How to know when it's time to buy new winter tyres?

By Julia Freeman

Every motorist in the UK would be safer on winter tyres in very cold weather. This means there are three types of people who should buy winter tyres; those who don’t have any, those whose tyres are worn or damaged, and those who don’t store them properly.

Winter tyres

If you don't have any

Regular tyres become inflexible in the cold and the rubber starts losing grip, so if you can afford them, fit winter tyres as soon as the temperature starts to drop below 7 deg Celsius, usually in late October. You can either have the tyres changed at a Protyre garage and store your good summer tyres, or buy a second set of rims and swap over the whole wheel. Some Protyre garages have space to store your spare set.

If your Winter Car Tyres are Worn

As with any type of tyre, it is important to check your winter tyres for wear, damage and correct inflation. Our tyre professionals recommend fortnightly inspection and pressure checking. If you carry heavy loads you might need to make this a weekly routine.
The law allows you to drive on tyres until the lowest point of their tread wears down to just 1.6mm, but this is recklessly low. Most tyre professionals recommend replacing car tyres when they reach 3mm. However, tests show that the traction of most winter tyres is no better than a good set of ordinary tyres after they reach about 5mm depth.
For this reason, we are inclined to replace them, for winter use, at 5mm tread depth. You can still get the remaining use from your older tyres by continuing to use them in the summer months when tread depth has less of an impact.

If you don't store them properly

Tyres need to be stored correctly, especially when they are still on their rims. Ideally, wrap them in plastic and store them on their sides. You should reverse them regularly and don’t stack them on top of one another. Tyres left standing upright can become flattened where they touch the floor, without the weight of a car above them. This would also mean that one side is likely to be exposed to more damp, cold and spillages than the other.
Another issue to watch out for is tyre age. Tyres must be replaced after ten years no matter how much tread is left, as the rubber will have degraded. While off the car, you can extend their longevity by sealing them in good quality plastic to protect them from air and moisture as well as safeguarding them from temperature extremes. Some garages can get really hot in summer.

Choosing Tyres for the Winter Months

Dedicated winter tyres are extremely rugged and optimised for snow and ice. They usually have wide grooves and chunky treads. At the other end of the range there are all-season tyres with treads optimised for safe dispersal of rain and slush. For example, the Falken Eurowinter HS449 is a chunky tyre that will grip firmly through moderate snow, whereas the Falken Eurowinter HS01 has narrower swept sipes, closer in design to the Falken Euroall Season AS210.

Book with Protyre

If you are unsure about your load rating or which tyres to get, click the ‘Find My Protyre’ button below and speak with the team at your local Protyre centre. With their wealth of knowledge and years of experience, you can be certain you will receive high-quality advice from our friendly team. Or you can book a free tyre check at a time and date to suit you, where our tyre technicians will be able to carry out a range of safety checks on your tyres to help keep you safe on the road.

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About the author

Article Author Photo
By Julia Freeman
Julia is Head of Retail Marketing for Protyre and loves engaging with customers and the business as a whole to make sure Protyre is more than just a local garage.
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