There are plenty of reasons to consider buying winter tyres:
• It’s the law: to use winter tyres in some colder European countries.
• The colder, the more effective: made from specially formulated tread rubber, winter tyres make it easier for you to control your car on icy and snowy roads.
• Strong traction: winter tyres have wide tread blocks and extra cuts in the tread called ‘sipes’ that give the tyre extra bite to grip winter roads, hills and sharp corners, and get rid of build-ups of snow.
• Confidence and control: most drivers find that winter tyres give them that extra security when they’re driving in challenging winter conditions.
• Cost effective: Summer tyres wear out quicker than winter tyres in cold temperatures.
• Ice Zones: a tread with numerous biting edges that gives you enhanced gripping traction, particularly on icy and slippery roads.
• Winter Grip Tread Compound: a tread compound that offers enhanced traction on ice and snow-covered roads from season to season.
• 2D Blades in the Centre Zone: these blades make stopping and starting on snow and ice easier
An EU tyre label gives you information about safety and environmental features, and all new tyres come with one. However, it doesn’t cover winter performance characteristics, so as well as asking your local dealer, it’s a good idea to seek out some independent tyre tests.
You can recognise a winter tyre by the 3PMSF mountain snowflake symbol on its sidewall.
Always buy a full set
Mixing winter and summer tyres can make slippery conditions more dangerous and affect how well your vehicle handles, especially if the tyres have different tread patterns and performance features.
Cared for properly, your winter tyres will last as long as your summer tyres. Store them in special bags, on their sides (never tread-side down). If you don’t have the space to keep them where you live or work, your dealer might know somewhere you can store them.
If winter tyres are a legal requirement, note down the date you need to have them fitted.
Driving in snow, slush and ice brings its own problems. Here are a few tips to consider:
You shouldn’t exceed the maximum speed that your vehicle recommends for winter tyres – it’s often lower than that of summer tyres.
Check your tyre pressure and tread depth regularly. Goodyear recommends a minimum tread depth of 4mm for winter tyres to ensure optimal performance, but in colder countries where using winter tyres is mandatory, tread depth will be specified by law.
Spinning your wheels can dig the vehicle deeper into the snow.
If you have anti-lock brakes, keep a steady pressure on the brake pedal instead.
Braking distances increase in snow and icy conditions.
They are well known locations for icy patches, so lift your foot slightly off the accelerator when going over them.
There’s a danger you’ll just end up deeper in a hole. Use the lowest possible gear and rock the tyres back and forth until you’ve got enough forward motion to push yourself forward.
You’ll need all the concentration you can muster in heavy snowy conditions. Don’t take calls or do anything else that could distract you.