Tread carefully – do you need winter tyres?

19 October


When the seasons change so do road conditions.

Tyres that were perfect for June’s hot, dry roads aren’t quite as perfect for November’s cold, wet surfaces. So should UK business drivers switch to special winter tyres at this time of year?

Winter tyres have a different tread pattern and softer rubber consistency that improves braking, grip and steering in temperatures below 7 degrees C. This means that winter tyres are much more effective than ‘normal’ tyres in the snow, ice, wet and cold.

In parts of Europe it’s common, and sometimes a legal necessity, to have two different sets of tyres for the summer and winter. But before you rush to change the tyres of your entire fleet it’s worth weighing up the pros and cons.

The pros are obviously the better suitability of winter tyres to severe conditions. No-one wants to compromise on the safety of their fleet but there are plenty of cons, however.

Firstly, the cost and time of buying, changing and storing the tyres could be at least £500 per vehicle, often a lot more. It could be a prohibitive cost for a small company with lots of vehicles.

And how much driving do your vehicles do in the worst winter conditions? The average daytime temperature in some UK areas doesn’t often fall below 7 degrees at any time of year. The optimum type of tyre is very different for driving in Cornwall than it is for those travelling in the Scottish Highlands. Note that when it’s warm, winter tyres adversely affect handling. They won’t brake and grip as well in mild conditions.

So it depends on where your business operates and what types of driving your vehicles have to perform. It might be more cost-effective to fit top quality all-year tyres that perform well across all British conditions. Or stick with your normal summer tyres and carry snow chains, which can be fitted if you really get stuck in a snowstorm. 

Why not discuss your tyre requirements with the experts at Britain’s largest comprehensive tyre service provider? Allstar has teamed up with ATS Euromaster so you can now use your fuel card to pay for tyres at any of its service centres across the country. ATS currently have several special discounts available on new tyre purchases.

Find further details from the AA.

Share this article