When Should I Take Off My Winter Tyres?

By Julia Freeman

Winter tyres are becoming more and more popular in the UK but many drivers still don’t fully understand what exactly they’re used for and why they’re a wise investment for a country that rarely sees snowfall of the levels seen in Canada, Norway, or Russia.

Winter Tyres

Why use winter tyres?

The truth is that your typical summer Pirelli or Bridgestone tyres just aren’t up to snuff in winter temperatures. A winter tyre is not just for use during the very worst weather conditions. They’re designed to grip the road when temperatures are low and roads are slippery. Without the need for studs or chains, they grip far better than a summer tyre and are safer to use in standing water; a good investment as flooding seems to impact more and more of us each year.

Winter tyres vs Summer tyres

A winter tyre has several key differences from a summer tyre. The tread pattern has more grooves cut into it. These work to displace water and help the tyre to find more traction on ice. A winter tyre is made from more silica than a standard tyre. This prevents them from becoming rigid, so they stay soft and supple in cold conditions. Finally, they vibrate when they move to shake off any snow and ice that might have become embedded in the threads.
Even with all these benefits, a winter tyre does need to come off at some point. There is no legal reason why a car can’t use winter tyres during the summer months (and no legal requirement to use them at all in the UK) but there are plenty of practical and financial reasons why you shouldn’t.

Temperature differences

A winter tyre works best in ambient temperatures that are lower than seven degrees Celsius or forty-four degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re not taking the temperature every morning to check whether you need to change your tyres, it’s best to keep them on from the end of November to the start of March.
After March, you should change to your summer tyres. A winter tyre will generate less grip in warm weather, making them less safe to drive with. They’ll also wear out extremely quickly, much faster than a standard tyre and that’s where you’ll get really hurt - in financial terms.

Switch and store

The best thing is to switch to a summer tyre and keep those winter tyres in the garage for when temperatures drop again. Keep them in a cool, dry place and away from direct sunlight and any heat sources to keep the rubber from degrading. A wash with warm water will keep them in the very best condition before being put away, as well.

Buy Tyres

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The cost of winter rubber will vary enormously depending on the brand you prefer as well as the size required for your vehicle. You should expect to pay more or less the same as you would for a set of summer tyres.

If you have any questions about tyres for winter or are unsure as to how to select them, why not get in touch with one of our qualified fitters. At Protyre, our years of experience enable us to provide our customers with the best possible advice and care. Book in for a free tyre check at any of our over one hundred and fifty local garages and let’s discuss what’s best for your tyres and your car.

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About the author

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By Julia Freeman
Julia is Head of Brand Marketing for Micheldever Group and loves engaging with customers and the business as a whole to deliver their automotive needs.
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