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Does my 4x4 need winter tyres?

Are you wondering if it is really worth fitting your 4x4 with winter tyres? While it’s true that SUVs offer comfort in different driving conditions, what about driving in snow and on slippery roads in winter?
SUV winter tyres

It is best to fit your 4x4 with the right tyres if you want to brave the winter weather! - Copyright © www.istockphoto.com

Be wary of skidding, particularly when going downhill

Grip is absolutely crucial in winter driving conditions. Whether the road surface is covered with snow, ice or is simply wet, your tyres need to give you sufficient grip so that you don’t skid when braking or cornering.

This is even more important on downhill stretches where SUVs offer no advantage over two-wheel drives. In fact, because SUVs are often heavier than two-wheel drives, they can be harder to manoeuvre when braking and cornering.

This is why it is vital to fit your vehicle with winter tyres. Only winter tyres offer the necessary grip on all types of road surface: wet, snow or ice-covered. The rubber used is designed to deliver the best performance when outside temperatures drop below 7°C.

SUV winter tyres

Most of the major brands sell winter tyres specially designed for SUVs. These tyres offer improved braking, drivability and aquaplaning resistance.  

Their composition is tailored to the needs of SUVs in winter, with in particular the following features:

  • Materials suited to low temperatures.
  • Directional and often asymmetric tread.
  • Deep tread patterns with a large number of ridges.
  • Large sipes (slits across the surface).
  • Wide lengthways grooves.

Two or four winter tyres?

You may be tempted to only buy two winter tyres to save money, but doing so could put you at risk. Your vehicle will handle poorly and be more likely to skid when cornering if you fit two winter and two summer tyres. Here’s the proof:

The vehicle will have a tendency to over or under-steer (the rear or front axle turns more than intended) depending on whether the two winter tyres are fitted on the front or rear axles. This is why four winter tyres should always be fitted to SUVs. Furthermore, fitting just two winter tyres can damage the transmission.

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