tyres to your car. Abroad, however, it’s a very different story – you can receive huge financial penalties if you keep summer tyres on your car at certain times of year.
There is no law over the use of winter tyres, so you certainly could mix the two on your vehicle, although this is certainly not advised. With two vastly varying levels of grip, you could be much more likely to be involved in an accident as you struggle to understand the handling of the vehicle.
All-weather, or all-season tyres as they are often referred to, are tyres specifically made for climates like those we see in the UK. In dry weather with warm temperatures, they offer good grip but won’t turn hard like summer tyres do when the weather gets colder. With plenty of grooves cut into them too, they work well when the roads get a little wet or slippery. This type of tyre is therefore often chosen over winter or summer tyres by many drivers. However, this can be problematic. In the warmer weather, the winter elements of the tyre hinder optimum performance, and in the winter, the features that make the tyre great for the summer, restrict it from performing how a winter tyre should.
Furthermore, the year-long use means the potential for wear is vastly increased which could see an additional spend that you didn’t plan for.
Whether you opt for winter tyres or all-weather tyres, it is worth weighing up the benefits of both. Not only could you save yourself money, but you could be protecting yourself and other road users too.
At Euphoria Finance, all of our used cars on finance undergo stringent tests to ensure that you will be safe on the road from the moment you start the engine. This detailed check includes everything to give you full confidence in not only us, but your vehicle, too.
As a direct lender, we work with you to make sure that whether you’re looking for new drivers car finance or car finance for poor credit score, a car purchase is still possible. With each application worked out on a case-by-case basis, we look at your individual circumstances to build a bespoke car finance quote just for you. Get a quick car finance quote today.