When it comes to the topic of why a seasonal tyre swap, is important, there are some conflicting opinions. Of course, this can be said for many automotive topics.
As most motorists in the United Kingdom probably know, it’s not a legal requirement to have winter tyres on vehicles in the UK. This is not the case in most of Europe, however, such as in countries like Germany and Sweden.
Although winter tyres are not mandatory in the UK, there are several good reasons for motorists to invest in changing summer tyres for winter ones but also in storing these seasonal tyres.
But a fair question to ask is, “Why are seasonal tyres important?”
Tyres for Every Season – More or Less
Winter tyres differ significantly from those typically used in warmer seasons. They are made of a special rubber compound that provides maximum grip on roads in colder, wet, and snowy weather.
Although they are designated as “winter” tyres, there is no right time to swap from summer tyres to your winter set. However, because winter tyres are recommended for use when the weather drops consistently below 7° C, it is better to swap them sooner than later. Either way, it’s important to keep in mind that a seasonal tyre swap is important, nonetheless.
Winter tends to come at slightly different times depending on where you live in the UK. Although the Met Office officially defines winter as the months from December to February, an easy rule of thumb is the European practice of using winter tyres from October until Easter.
For those living in Wales and the western parts of England and Scotland, winter weather may not be considered too extreme. Being closest to the Atlantic Ocean means that these regions are generally the mildest, wettest, and windiest in the UK, with temperature ranges seldom extreme.
Of course, Britain’s warmest regions are in the south. How warm? An article from the Telegraph reported that,
“On August 10, 2003, the temperature reached 38.5C in Faversham, Kent – the highest ever recorded on UK soil.”
To be fair, one might be forgiven for not opting to swap to winter tyres in southern reaches of the UK. But for those living in, say, Aberdeenshire, Scotland extreme cold is the norm in winter. Even down to -27.2 C on at least three occasions during a 100-year span.
And statistics also show that winter road conditions routinely contribute to increases in accidents every year. Winter tyres could play a significant part in lowering the number of winter accidents.
How Winter Tyres Work
Both the material and the construction of winter tyres are what set them apart from typical summer tyres.
As one article points out,
“Winter tyres have higher natural rubber and silica in the compound which makes them softer and more flexible – even below 7°C. That improves grip and traction. The main difference between winter tyres and regular tyres is the tread depth. New tyres will have a depth between 7mm and 9.5mm.
The pattern on the tread helps reduce the risk of aquaplaning. However, if the minimum tread depth is reached then this risk rises. The grooves within the tyre are wider and deeper as well, giving better grip which can help reduce your car’s stopping distance.”
Winter tyres are not just at their best in the snow, by the way. They also improve grip during wet weather as well as on dry, cold roads.
According to one tyre manufacturer,
“Whether improved handling or a shorter braking distance – nothing beats them between October and Easter. Winter tyres improve stability within tracking and improve steering precision due to effective power transmission. The aquaplaning technology also assists drivers in areas with little snow but more rain.”
What About Cost and Storing Tyres Each Season?
The price of winter tyres in the UK can vary and is largely dependent on your model car and its wheel-size. Generally speaking, they can be slightly more costly than an equivalent summer tyre for your car.
However, while the cost of four new winter tyres may be significant, the good news is that your summer tyres will last longer by swapping them each season.
Storage for your “off season” tyres can also be an issue for car owners.
If you have a garage at your home or even a suitably sized shed, then storing your winter (or summer) tyres may not be a problem. On the other hand, there is an additional cost incurred for storing your tyres.
Fortunately, there are a wide selection of “Tyre Hotels” throughout the UK that offer storage for off-season tyres, often at quite reasonable fees.
Ultimately, although the overall cost to invest in winter tyres may be a bit more than sticking with your summer tyres year-round, the benefits and increased safety are well worth it.
Expert Tyres – For Professional Seasonal Tyre Swaps Right Where You Are
You understand that a seasonal tyre swap is important, and when you decide to swap your winter tyres for summer versions, it’s good to know that you don’t have to drive to the garage or tyre shop. Instead, you can have Expert Tyres come to you at your convenience.
And, along with regular seasonal tyre swaps, we offer mobile new tyre installation as well as our convenient mobile tyre puncture repair service. Because we are a mobile tyre service, we’re able to meet you where you are – whether that’s at your home or your place of work.
Expert Tyres serves the surrounding Sheffield region including Rotherham and Chesterfield areas. You can have all your tyre services carried out by our mobile Expert Tyre specialists and we regularly check our prices against our competitors.