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Winter Tyres: A Complete Guide

How are winter tyres made?

Winter tyres contain more natural rubber and, hence, are comparatively softer than summer tyres. This helps them to be more flexible and have better traction on the road, especially during the winter season.

The moment the temperature falls below 7°C, the handling of summer tyres becomes poor, whereas winter tyres remain soft and offer good traction below 7°C. 

 

You need winter tyres if:

 

  • It is mandatory by law in the country where you live or drive.

  • The temperature in the region where you live frequently falls below 7°C.

  • You live in an isolated area where roads are at risk of being covered with heavy snow.

  • You rely on your car during cold weather conditions.

 

view off road car with winter weather conditions

How do winter tyres work?

 

Winter tyres or cold weather tyres are good not only for snow but also for rain, ice, and even normal winter roads that are dry but frosty. Winter tyres are made from a softer compound of rubber than summer and all-season tyres because the rubber becomes harder during the colder seasons.

This assists them in gripping the roads better. Winter tyres are produced with lots of tiny grooves that dig into snow, ice, and sludge. These grooves rapidly drain water from the tyre and thus enhance traction and braking.

The deeper grooves collect snow, which helps the tyre provide better traction and also moves water away from the treads so that the car does not slide across the wet surface like on the water (this is known as aquaplaning).

 

What are the advantages of winter tyres?

 

  • They have good traction on cold surfaces regardless of the condition of the surface, whether wet, dry, snowy, or icy.

  • Winter tyres are those that collect the snow in their groves, while summer tyres cannot do so and therefore cannot grip the snowy roads.

  • They have more contact area, which clears more water away from the road, and therefore they offer more control in wet conditions.

  • They remain soft in cold temperatures, so they can be used for a longer time compared to summer tyres, hence making them cost-effective.

 

What are the disadvantages of winter tyres?

 

  • Winter tyres are ideal for use in cold climates, while summer tyres have better performance in hot climates. Therefore, if the temperature rises above 7°C, it is better to replace winter tyres with summer ones.

  • It is expensive since one has to buy both the winter and summer tyres and also store the spare ones. And while in some countries you are forced to fit winter tyres, in others, all-season tyres may be the best solution.

  • If you live in areas where you get severe winters, it is recommended to opt for winter tyres. Still, if you reside in an area where climates are not freezing and the use of winter tyres is not mandatory, it is better to switch to the use of summer or all-season tyres.

 

What do the symbols mean on winter tyres?

 

Winter tyres have two important symbols: M+S and a snowflake on a mountain.

1. M+S (Mud and Snow)

 

This symbol indicates that this tyre has superior control and braking in ‘mud and snow’ than the summer tyre. You can find it on all-season and winter tyres, but not on summer ones since the high temperature will cause the tyre to start decaying.

 

2. Three Peak Mountain Snowflake (3PMSF)

 

This symbol indicates the tyre’s approval for a special test of snow performance according to EU Regulation 661/2009. This symbol is only seen on winter tyres.

Explore a wide range of winter tyres ranging from budget and mid-range to premium tyre brands at Tyre Savings Centre.