Protyre News


As the temperature drops, it’s time to switch to winter tyres


And that’s that. Summer is well and truly over. If the wind and rain of Storm Ali weren’t a clear enough signal, the recent dramatic drop in temperature is. As a result, many of us have had to turn on the heating at home, such has been the change. The same is true for some UK motorists, as they switch from summer to winter tyres.

Surprised? Don’t be. Winter tyres aren’t just for snowy conditions. The really important reason to switch to them is the drop in temperature. Most UK drivers aren’t aware of this fact, unlike our European cousins, who are regularly switch from summer to winter tyres – and back – each year. Why? Because once the temperature gets down to just 7°C and below, the summer tyres you drive on in warmer weather conditions simply can’t perform at the optimum level needed to deliver shorter stopping distances.

In truth, winter tyres ought to be called ‘cold weather tyres’. It’s something Continental – the leading premium tyre manufacturer – are actively campaigning for. They believe it’s vital for motorists to clearly understand the reasons for changing to winter tyres, and why doing so is so essential for improved driver safety – something that the expert team at Protyre agree with.

The difference between summer and winter tyres is the compound

Summer and winter tyres are made from completely different combinations of natural and synthetic materials, resulting in substantially differing compounds. Winter tyre compounds are engineered to be subtler, more flexible at cold temperature levels. Because of this, they will deliver superior grip at temperatures of 7°C and below, compared to summer tyres.

And of course, different tyre manufacturers will develop different combinations as well, so no two compounds are the same. This means that not all tyres are the same, and it’s the reason why some provide much better performance than others. Premium tyre manufacturers, like Continental, spend a fortune every year onresearch and development, continually improving their tyre tread designs and compounds. As a result, UK drivers benefit immensely, since it means the performance and safety characteristics of tyres gets better and better, and that keeps all of us safer on the road.

Simply put, high quality premium tyre winter compounds, along with good tread depth, combine to help keep motorists safer on the road – especially in cold, wet driving conditions.

This commitment to ever improving driver safety is best encapsulated by the best winter tyres – Continental’s WinterContact™ TS 860 – which has just been named by leading UK car magazine – and independent tyre tester – Auto Express as their Winter Tyre Test Winner for 2018. In fact this is the third straight year that they’ve awarded this much coveted accolade to the WinterContact™ TS 860.

And with the recent release of the even better Continental WinterContact™ TS 860 S tyre, UK drivers who fit this masterpiece of winter tyre engineering will enjoy an even safer driving experience – with shorter stopping distances, superior road grip, and enhanced performance during the colder months.

If you’re switching to winter tyres, timing matters

We all know how fickle and ofen unpredictable the UK’s weather can be. One moment it’s Arctic, the next it’s mild – then back again! These temperature differences will influence the performance levels of both summer and winter tyres. Fitting winter tyres while it’s too warm will not only undermine their performance and saferty characteristics, but also lead to poor rolling resistance. As a result, you could end up spending more on fuel, and incur unnecessary tyre wear.

For these reasons, it’s vital to ensure that you only switch to winter tyres once the temperature is settled at 7°C and below. When you start to sense things going this way, keep an eye on developments, and once you’re happy that the cold period is here to stay, switch tyres. Likewise, when you notice the temperature getting consistently warmer – 8°C and above – switch back to your summer tyres.

Do I really need to switch to winter tyres?

We know from customer feedback over many years’ experience that switching to winter tyres may seem to be a lot of trouble to go to. However, the added safety benefits of fitting the right equipment to your vehicle for the right conditions far outway the risks of driving on tyres that may not provide you with the essential grip you need, particularly in the colder, winter months.  Switching to winter tyres when the temperature gets down to 7°C and below keeps you safer.

Talk to Protyre about switching to winter tyres

Thinking of switching to winter tyres? Talk to Protyre. Our dedicated, professional tyre team can answer any questions you may have, and provide you with expert, impartial tyre advice. We can also offer you the best winter car tyres, or fitting solutions for your SUV, 4x4 or van.

Find my Protyre

About the author

Article Author Photo
By Gwyn Fennell
Gwyn has been in the motor industry for over 35 years with experience in vehicle design, electrics, engine management, geometry and of course tyres. Continental has been Gwyn’s home for the past 15 years, where he has become a qualified trainer and examiner to both IMI and NTDA standards and now working towards the IQA qualification. Gwyn’s job has evolved and expanded in recent times and a more accurate but less pleasing to read title would be Technical Customer Service & ContiAcademy Training Centre Manager. It’s no surprise that Gwyn has excellent knowledge from the tyres up so when any technical questions come his way you know he’ll be providing the best advice possible.
View authorArrow right