As the temperature continues to drop, many drivers will be wondering whether it’s worth investing in a set of specialist winter tyres. It’s been the source of plenty of debate in recent years, but recent warmer winters caused plenty of people to go back the other way, writing them off as a waste of money and wondering what all the fuss was about in the first place.
Just what are the facts surrounding winter tyres, though, and is it worth owning a set here in the UK? Here’s our guide.
What is a winter tyre?
There are three main types of tyre one might consider using on the road in the UK. One is the summer tyre; this is what the majority of British drivers use and what you might think of as a “normal” tyre.
Summer tyres have a relatively hard compound, which means they soften off in milder temperatures to provide lots of grip – most of the time, reckoned to be above 7oC. That, however, makes them less useful when the temperature drops below that figure, when they’re too hard and can’t provide enough grip.
Winter tyres, more accurately called “cold weather” tyres, feature a snowflake symbol on the side, and are made from a softer compound. That means they’re still soft enough to provide the grip you need in temperatures below 7oC. They also have a different tread pattern, with fine grooves or “sipes” cut into each tread block that bite into the snow better.