Winter Tyres: Do you really need them?

Although the weather in the UK is constantly unpredictable, one thing you can count on is that there will be patches of icy and cold winter weather. Winter tyres are not mandatory in the UK, but some car owners opt to use them in order to tackle such weather – especially those who live further north or in the Scottish Highlands where it is more likely to be snowy.

So, are winter tyres worth it? And should you invest in some? Let’s take a look at the most frequently asked questions about winter tyres…

What are winter tyres?

These cold weather tyres are made to perform well on rain, ice and snow. Their softer compound and tiny grooves make it easier for them to grip to cold roads in such terrains. Winter tyres work best when the temperature is below 7 degrees.

Do I need winter tyres?

It’s completely up to you. If you live somewhere that usually endures bad winter weather, then winter tyres are usually a safer option than normal tyres. They might also give you more peace of mind. Just be sure to switch and store them properly when the seasons change.

What are the laws around winter tyres?

In Sweden, winter tyres are compulsory from the beginning of December to the end of March. In Austria, they must be fitted between 1 November and 15 April or you face a €5,000 fine. But in the UK, there is no legal requirement to use winter tyres.

Can I use winter tyres in summer?

It is not recommended to use winter tyres in summer. This is because winter tyres generate less grip and traction than summer tyres in warmer weather and so they’ll be less safe to drive with. Driving in the summer might also wear winter tyres out more quickly.

When should I change to winter tyres in the UK?

If you do decide to buy winter tyres, the optimal times to change them is November and April – as this period is when the temperature is most likely to drop.

How much are winter tyres?

Be aware that winter tyres will likely be more expensive than normal tyres – the difference in price will depend on the brand and size that you opt for.

Are there any winter tyre alternatives?

Four-wheel drive offers more grip than a two-wheel drive, but it is also more expensive. They also don’t provide as much grip as winter tyres. You might instead consider a set of snow socks or snow chains. Snow socks are high-grip fabric covers that fit over the car’s wheels, while snow chains are a harder-wearing steel alternative.

If you have any more questions about winter tyres, please do not hesitate to ask a member of our team.