Fast Ford - - All About… Tyres -

Win­ter tyres have in­creased in pop­u­lar­ity over the last few years in the UK, and are even en­forced in some Euro­pean coun­tries. The com­pounds and tread pat­terns used in win­ter tyres make them more suited to cold, slip­pery, and icy driv­ing con­di­tions. The rub­ber com­pounds tend to have in­creased amounts of sil­ica in them to help the tyre to re­main flex­i­ble, and there­fore per­form at its best, in lower tem­per­a­tures. The tread pat­terns tend to fea­ture larger, deeper grooves to help clear snow, ice, slush, and wa­ter more ef­fi­ciently.

Win­ter tyres are eas­ily iden­ti­fied by a ‘snowflake’ or ‘snowy moun­tain peak’ sym­bol found on the side­wall mark­ings.

While win­ter tyres will gen­er­ally out­per­form sum­mer tyres when the tem­per­a­tures are below 7deg Cel­sius ( not just snow and ice), they don’t work as ef­fec­tively in warmer tem­per­a­tures, mean­ing when the tem­per­a­tures rise above 7 deg Cel­sius you’ll be bet­ter off switch­ing back to sum­mer tyres. Cur­rently there is no le­gal re­quire­ment to use win­ter tyres in the UK, but many ex­perts think this may be sub­ject to change in the fu­ture.

One pos­si­ble al­ter­na­tive to hav­ing two sets of tyres ( win­ter and sum­mer) would be the op­tion of an ‘all sea­son’ tyre. Th­ese gen­er­ally fea­ture higher sil­ica con­tents than tra­di­tional sum­mer tyres to help keep the rub­ber flex­i­ble in colder con­di­tions, but are not as soft as win­ter tyres and can there­fore safely be used in warmer con­di­tions too.

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