Can you use the same rims for winter tyres?

By Julia Freeman

The winter months are just around the corner and perhaps you are thinking of changing your current car tyres for winter ones. You may have a few questions before you make the switch, such as can you use the same rims for your winter tyres?

car wheel rims

In short, yes you can. However, it is a question of convenience and cost-effectiveness.
Unlike many other countries, it is not a legal requirement for UK drivers to keep two sets of rims and tyres – one for summer and another for winter. Winter tyres, such as the Bridgestone Blizzak LM-32, Pirelli Winter Sottozero or Pirelli Snow Control, use a high silica rubber that stays flexible in low temperatures, and a tread pattern with extra grip. This enhances braking and handling on snow and ice or wet roads in cold conditions.
Because winter tyres are made softer to accommodate winter road conditions, they aren’t ideal for summer use. They wear faster and summer tyres will perform better on dry roads in hotter temperatures, so if you swap to specialist tyres for the winter you will want another set of tyres to swap back in spring.

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Why isn’t it compulsory for us to use winter tyres?

Compared to other countries, most of the UK rarely experiences the type of weather conditions that warrant the extra cost. A lot of drivers simply choose not to drive their cars at all in snow and ice. If every British driver bought an extra set of tyres (and rims) it has been estimated the total bill would be about £15 billion including storage and fitting costs. Nevertheless, everyone would be safer on the road.

Do you need to buy winter tyres?

Before you go ahead, consider the alternative: all season tyres could be the best option. They use a similar cold-tolerant rubber compound but don’t go too soft at higher temperatures. Their tread pattern is usually optimised for wet weather rather than snow, nevertheless they could be a sensible compromise that you can use year-round, eliminating the need for extra rims or tyre changing.
Years of experience tell us that if you live in a remote area prone to experience bad weather for longer, or in a very hilly area, it makes sense to purchase winter tyres for your car. If your profession obliges you to drive no matter how bad the conditions, again your safety could depend on buying a set of winter tyres.

Same rims or new ones?

Storing a complete set of wheels is an option if you have space to store them properly (don’t leave the pressure on one side for long periods). Alternatively, Protyre fitters can change the tyres for you twice yearly. Storing just tyres is simpler, and some garages offer tyre storage facilities. It is really down to what is most convenient and cost effective for you.

Talk to the experts

If you aren’t sure if you need winter tyres, talk to the tyre professionals at your local Protyre - the local garage you can trust. With over 100 garages across the UK we are here to help. Book your tyre fitting or free vehicle check online or contact us for more advice.

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About the author

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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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