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Understanding winter tyresBack

WinterTyresWinter is certainly kicking in now and with everyone feeling the bite, it is well worth thinking about preparing your car for the snowy and icy weather, to avoid being caught out.

Between the coldest months of December to February last year, the AA actually rescued 7,700 vehicles stuck in the snow, ice and mud, so not only does it pay be prepared but it is also well worth making sure you are a member of a driver assistance company such as the AA or the RAC.

One of the main causes of small accidents on the roads last winter was the result of cars skidding off the road whilst on ice, and of the figure, the AA has said that almost half of these accidents could have been avoided if the vehicles had been properly maintained or had been fitted with winter tyres.

One of the best ways you can prepare your vehicle for winter is to invest in some winter tyres, yet many drivers believe that if they are driving cars such as SUVs they don’t need this sort of tyre – but that is where they are wrong.

Guy Frobisher, marketing director for Continental, says: “Most people think ‘I’ve got an SUV, I’ll be alright if it snows’. They’re wrong. Accidents involving SUVs on summer tyres in slippery conditions are worse than those on a standard saloon because they’re heavier. People think cars make the difference. Actually it’s the tyres.”

One of the biggest misconceptions about winter tyres is that they are not suitable for all-year-round driving but they are in fact absolutely fine to drive on in the warmer months. The way winter tyres are designed is to offer a tread compound which is designed to generate grip on the roads at temperatures below 7 degrees celcius. If you wear winter tyres in the summer the disadvantages are that the tyres may wear away more quickly and this in turn may cause your fuel intake to increase.

A further disadvantage of winter tyres is the cost that you will pay to get them fitted. For example, an Audi A6 Allroad will cost around £2,000 to fit 4 new winter tyres – it is not the cost of the tyres which is the issue but more how they are fitted. Cheaper options include fitting the tyres to steel wheels.

However, if you live in the countryside, the investment in winter tyres is worth it. After all, if it comes down to a decision between paying out more money for your insurance premium and/or repair costs for a damaged car, or investing in some solid winter tyres to keep you safe on the roads this winter, I know which one I’d choose.


Posted by Leana Kell on 25/11/2013