Most tyre manufacturers now offer a range of winter tyres to suit most vehicles, but the question arises as to how suitable these are to the UK market. Our winters are getting progressively milder, so do we need specialist winter tyres? According to Kumho Tyres, the answer is a resounding yes.
Kumho, who supply winter tyres to markets throughout Europe, claim that UK motorists need winter tyres because of the unpredictability of our climate. Any time from October onwards, a cold snap could be just around the corner. The term “winter tyres” conjures up an image of tyres designed to drive across freezing, snow-covered landscapes, but, in reality their real use is in combating cold conditions. Kumho prefer to refer to their tyres as “cold-weather tyres”, thereby emphasizing their real role.
One key factor in maintaining a tyres performance is temperature, when this drops below 7 degrees C performance suffers. At this temperature the tyre tread compound approaches what is referred to as the “glass transition temperature”. This involves the rubber turning from a pliable substance to a rigid block. The tread compound in cold weather tyres enjoys a much lower glass transition temperature, and, consequently, gives greater traction and more efficient braking.
Kumho believe that it is important to get this point across to British motorists in order to maximize road safety in cold, winter conditions.