Winter Tyres, Are They Worth It?

With the colder climes approaching. Is it worth your while buying tyres just for the weather?

It’s almost December. It’s cold but not freezing or snowing yet, so should you put winter tyres on your car?
This is a question many of us ask ourselves. Tyres aren’t cheap but on the other hand how much is your car worth? Or your time? Or your safety? Winter tyres aren’t just for snow. If you live in Europe you may have noticed in the last few years we are getting progressively wetter Autumn and Winter seasons. Winter tyres are also a great help in the wet. Their deeper and wider groove patterns and more intensely based sipes mean your tyres can shift more water and this makes aquaplaning much less likely to occur. They also utilise much softer rubber compounds designed to give better grip at lower temperatures, this is essential when it’s frosty or icy on the roads. A combination of these 2 factors means that they are far better in the snow than equivalent standard/summer tyres.

You can identify winter tyres by the symbols embossed on the sidewalls. These are either the ‘M+S’ (mud and snow) symbol or the three peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) marking.

Whether you need them or not of course depends on many factors. Where you live and where you work probably being the biggest of them all. If you only have a short commute or can possibly walk to work when needed then winters are probably not a worthwhile investment for you. Another factor is where do you store your other set of tyres?

But if you live in the countryside or the mountains winter tyres are really a necessity. They must be fitted in winter by law in many European countries too. Consider this if you are ever travelling on the continent in winter.