Winter tyres: 5 tips to help you decide if they are for you or not
With today's winter weather sweeping into Britain, you're probably thinking whether it's safe to drive on the roads using your existing tyres.
You could fit snow chains to your tyres. But, they are no good if the snow on the roads is too thin.
A much better solution is to consider fitting winter tyres to your car.
But, before you buy any, read these five tips from Debra Willians, CEO at Motokiki, the tyre comparison site, to help you decide if winter tyres are for you.
Do winter tyres make a difference?
Winter tyres do make a difference when you use them in the right conditions. You should use winter tyres when the temperature is below 7 degrees C.
The rubber in them contains more silica than regular tyres. The extra silica means the tyres are more flexible in cold conditions when ice and snow cover the roads.
Consequently, winter tyres give you better braking and handling performance than regular tyres. You reduce your braking distance using winter tyres in the right conditions.
Debra states that winter tyres are ideal for people who live or travel through remote areas of the country. You can spot a winter tyre from its 'snowflake symbol'.
When's the best time to fit winter tyres?
It's best to fit them when the temperature is consistently below 7 degrees C. A single, sharp drop in the temperature means it's unlikely to be worth fitting winter tyres for a short time.
The coldest months in the UK when that's likely to occur is between November and February. But, it's common to have wintry weather in March.
How do you store winter tyres?
When you're not using them, you should take them off your vehicle and keep winter tyres inside. Debra recommends you don't leave them on outside and unused for more than a month.
When you store them, note which pair you had on the front and rear of your car so you can rotate them next winter. That means you will wear them evenly.
Also, rinse the tyres off with fresh water to minimise any corrosion caused from winter gritting. Then dry them and, ideally, store them in individual protective bags.
Where's best to store winter tyres?
Keep winter tyres out of direct sunlight when you store them. Also, keep them away from direct heat sources. Direct heat will cause them to dry out and crack.
Avoid putting the tyres on any corrosive substances like grease, petrol or diesel. That way, you'll avoid spoiling your winter tyres.
What about short and long term storage?
In the short term, stack your winter tyres in piles of up to 4 feet high. Don't put them directly on the floor. Keeping them off the floor will minimise the potential of contact with corrosive substances.
A long term storage solution for winter tyres is a rack. Hang the tyres vertically and keep a 4-inch gap between them and the floor.
How much do winter tyres cost?
We checked the price of winter tyres for a Peugeot 308 SW. The cheapest winter tyre we found was just over £81 each. The cost of winter tyres for your car will vary.
Find out how much they will cost for your car using the Motokiki website here: www.motokiki.com