Are they worth it for the price? Have searched the forums and the consesus seems to be yes. I heard of many good reviews of people using them but trying to work out when to bit the bullet and buy a set, or is it too late in the season now to change? Most people I speak to locally say they are a waste of time and money but know that on the contient it is required by law in some countries.
Also where is the best place to get them - my current summer ones are soon be wearing out - would it be cheaper to buy the tyre and put them on the rims myself or buy the entire wheel stright out?
When my wife's car needed new tyres I asked them about better low temperature and wet performance, they recommended some with a compound closer to winter tyres giving some of the benefits. Although we live in the sticks it's never been that bad that we can't get through - although I've never gone a winter on nearly worn out tyres.
In reply to Boulderdash86: I guess it boils down to the type of driving you do and where abouts in the country you drive. Given that some tires can do a good 20k miles, that would be the equivalent of three years motoring for us and since most of that is city driving in standing traffic and it only snows once in a while in Manchester, it makes no sense to us.
In reply to Boulderdash86: I've got them for both cars. I think they are worth it and longer term are pretty much cost neutral. But thats based off me not changing my cars often so I have a spare pair of wheels for each bought off ebay and recon that the cost of that over a few years is negligible and the tyres themselves are a case of if I'm running winter I'm getting longer out of my summer and vice versa. You can then sell teh spare wheels easily enough when you do get rid of a car too.
They work well in colder conditions,not just snow - all tyres are a compromise but it means I'm running decent summer tyres and decent winter, not a compromise on each. Winter are assumed better at ambient temps of about 6 or 7 degrees or less so even in a mild winter they should benefit a bit.
Bought mine off blackcircles (who also do wheel and tyre packages) and got them fited locally (I do the same with summer tyres as the choice is far greater and prices better than the obvious tyre center places). I've had chains in teh past (never really used them, its rarely that bad) and snow socks which are kind of usefull but are also more a get out of jail free card than anything else and a faff to put on and off so I like having the winter tyres as they are on for the 3 or 4 months they may be needed.
In reply to Boulderdash86: in my opinion there worth it the difference isnt just on snowy frosty roads they also work better in general cold temps below 7c. iv found them to be cost effective as i only use them around 5months of the year so this save wear on my summer tyres so it balances itself out in the end. if u have room to store your summer tyres i would just get the tyre only. if you have more to spend and room to keep them a spare set of cheap wheels for the winter tyres would be a good idea.
In reply to Boulderdash86: I've had them the last couple of Winters, and think they are brilliant - not just for snow, which I rarely drive on, but they give much better traction & stopping power even on dry roads, so long as it coldish. 8 deg C or lower I think?
My normal (Summer) tyres are lasting much longer, so really it is just the cost of swapping them over twice a year - normally November and March. I currently get a garage to do it for me, but I'm thinking about getting some cheap wheels and the Winter tyres can stay on those.
Check out the places in your area that specialise in Part Worns usually from Germany.
I had 4 tyres fitted (205 65 15) including 2 winter tyres for the front a continental and a dunlop winter sport for £90.00 that's the price of 1 brand new one
they were quite happy for me to choose which ones i wanted and where they went
In reply to Boulderdash86: Once you've had them there's no going back. West Leeds and the Aire Valley gets gridlocked when it snows. These tyres allow me to navigate all the hilly back roads where no-one wants to go
Due to car change I've 4 x Hankook W310 winter tyres for sale (Leeds / Bradford area). Only covered 5,000 miles last winter.
Size 205/55/16 - £100
In reply to Boulderdash86: Thanks for all the replies I currently drive a Peugeot 206 SW with about 123,000 on the clock (diesel though), so will probably take the plunge and buy some winter tyres, save the last of the summer tread. BTW my tyre size is 195/55R15 H 85 if anyone has some going they want to get rid off or it will be to blackwells.
Bear in mind that those who reply positively on this subject, here or on other forums, are likely to have bought winter tyres so will fairly naturally seek to justify their choice - you notice this on any thread asking for advice, from DSLR cameras to walking poles. People who don't see the need, are not "enthusiasts" will just let the question go by on average so making an objective analysis of the reality is difficult.
All I would say is take a look at the number of cars fitted with winter tyres, in mountain areas they are quite high, in lowland areas, especially with a maritime climate like most of Britain you won't see many. There is probably a good reason for this
Personally I have bought snow chains for each car I have bought, mostly with going to the Alps in mind, and have used them twice in thirty or more years... hardly cost effective, although those two times they were essential as you needed them to get to the ski-staion.
Of course if you like the idea of heading for the white stuff each time it snows for fun then logic doesn't come into it.
In reply to Bruce Hooker: Agree to an extent - but I have made the long term decision that the relatively small outlay (for me, on cars I generally keep long enough for buying wheels etc to be worthwhile) to be minor to me for the greater safety. So yes, most of Britain does manage fine without, but most of Britain also has a nightmare when it snows and I for one hated driving cars with big fat wide low profiles that were utterly, and in my mind dangerously unusable in snowy and icy conditions. With the winter tyres I believe I have greater safety and peace of mind for a small outlay - the cost is probably less than the excess on each of my cars insurance so ignoring all other costs, if they save me ever having one minor shunt they have paid. And as for getting stuck on pathetic hills as I used to and having to get snow socks out, or reverse and find another way round or whatever, I enjoy the convenience and confidence. Plus climbers as a whole, tend to spend slightly more time in their cars in the back of nowhere in bad weather so in my mind I'm at higher risk of needing the benefits than somebody who tootles around town a few miles each day or stays home if the weathers bad. I did it on one car, decided it was a success so did the other this year having tried it out to see what sort of difference it makes.
In France they are quite popular, especially amongst people in areas like Burgundy and any high areas as it gives them peace of mind if they head off to their secondary home each weekend. I know people who swear by them and just change their tyres every winter and back again in the spring... an added cost they think is worth it. On the other hand, for me living in the Paris region, I can count the number of days in which they would have been necessary on two hands, and only once have I turned back because I couldn't drive - that was sheet ice covering the roads after a thaw and a quick frost - if you got out of the car you promptly fell on your arse!
I got a set of studded tyres once - a neighbour was throwing them out, cluttered up the garage for years, never used. On the other hand for skiing a set of chains are worth having or you can find the gendarmes stopping you attempting the last section in the mountains.
So as said already it really depends on where you live and what you want to do... if money is no object then I can see the fun of smugly driving by the jammed traffic, like those who put up with a chuggy old Land Rover all year and have their revenge when the snow falls
In reply to Boulderdash86: Well worth it in my opinion. I decuded to chance a set on my van as I work all over the dales and I am on 24 hour call and the difference they made was astounding, so much so that when I got a new van earlier this year with different sized tyres I bought a new set of winters in preparation for this winter at a cost of £500 just for the rubber.
In reply to Boulderdash86: If you plan on accessing the mountains in winter and want to get up roads that would normally be a no go, then snowtyres are ace. They make a huge difference in terms of traction. If you are just pottering around london, then call a snow day. If you're in the mounatins regularly then its a different story. Of course you can get by with chains, but they are a fiddle to fit and they'll be on and off all the time. The only time you'll get stuck with snow tyres is when the snow is so deep that it grounds out the car completely...
After getting my car stuck a few times when winter climbing I looked at winter tyres. I ended up getting snow chains as the faff of changing winter tyres twice a year, the expense and the lack of times that they would be useful in the UK made chains the more practical option. (I've used them twice since then.)
> Bear in mind that those who reply positively on this subject, here or on other forums, are likely to have bought winter tyres so will fairly naturally seek to justify their choice - you notice this on any thread asking for advice, from DSLR cameras to walking poles. People who don't see the need, are not "enthusiasts" will just let the question go by on average so making an objective analysis of the reality is difficult.
People who have bad experiences are more likely to complain (at least online) than people who have positive experiences, so if Winter tyres were a waste of money you'd find plenty of posts about how they wore out too quickly or caused accidents or whatever the problem was.
At least with tyres it is easy to make objective analysis of braking distances on different surfaces and at different temperatures, wear rates, etc. and there are reviews out there from magazines and websites that compare a wide range of tyres.
> All I would say is take a look at the number of cars fitted with winter tyres, in mountain areas they are quite high, in lowland areas, especially with a maritime climate like most of Britain you won't see many. There is probably a good reason for this
I'd say the main reason is ignorance. People in the UK seem to equate "Winter tyres" with "driving on snow" or think they all have studs in and would only be useful a couple of days a year. Or they think they cost too much money, without factoring in how much longer their normal tyres will last.
While it is nice being mobile on those rare snowy days, the main benefit from my point of view is safety. i.e., better traction & braking on cold roads - whether they are dry, wet, snowy or icy. Just like airbags or seatbelts really.
I haven't investigated how poorly they perform at warmer temperatures though - say it's 12-15C for a couple of weeks in February. Are my Winter tyres going to wear out really fast, and are they significantly worse at braking than my normal tyres at those temperatures?
I'd be interested to know how many days during the winter months are below 7 degrees. People always say they're not just for snow but for cold temperatures, but the weather in the UK is so changeable that you frequently have plenty of days where +7 is not unusual. It was 15 degrees in Aberdeen last Christmas.
In reply to Nick Smith - UKC: I dont know about breaking distance but winter tyres do wear a lot faster than normal ones, I get 25 to 30k out of normal tyres, last years winter set was down to 50% worn at 6k, that was probably a 50/50 split between motorway and back roads, still more than worth it for me though, the cost is nothing compared to the potential loss of customers if I cant get to them.
In reply to Boulderdash86: i wouldnt bother as it will prob void your insurance
i did see an article in evo mag where a rwd jag xf with winter tires was against a lance evo 10 on summer tires on a snowy track.
the jag was over 20 seconds quicker
In reply to mike kann: do you mean winter tyres ? snow tyres are a specialist tyre not usualy available in this country. winter tyres are what we get here in the uk and work better than a summer tyre in any conditions below 7c. the reason a lot of people wont buy winter tyres is cause of the common misconception that they are only needed for snow which just isnt true. full snow tyres wouldnt last long either on dry roads.
In reply to Boulderdash86: The way I see it, winter tyres are a relatively new trend in the UK. 99% of people have no real need for them yet, if the internet is anything to go by, they are becoming more and more common.
I can't help but feel it's a way for tyre/car companies to make money. I'm sure in other climates they have their place, I just don't see it here due to the limited number of days a year the UK becomes like the Alps.
(My reference for this is that my Dad is a bodyshop/parts manager at a Toyota dealership. They had a deal on last winter where by they sold you a set of winter tyres and they changed them over for you at the start and end of winter for free. Before last year, they had never, ever sold any winter tyres yet there was a huge demand for them.)
how could 99% of the people in the uk not need them ? they are a safer tyre in all road conditions when the temp is below 7c or 8c. when will people understand this they are not just for snow ice or frosty roads. braking distances on perfectly dry roads at these temps are very different between winter and summer tyres and even more noticable in wet conditions. and most days in winter at the peak travel times will be below these sort of temps.
In reply to Boulderdash86: I'm not debating they operate better at colder temperature, I just don't see them as a essential in the UK. Millions of people have managed in the UK for millions of journeys over many years without them by driving more sensibly in cold conditions.
In reply to Boulderdash86: and millions more have crashed or been crashed into by some idiot driving to fast for the conditions over the years the biggest difference in winter tyres is being able to perform an emergency stop in winter. another problem that is more recent is more and more cars now have bigger wider low profile tyres which just dont work the same in bad conditions hence the push to try and get more people using safer tyres in this country during winter
In reply to Boulderdash86: Millions of people have been run into the back of by idiots of perfect, warm summers nights. If people drive to close to the car ahead, no tyres in the world will help, no matter the conditions.
In reply to aldo56: So no one bothered to read the links I posted? To quote from one
2) Winter tyres really work
Tirerack tested the Bridgestone Blizzak WS60 winter tyre against the Bridgestone RE050A ultra high performance summer tyre in icy conditions. From just 10mph the winter tyre stopped in 6.4 metres, while the summer tyre needed more than twice the distance to stop at over 14 metres. Imagine the difference from 30 mph.
3) Winter tyres could save you money
Modern cars have big alloys and expensive wide low profile tyres. Once the small outlay of a set of steel rims has been made, winter tyres are often cheaper because of their smaller size. While you're driving on winter tyres, your not wearing out your expensive summer tyres, thus saving you money.
4) ABS doesn't stop your car any quicker
Another false-truth we hear a lot is winter tyres aren't needed thanks to ABS. ABS was designed to allow steering control to be retained while in an emergency situation and will not stop you any quicker in low grip situations.
5) Winter tyres are as comfortable as summer tyres
Yet another myth is a loss of ride comfort, or extra noise thanks to winter tyres. The truth is modern winter tyres are as every bit as comfortable as summer tyres, sometimes more so thanks to an increased profile.
6) Avoiding other people on the road
The number of accidents caused by wet conditions increases in winter by 267%.
7) Cars have changed
It's no secret modern cars have gained a little weight, in fact a MK5 Golf is almost twice the weight of a MK1 Golf. With all that extra weight comes added inertia when trying to change directions or slow down, which gives the tyres much more work to do. To compound the problem many more cars are coming with overly wide sports tyres which have even less chance of slowing the big heavy car.
The statistic of 267% increase in accidents, if true, would suggest something happens during winter that affect driving so people saying that we do not have a severe enough weather might reconsider?
In reply to grumpybearpantsclimbinggoat: Interesting read, I agree with a lot of the points, especially the one regarding wider tyres.
Not sure about the money saver, I don't think buying winter tyres/wheels for my Clio would save me money overall but i'd agree that ABS is a danger in snow, it generally has no idea what's happening!
The 267% stat isn't exactly surprising seeing as it's much darker and there can be plenty of ice on the roads. Am I right in thinking that (unless you have some sort of extreme spiked rally tyres) winter tyres aren't going to help on ice?
In reply to grumpybearpantsclimbinggoat: another consideration is that tyres these days are all about minimising rolling resistance to increase economy, I might be wrong but I cant see how this can be good in snow and ice.
I have to disagree with the comfort quote though, my winter rubber is high end Michelin stuff and it is quite a bit noisier than my summer Michelins, its a small price to pay though.
In reply to Boulderdash86: Bought a pair of winter tyres for the front for 140ps SEAT Altea last winter. The weather immediately improved of course, but I was already noticing the difference at colder temps here on Rhondda/Beacons border.
I always get good tyres (not worth skimping on the bit that sticks you to the road imho), but these seemed quieter and definitely gave improved grip at low temps.
My week in Scotland where there was more snow impressed me even more (and my walking partners), because we drove the car out of serious snowy roads without very little fear on my part on damaging my precious car.
In reply to Boulderdash86: I've done the seperate set of steel wheels and winter tyres for a couple of years now and probably wont go back unless I either (a) give up winter climbing or (b) go and live in a city, neither of those are likely.
After I'd felt the pain of buying them I thought I'd made a big mistake but the amount of times I've had that smug satisfied grin has been surprising. I followed a car home the other day skidding around at 30mph on an A road. I overtook him and sped up to about 50mph and honestly had to try really hard to get the wheels to skid, pressing firmly on the brakes made the car stop, throwing the car violently round the corner at 40 made it go round the corner. They've really shown their worth for the last two trips up north this year as well, both in not getting stuck when others have and just in generally being safer.
It's much easier to regain control from a skid as well, once you've ended up sliding with summer tyres on it's generally game over. With winter tyres on it's much easier to regain control even if you do end up skidding.
Someone mentioned just getting the front tyres winter ones, if you intend to drive anywhere where winter tyres may be an advantage then don't do that. They'll help you out of being stuck but then they'll kill you on the first snowy corner you hit or the first time you use your brakes in an emergency and watch your rear end pass you. You wouldn't put the tyres with the most tread on the front in summer so why do it in winter, when it actually counts.
As a compromise all season tyres are ok, if you're going to run one set all year then basically just avoid anything with a parallel tread pattern.
Funny how all threads seem to go the same way as the bowline shock horror syndrome... what can you say when faced with safety statistics, 3 million 636 people would still be alive in Ealing if they had had winter tyres... you know it makes sense
I met an ex-neighbour of mine who was now working in a local car accessory emporium last year during a cold snow spell. I asked him what he thought about getting some winter tyres ("pneus de neige", which I assumed is the same as winter tyres but apparently it might not be), he smiled and said it was his job to sell them... but frankly, for around Paris... say no more. There's a lot of money to be made though, with rims, storage, changing 8 wheels a year etc... every-one's got to make a living.
To be clear, if I lived in the mountains or needed to be out whatever the weather then I might well have a set, they are already a lot more practical than the old studded tyres and you can still drive fast on dry roads... They don't knacker the roads like studs used to either...
As for the links to people driving Porsches and Jags, if you're on that sort of budget then you wouldn't really worry, "James, put on my winter tyres, I feel a cold spot coming on!"
> (In reply to grumpybearpantsclimbinggoat)
> The 267% stat isn't exactly surprising seeing as it's much darker and there can be plenty of ice on the roads. Am I right in thinking that (unless you have some sort of extreme spiked rally tyres) winter tyres aren't going to help on ice?
from one of the links
In a recent test of Bridgestone's winter tyre against its ultra-high performance summer tyre, stopping distances in icy conditions varied enormously. At 10mph the winter tyre stopped in 6.4 metres while the summer tyre needed more than twice the distance to stop (14 metres). Imagine the difference if you start braking at 30mph.
> (In reply to Boulderdash86)
> Funny how all threads seem to go the same way as the bowline shock horror syndrome... what can you say when faced with safety statistics, 3 million 636 people would still be alive in Ealing if they had had winter tyres... you know it makes sense
We get it Bruce - you don't like facts getting in the way of arguments.
> I met an ex-neighbour of mine who was now working in a local car accessory emporium last year during a cold snow spell. I asked him what he thought about getting some winter tyres ("pneus de neige", which I assumed is the same as winter tyres but apparently it might not be), he smiled and said it was his job to sell them... but frankly, for around Paris... say no more. There's a lot of money to be made though, with rims, storage, changing 8 wheels a year etc... every-one's got to make a living.
Well, there is the proof for the UK. Forget that they have developed the chemistry of silica impregnated rubber that works at lower temperatures, real world tests, simulated tests, met office data, statistics and user comments. What we need to rely on is a single foreign salesman with a chip on his shoulder for advice.
> To be clear, if I lived in the mountains or needed to be out whatever the weather then I might well have a set, they are already a lot more practical than the old studded tyres and you can still drive fast on dry roads... They don't knacker the roads like studs used to either...
> As for the links to people driving Porsches and Jags, if you're on that sort of budget then you wouldn't really worry, "James, put on my winter tyres, I feel a cold spot coming on!"
Any other of the links you'd like to ignore for convenience or highlight out of context?
The 147 days is combined from all the cities, Newcastle had the highest number of days at 129. So the first statistic is a bit misleading, who would have thought it from a company with an interest in selling tyres...
Interestingly Liverpool has the least days below 7 degrees.
> 80 days below 7 degrees in London during commuting hours over a 6 month period. It's not really a v. convincing need
I agree completely.
But even as far South as London, during what was a mild Winter, just fitting them for the 3 months Dec-Feb looks like a winner to me (56/88 days), based on those stats. And up near Leeds more so (77/88 days). And for an average or severe Winter, even more so.
> (In reply to grumpybearpantsclimbinggoat)
> So what you are basically saying is that we should all spend £500 or more extra per year plus the time changing the tyres rather than drive a little slower a few days a year?
Where am I saying this Bruce? I've noted in my first post that I am in favour (from direct experience), I posted links to information, I've, in one post, contradicted your comments and, in one other, agreed that your single man straw poll is more valid than facts. I cannot see where have I endorsed/encouraged others to do the same as me so if you can point it out it would be very much appreciated.
how can u be spending £500 extra per year when the winter tyres are on your summer tyres not being used so costing less in the long run having run winters and summers for 3 years the differnce is minimal the only cost being the change of tyre twice a year.
> how can u be spending £500 extra per year when the winter tyres are on your summer tyres not being used so costing less in the long run having run winters and summers for 3 years the differnce is minimal the only cost being the change of tyre twice a year.
I don't even have the changing cost - I just swap wheels and store the other set in the shed. I bought winters last year but have only paid 50p to top the air pressure up to the correct level this year.
> So what you are basically saying is that we should all spend £500 or more extra per year plus the time changing the tyres rather than drive a little slower a few days a year?
> As you say lets not let facts get in the way!
Second hand set of alloys from ebay - £65
Four winter tyres - £60 a corner (Bought in July to avoid the winter premium that they attract)
Garage costs for swapping winter tyres onto the steel rims I already owned and summer tyres onto the alloys, including balancing - £8 a wheel
Storage - £0
Changing wheels over - 1 hours work at a leisurely pace
Total - £369 initial outlay plus time taken to change wheels over twice a year minus the cost of wear on summer tyres when driving on the winter set. Hardly the £500 a year you're suggesting.
This will only be my second year on these tyres but they're nowhere near worn. I cover ~ 18,000 miles a year.
They are noticably grippier on the road than summer tyres, there is a very slight increase in road noise due to the different tread pattern however I drive a 12 year old 2 litre diesel Peugeot 206 so the noise of the engine tends to win over any noise the tyres are making anyway so that doesn't bother me.
To all those saying how great they: do you think you can tell a difference when driving normally (ie not braking hard, skidding, or sliding)? It seems odd if you can as there is no noticeable difference feel between driving on normal tyres in summer and winter.
Yes you can feel a difference - they feel more secure on anything below 5,7 C. The change is approximately equivalent to getting 4WD in my experience, and in snow I'd rather drive 2WD with winters than 4WD on summer tyes. Mine have a slight increase in noise, but also an increase in comgfort. I have them on for about 5 months a year as they're a legal obligation in Norway and once you've used them you will think they're a really good thing. This part of norway has a climate rather like that of N England but a couple of degrees colder so rain, slush and black are more of an issue than snow, but they feel better on cold wet roads.
The argument that you don't need them if you only do slow urban driving in wet conditions really doesn't stand up as that's what most people here do, and it stops those embarrassing slow speed slides.
I have sets of winter wheels and summer wheels. It takes me about an hour to swap a set over. If I lived in N England I'd say they made perfect sense.
I have driven a set thro' the summer, and performance is fine, but they won't last more than 3 years that way.
For a very good best-of-both worlds tyre the Bridgestone A001 is very hard to beat. All-weather and all-year tyres great grip and, in my case, quieter than the preceeding summer tyres and cost £80-90 a corner. Fit and forget.
So using second hand wheels bought on ebay, discount winter tyres bought in the summer and no spare you still reach £369. For an average person who didn't like second hand wheels and bought tyres as winter came along the £500 would be reached easily.
Anyway each to his own but why pretend that your choice applies to everybody? With decent radial tyres and sensible driving technique most drivers in areas of temperate climate manage very well without winter tyres. It's a bit like 4 wheel drive, nice to have on occasions but hard to justify on a purely objective economical basis for most of us... which doesn't mean I can't understand why someone would choose to possess a 4 wheel drive car because he or she feels like it - it's a free world.
> they are already a lot more practical than the old studded tyres and you can still drive fast on dry roads...
I thought that studded tyres are actually illegal in most European countries? It's definitely a problem for people taking the ferry from here direct to Germany because you must have winter tyres (and for most that is studded) here to drive legally to the ferry port, but they are illegal when you get off at the other end! Not quite sure what the fruit and veg trucks coming through from Holland do in winter.
BTW, you can drive happily at 120 kmph on a dry motorway with studded tyres too. A bit more road noise but that's it.
In reply to Bruce Hooker: its not £500 per year though.... The winter tyres save wear on the summer so as long as you get a few seasons out of them thats fine. And the wheels can be cheap and can then be sold. In my case I bought a set of VX alloys off ebay for less than the value of the rubber on them. So I got a 'free' summer out of the tyres that were on them, then put winter rubber on them. The 6 months on second hand tyres paid for the wheels. For my newer car I paid £500 for brand new manufacturers alloys and tyres that had done the 20 miles from the owner buying the car, taking it home and getting fancy wheels fitted. So for this car I shelled out £500, got £400 of fresh summer tyres waiting for when I need new summer tyres and effectively got brand new alloys to put my winter tyres on for £100. The winter tyres will save wear on summer so they are cost neutral and I can sell the alloys for way more than £100 and even if I didn't, £100 over a few years is negligible.
You may not need winter tyres in Paris, lots of folk here driving in wet slushy and cold conditions, and going to hills regularly probably do. As I said earlier, the costs are minimal if taken over a reasonable period of time (why do you keep talking about the upfront cost in terms of cost per year of something that will last several years?) and they provide greater safety and security which seems worthwhile to me - and a lot of other people. The arguments about 'we never used to....' are bogus - there are way more cars on roads now so less room for error, cars tend to have bigger, wider, lower profile tyres, manufacturers don't want their cars slated in drving reviews so they naturaly put and specify tyres that work well in summer on them... but those tyres do not have tread patterns suitable for winter and the compound is different.
I too have had snow chains and I rarely used them because they are not designed for cold wet slushy roads. Winter tyres are and ina colder maritime climate like Britain thats what we all drive on a fair bit. Awareness of winter tyres has certainly grown recently but at least some of that is because there have been 2 bad winters after a long spell of less bad ones. Will we have more or less? I don't know but I'd rather be prepared, not get stuck, not have an unnecessary accident and the cost per year is probably in tens of pounds and an hour to swap wheels the way I'm doing it. Thats well worth it in my opinion. I may never crash and I may never know whether my winter tyres prevented a crash that summer tyres woudl have caused. I don't care... I may or may not benefit but I know from use, that the car handles better and gets up hills it woudn't have on summer tyres so its a no brainer to me.
To quote "French drivers wear their dents with pride and there are many (many) dented cars in France – particularly in Paris (a ‘75’ registration number acts as a warning to other motorists to keep well clear)".
The interest for winter tyres in Paris might actually be more to do with culture than weather.
In reply to Bruce Hooker: - you make the argument of why, which is fair enough if you live somewhere a winter average is more than 5C. You also make the argument that we seem to have gotten by without - I would counter that for many people living in N Britain using winter tyres would allow them to get by rather better. Sometimes we can aim for better than just muddling thro'
In reply to Turdus torquatus: Oh gumph! I missed that post by Bruce
by - Bruce Hooker on - 22:18 Thu
In reply to grumpybearpantsclimbinggoat:
So what you are basically saying is that we should all spend £500 or more extra per year plus the time changing the tyres rather than drive a little slower a few days a year?
As you say lets not let facts get in the way!
As many say, it isn't per year. It is a one off cost until the tyres need replacing (worn out, puncture etc.). And, it is not an added cost as we all replace tyres so unless Bruce never replaces the tyres on his car ever then his argument for spending £500 on a set of tyres is moot as he'd have to spend the money on new summer tyres some time in the future.
In reply to grumpybearpantsclimbinggoat: Basically I don't change tyres because 98% of the time the difference is so small that it means it is not worth it.
Also I am deeply sceptical of the manufacturers' claims about how much better winter tyres are when it is just cold, rather than snowy. I am sure there is an improvement but in general probably fairly minor. Also it is noticeable no one talked about winter tyres until a couple of years ago when we had all that snow. I get the impression manufacturers have done a good job of persuading everyone to spend more on tyres on the back of that.
if you check out the videos online it will show you the difference in braking in cold weather between the two types of tyre. there not exactly a new invention they have been used in other parts of europe for a long time so its not exactly a money making scam etc from tyre companies.
In reply to Boulderdash86: So been looking into this and it varies on line from £70 - £90 per tyre fitted.
I have also been looking at the option of buying some rims and winter tyres (part worn - anyone had any expereience) and doign it myself however price wise they seem to be about the same as new. I changed the last tyres about just over 2 years ago (I think) and currently do about 20,000 miles a year mostly motorway driving.
Has anyone used the all weather tyres at all?
Its a hot topic and think with the winters we are getting more people wioll be verging towards 2 sets of tyres - also it does seem like you can sell winter tyres on afterwards if they are still in good condition for half price - i.e. if you sell/ scrap the car half way through the summer.
In reply to grumpybearpantsclimbinggoat: It is now mandatory in Germany from End Oct to April. Country wide. Just like Day-time lights are also mandatory in some other eastern European Countries. Safety is the key.
My car, like all rear wheel cars is totally and utterly useless on anything that is white. However put a full set of winter tyres on it and it is better than any front wheel drive car on summer tyres. Even better than a 4X4 with summers tyres.
On my latest car, been running winters for years, I had to drop from 19in to 18 in rims. The ride is better than the summers. BMW now do a swap service. They hold your winter wheels / tyres in store for you and swap foc when you need them. I have convinced myself that I actually save money by running winters as my summer tyres are very wide and cost about £400 each. Two downsides, fuel consumption drops and you can stop a lot faster then the person behind, who is driving far too close to you for the road conditions.
In reply to Boulderdash86: We have just had winter tyres fitted to our camper van (a converted merc sprinter). We had to as we are heading to the alps in winter.
I had chatted with the transfer drivers from cham express a few times while driving into chamonix in winter - winter tyres are essential in those conditions.
Our tyres are for quite a large van, so are expensive. Michelin agilis alpin came in at £550 fitted (for 4 tyres and includes a 10% discount as the guy thought i may pass out). We also got a guarantee of refitting our summer tyres for free next spring. That was with ATS, its hard getting good winter tyres for a van in the uk.
In reply to Boulderdash86: I have never struggled with summer tyres, although I do restrict where i go, The last years ive had 4x4's that where prepped for off roading, and obviously these did well, but i never had summer rated mud tyres, so cant compare braking distances.
Someone once told me re-moulds did better, but again no idea how accurate. What worries me about winter tyres, is the idiots who drive like nobs anyway, buying them thinking it allows them to drive the same way in winter!
> its hard getting good winter tyres for a van in the uk.
I've just ordered some for my van from black circles. Left it a bit late really, I was dithering. They were expensive - £460 for the set (fitted), but not at all hard to find. (I hope I haven't spoken too soon - they haven't actually arrived and been fitted yet!)
That's not much more than the price of good quality summer tyres though so in the long term its not so bad, I can only wear one set of tyres at a time and if I do replace the van in the next few years it'll almost certainly be another van with the same size wheels.
Definitely the most expensive tyres I've ever bought for my van, I usually get real cheapies. It'll be interesting to see if I can feel any difference.
In reply to PeterM: They sound good - might look at those next time I change. I too don't notice any deterioration in grip in the winter unless it's snowy/icy, so whilst I'm not denying the performance benefits of winter tyres <7º, I'm not sure for my driving (and I've got 4WD anyway) it's worth having two sets of tyres - but I'd certainly look for a more all-round tyre if I only had to have one set.
In reply to dave frost:
What finally prompted me to do it, apart from threads like this one, is that two of my tyres are looking pretty worn. They're still legal, but not confidence inspiring, so I was looking at buying a couple of new tyres now anyway. If I take them off for the winter, it'll probably be ok to put them back on in spring and eke another couple of thousand miles out of them before they need replacing.
It'll be a few days before the winter tyres are in stock and ready to go on, so I might see if I can find a cheap secondhand set of steel wheels to get them fitted on so I can swap them back out myself when the time comes.
In France they are authorised from 11/11 to the last Sunday of March. Speed limit of 90 km/h and sticker obligatory.
Looking at the map on the link it seemed hard to believe that winter tyres were obligatory in Italy, especially in Sicily! But looking at the detail this is only for certain regions, which makes more sense.
> We had to as we are heading to the alps in winter.
You don't have to, you may find that chains are obligatory for the last bit up to the station if the snow hasn't been cleared - the Gendarmes may be there to check. It's rare though... with a camping van you'd need chains as if you got stuck and blocked the road you'd be very unpopular. I don't know if snow tyres mean you don't have to fit chains... not necessarily as in deep snow they might be obligatory too. Worth checking.
> (In reply to grumpybearpantsclimbinggoat) It is now mandatory in Germany from End Oct to April. Country wide.
Wrong. These threads always go the same way, and then someone comes along and says that winter tyres are mandatory in Germany between two dates. They are not. They are, however, mandatory if you're driving on snow and ice, but I could but my summer tyres on and drive around quite happily next week, when it's just a bit rainy and have no problems.
Winter tyres are definitely better than summer tyres if you're driving on snow or ice. When it's just cold, I'll be honest, I don't notice the difference, but I must confess I don't drive around in -10C until I skid, then come home, change my tyres, and and do the same to compare. I wouldn't have had a great deal of worry driving to work yesterday though, at -12C if I'd had my summer tyres on. Last week, in driving blizzards, it was nice to have the winter tyres.
I see the worth in having them here, but in southern England, I wouldn't bother. There are parts of the UK where they might start to make sense though. What needs to be remembered though is that continental conditions are often different to UK conditions. When we have that around-0C-wet-snow-and-then-freeze thing that happens quite a lot in the UK, then it's chaos here as well. You can still slide with winter tyres, and you need to drive carefully.
To those that say that the extra expense of winter tyres isn't really an extra expense because you you're saving your summer tyres, that is true, but winter tyres don't last forever - the rubber does slowly become harder with the passage of time. An old, worn pair of winter tyres are probably not much better than a brand new pair of summer tyres.
I use winter tyres because I'm obliged to, and I would probably still have them here even if it wasn't mandatory as they are useful enough. In the UK, it would really depend where I lived and where I drove. They are not a panacea for all winter driving. If ice is difficult to walk on, it's difficult to drive on too.
In reply to Epic Ebdon: The AA suggests "when conditions are wintry" which is a little ambiguous. T'internet searches suggests snow, black ice, slush and frost so it is handy you have direct experience of the regs - thanks.
In reply to Epic Ebdon: I need to do a bit more digging into the regulations in France & Switzerland (where I drive most in winter) as the van has winter tyres but I don't carry chains. Don't really want the gendarmes stopping me getting skiing!
As Epic Ebdon says, in Germany the laws says "in winter conditions", on my link the term was "Obligatoires en conditions hivernales" which is French for the same, so it is not a blanket rule. I don't know what happens if you are caught out by a snow storm though, being Germany you would probably be required to stop.
I just did a google about chains and snow tyres for the last bit to the ski stations on French web sites and they all said that when the Gendarmes decided that chains were obligatory this applied to all cars, with or without winter tyres. You only need one pair though, just for the drive wheels.
The number of accidents caused by wet road conditions increases by 267% in winter. This is from the Department of Transport road statistics. Whilst this can't all be put down to frozen and stiff summer tyres not gripping. Still think your summer tyres are great in the winter? I too have Winter tyres and the difference in grip is easily noticable expecially on wet roads below 10c.
In reply to Boulderdash86: Winter tyres pay for themselves by not sliding into a wall or other car once and saving your 'no-claims' bonus. We've left them on one car permanently and got 25-30k miles out of them. Premium winter tyres gave about same mileage as premium summer tyres as long as it is not too hot. Not a problem in Aberdeenshire. Get a spare set of wheels from scrappy or e-bay as changing tyres twice a year is expensive.
In reply to Bruce Hooker: I think I said earlier, noise is the only real difference with ours and they are studded. I'm sitting in the car writing this and we're driving at 100 kmph on the motorway, that's the winter limit. It's a grotty day about -6 and lots of wind driven snow on the road. If there is a fuel economy decrease it's not enough to notice, and there are no problems driving at 120 kmph (summer limit) with studded tyres. Can't see how friction winter tyres could be worse unless they do something very odd at warmer temperatures?
"It is recommended that you switch to winter tyres in the UK between October and April.
If you are reluctant to change tyres and have nowhere to store summer tyres when they are not in use, you are better off using winter tyres all year round.
Winter tyres are as quiet and comfortable as summer tyres and, thanks to sophisticated compound technology, do not wear any more quickly.
There is a slight trade off with stopping distances as a winter tyre does not stop as quickly in the dry as a summer tyre, however, on balance if it is not possible to switch tyres in the winter, experts say you are better off with winter tyres all year round. This is because the difference in stopping distances of summer tyres in winter is far greater than for winter tyres in the summer."
Fri Night Vid Australian Double Bill - Taipan Wall and Flinders Island
For this week's Friday Night Video slot, we have a double bill of some extraordinary climbing in Australia. The first video shows the captivating headwall on the Taipan Wall classic Groove Train (f8c) and the second is from...