Specialists in winter tyre fitting
Winter tyres are available in the UK from October every year. To order simply click here, alternatively due to fast moving stocks we recommend you call our national sales team for up to date stock information and prices free on 0800 028 9000 or 0333 323 900 from your mobile.
The benefits of winter tyres
Winter tyres are a relatively new addition to the UK tyre market. They have been commonplace, and in many countries a legal requirement throughout continental Europe for some time now. Although we do not get the volume of snow that is seen in parts of France and Germany over recent years our winters have been getting increasingly longer and harsher.
With temperatures maintaining an average of below seven degrees C from October to March winter tyres are vital components in keeping the country moving. When winter sets in and temperatures drop wet roads, snow and ice make driving much more difficult and dangerous. Winter tyres can significantly reduce the risk of accidents in these conditions and they also offer better performance in terms of traction control and handling
In these conditions regular ‘all season’ tyres rapidly become less flexible losing their ability to grip the road and dramatically increasing your stopping distance. Winter tyres can remain flexible and offer better grip in colder weather conditions because they have a higher silicone content preventing hardening. Winter tyres also have large numbers of tiny lateral grooves called sipes that grip to the road by biting into snow and ice. For example Michelin’s winter tyres have about 1,500 sipes, compared with 200 on a summer tyre. The safety benefits of having increased traction and breaking ability can be seen in the stopping distance diagram below.
Do be aware that winter tyres have a lower speed rating than all season tyres, because of the differences in the chemical make- up of the tyre. These ratings won’t affect your driving as even an H rated tyre has a maximum speed of 131mph. To read more on UK tyre law click here.
The cost of winter tyres
We recommend changing all four tyres to winter tyres, a car fitted with just two winter tyres can actually be more dangerous as it becomes unbalanced and therefore results in unsafe handling. This recommendation is supported by the national TyreSafe scheme and leading tyre manufacturers including Continental, Michelin and Pirelli.
You may be reading this with the cost of having two sets of tyres playing in the back of your mind. Initially this may seem high, however when the winter tyres are on your vehicle the others will be stored and vice versa so you will be prolonging the life of both sets of tyres.
The difference in cost between a set of winter tyres and the costs incurred in both time and money from an accident caused by winter weather conditions and slippery roads is substantial, not to mention the peace of mind that comes from knowing you will safely be able to navigate icy roads. etyres also offer a re-fitting service for swapping over winter tyres and summer tyres, for a nominal charge we will return in the spring and autumn to swap the tyres over, and re-balance your vehicle. Click here to buy your winter tyres online or call 0800 028 9000 to speak to a member of our national sales team.
Insurance and winter tyres
Insurance companies are now recognising the safety benefits of winter tyres and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has issued reassurance to motorists that fitting winter tyres will not affect their motor insurance. “Insurers do not want to penalise motorists who take steps, like fitting winter tyres, to improve their safety on dangerous winter roads” ABI News Release 2011. etyres recommend that you speak to your insurance company before swapping tyres over just to make them aware of the situation.
Finding the best winter tyre for your vehicle
Superior braking, acceleration and handling all combine to make winter driving safer, see our guides below for specific advice on choosing the correct winter tyre for your vehicle type. Remember that as with summer or all-weather tyres the performance of winter tyres will also vary hugely depending on how much you spend.
Finding the best winter tyres for your 4x4
You may be asking yourself why you need winter tyres if you are in a 4x4, the extra grip you have naturally won’t help if you begin to skid, whereas winter tyres would enable better steering out of the skid and reduced stopping distances in case of an emergency.
4x4 drivers may also come across “mud and snow” tyres, these tyres are defined by TyreSafe as those “whose tread and structure are designed to give better handling than normal tyres in slush and fresh or melting snow”. These tyres do not have the high-silica compounds of winter tyres and so they do not offer the same level of grip when driving on ice.
Finding the best winter tyres for cars
Fitting winter tyres to your car can not only improve handling and reduce stopping distances on wet, icy and snow covered roads but they can also provide added peace-of-mind when it comes to keeping your family safe.
Finding the best winter tyres for vans
If you spend much of your working day in a van and rely on it for your job having winter tyres fitted may make the difference between being able to earn an income or not during periods of snow and ice. Van owners should look at winter tyres as an investment in the business, allowing them to provide a reliable service even in adverse weather conditions.
Correctly storing your summer tyres and winter tyres when not in use can increase the life and performance of them. If a vehicle isn’t going to be used for a month or more ideally the tyres should be taken off and stored to prevent load baring damage. If it isn’t possible to take the tyres off the vehicle should be raised off the ground to reduce the load.
Summer tyres and winter tyres should always be stored in a cool, dry and clean environment away from heat, light and chemical sources to help prevent the rubber becoming dry and surface cracks appearing. Tyres should be kept off the ground to help protect them from petrol and other substances that can damage the rubber. Before you put your tyres into storage make sure you clean them with water to get rid of any substances that would deteriorate the rubber and make them unsuitable for re-fitting.
If your tyres don’t have rims ideally they should be stored inflated vertically in a row on shelving that is off the ground. If your tyres are fitted with rims ideally they should be hung, or you can stack them four high on top of each other. If stacking place a pallet underneath to keep the bottom tyre off the ground and rotate them monthly.
Winter driving tips
Driving in winter is more dangerous than driving at other times of the year; increased adverse weather and shorter days mean most will be driving to and from work in the dark. Ensuring your car is ready for winter can make the difference between keeping your family safe and having a fatal accident in these conditions.
Prepare your vehicle by checking the following:
- Tyre tread depth
- The AA advises at least 3mm for winter driving, and certainly no less than 2mm, having a tread depth under this will decrease grip and increase stopping distances
- Click here for the etyres video on how to check your tread depth
- Tyre pressure
- Check your tyre is at the correct pressure for your car by referring to the owner manual
- There is a common misconception that reducing your tyre pressure will increase grip on slippery roads, this is untrue and in fact reduces stability
- Battery is fully charged
- Dim lights and trouble starting are indicators that your battery is in need of being replaced
- If your car is struggling to start and the battery is over five years old it is time to get it replaced
- Click here to buy a new battery from etyres
- Screen wash is topped up
- Salt and dirt from the roads combined with the low position of the sun in winter can result in poor windscreen visibility
- o Make sure you top your screen wash up to the correct concentration to prevent it freezing
- Anti-freeze levels
- Brakes are working well