Winter tyres: Complete guide and everything you need to know
Winter is coming... As we prepare to put away our summer clothes in favour of warm, thick clothes, it's almost time to swap the summer tyre for the winter tyre.
Playing an essential role in the safety and performance of your vehicle, the winter tyre is the optimum solution for meeting winter needs on the road.
Rezulteo offers you a complete guide to the star of winter!
The history of winter tyres dates back to the early 20th century. Originally, drivers used metal chains to improve grip on snow and ice. However, these chains were noisy, uncomfortable and often damaged the roads.
The advent of studded tyres in the 1930s marked a significant advance. These tyres had small metal studs that penetrated the ice, improving grip. However, they had their drawbacks, including high noise levels and potential damage to roads.
Over the decades, tyre manufacturers have developed advanced technologies to improve the performance of winter tyres. Manufacturers have optimised rubber compounds to remain flexible at lower temperatures, ensuring maximum grip. Designers have engineered the tread pattern to efficiently evacuate slush and water, improving grip and traction.
In Europe, the use of winter tyres is regularly regulated to ensure safety on the roads. These requirements vary from country to country and region to region. Before taking to the road in winter, it’s vital to familiarise yourself with mountain legislation to avoid any infringements and ensure your safety.
1. Specific compound
Tyre manufacturers design snow tyres with a special rubber compound that remains supple even in cold weather. Manufacturers formulate this rubber to offer better grip on snow-covered or icy roads.
2. Tread pattern
The tread pattern of winter tyres is designed to evacuate snow, mud and water. This ensures better contact with the road. The sipes on the tread also help to improve grip.
3. “M+S” or “3PMSF” marking
Winter tyres are generally marked with symbols such as “M+S” (Mud and Snow) or “3PMSF” (Three Peak Mountain Snowflake), indicating that they are suitable for use on snowy or icy roads.
Snow tyres, designed specifically for cold weather conditions and slippery surfaces, offer a range of considerable advantages:
Better grip on slippery roads: winter tyres have a special rubber compound and sipes that ensure optimum grip on snow-covered, icy and wet roads. This significantly reduces the risk of skidding and accidents.
Improved stability and handling: Thanks to their design and advanced technology, winter tyres offer improved stability and handling, even in difficult weather conditions.
Reduced braking distances: they allow shorter braking distances on slippery surfaces, which is essential for avoiding accidents and collisions.
Better performance at low temperatures: Unlike all-season tyres, snow tyres retain their flexibility and performance even in very cold weather, which improves vehicle control.
Longer tyre life: Using snow tyres in the cold season and all-season tyres in the warm season reduces wear on snow tyres, increasing their overall life.
When should I fit my winter tyres?
For optimum performance, have your winter tyres fitted before the start of the cold season. When the average temperature drops below 7°C, it is recommended that you fit snow tyres. At these temperatures, summer tyres lose their effectiveness and winter tyres offer much better grip.
To avoid any installation problems, make sure you go to a professional. During the rest of the year, store your tyres carefully to prolong their life.
Choose the right dimensions: it’s essential to choose snow tyres that meet the specifications recommended by your vehicle manufacturer. This information is generally available in the owner’s manual or on the driver’s door label. The right size tyres guarantee maximum performance and safety.
Questions and answers
What is the difference between winter tyres and all-season tyres?
Winter tyres are specifically designed to provide better grip and performance in winter conditions, including snow, ice and cold temperatures.
Are winter tyres compulsory?
In some regions and countries, the use of these tyres is compulsory during the winter season. However, the laws vary depending on where you are. In United Kingdom, there is no legal obligation to use snow tyres in winter. However, they are highly recommended when temperatures fall below 7°c.
Can I drive with winter tyres in summer?
Driving with this type of tyre in hot weather is notrecommended, as they can wear out more quickly and offer less grip.
Should I fit winter tyres on all four wheels or just the drive wheels?
To ensure optimum grip and stability, winter tyres should be fitted to all four wheels.
What are the advantages of studded tyres compared with knobbly tyres?
Studded tyres have metal studs that provide better traction on ice, while studded tyres have sipes that improve griponsnow.
What is the average lifespan of winter tyres?
The lifespan of winter tyres depends on various factors, such as tyre quality, the number of kilometres driven, driving conditions and maintenance. Winter tyres have an average life of 30,000 km and can be used between 3 and 6 seasons.
Do I need to have my winter tyres balanced and aligned?
Yes, balancing and aligning winter tyres is important for even wear and optimum performance.
Can I use snow chains in addition to winter tyres?
Yes, in particularly difficult driving conditions, drivers can use snow chains in addition to winter tyres.
What criteria should I take into account when choosing winter tyres?
Some criteria to consider include size, type, speed rating and load index. As well as specific driving needs.
The Rezulteo offer
Choosing the right snow tyres and complying with local regulations are crucial to your safety on winter roads. Don’t forget to check the pressure of your tyres regularly and to keep an eye on the condition of the treads to ensure their efficiency and prolong their life.
Invest in quality winter tyres and follow these tips to face winter with confidence.