Which? is getting to grips with the great British motoring debate of the moment – winter tyres – to fit or not to fit?
As it points out, winter tyres grip better on ice and snow and make good sense for rural motorists who don’t want to be cut-off in cold conditions.
But it raises the question are they necessary for town and city dwellers, where Which? observes: “Urban areas are predominantly mild and damp – and motorists should swap back to summer tyres in the spring – so are winter tyres worth the investment for everybody?”
Dan Evans, car researcher, points out the benefits of winter tyres: “Having recently compared summer and winter tyres myself, there’s no doubt that the latter really do help in adverse conditions.
“We know from independent tests that they grip better on ice and snow – and actually, tyre makers’ data supports the fact that they grip better below 7˚C. This would prevent many motorists becoming stranded, or worse, crashing. And in severe wet conditions, the deeper tread grooves are often better at dispersing surface water.
“So I completely understand why some people living in very rural areas are preparing their cars by fitting winter tyres. It makes good sense if there’s another bad winter and you don’t fancy being cut-off. If that sounds like your situation, and the weather turns, I suggest you go out and buy some winter tyres soon as UK outlets don’t have a never-ending supply.”
However, Evans is less convinced it is absolutely necessary for town or city dwellers to switch to winter tyres before the weather turns bad.
Yet he observes that although it is a costly exercise to switch between winter and all weather tyres: “….overall costs aren’t actually as high as they sound. You’ll get wear from both sets of tyres, so once you’ve made the investment, the average time between replacements will be roughly doubled.”
Denna Bowman, Head Office