Winter tyres- exploding the myths

Some of us may be dreaming of a white Christmas and while temperatures (down here in Gosport anyway) have been relatively mild so far, we should all be making preparations for when winter’s bite really sets in. From December to February every year, roadside assistance companies such as the AA and RAC rescue thousands of vehicles stuck in snow, ice or mud, caused in the most part by skidding off the road in icy conditions. A large proportion of these incidents could have been avoided if vehicles had been fitted with winter tyres. So are they a winter safety essential or just an unnecessary expense for drivers? Here at TS Garage Services we have been looking at some of the common misconceptions surrounding cold weather tyres.

You can’t use them all year round
A common misconception about winter tyres is that they cannot be used all year round. Winter tyres work because the tread compound is designed to generate grip at below 7 degrees C. They won’t suddenly disintegrate above that temperature, although they may wear more quickly at warmer temperatures which may have a negative impact on fuel economy.

They are expensive
In fact cold weather tyres cost roughly the same as standard tyres. Using the right tyres for the time of year and road conditions reduces the amount of work your tyres have to do, so having winter tyres fitted can increase the life of your summer tyres by up to 20%.

It’s not worth it for a few days a year…
Prepare for some surprising (and somewhat depressing) weather statistics! The UK average temperature can fall below 7 degrees C for over 120 days- that means winter driving conditions for a third of the year! In addition we experience a ground frost an average of 58 days a year.

…and the roads are gritted anyway
Previous harsh winters have seen national grit shortages and even in the best case scenario, gritters cannot and do not cover the entire road network.

Only the “driven wheels” need winter tyres
For optimum traction, braking and cornering, we recommend that you fit a complete set of winter tyres. If your car is front-wheel drive, and winter tyres are fitted only at the front, you risk losing control of the vehicle. If it is rear-wheel drive and winter tyres are fitted only at the rear, there is an increased risk of losing control when cornering.

They just don’t look very good
Another myth. We stock the latest in cold weather tyres, which can be easily fitted to aluminium rims.

If I fit winter tyres my insurance premiums will increase
This is a belief that has been fuelled by media speculation. The reality is that the fitting of winter tyres should not be considered a modification that will affect premiums, so long as they are fitted by a reputable garage and in accordance with manufacturers’ specifications. If you are in any doubt, contact your insurance provider.

We are specialists in all car, van and motor-cycle tyres. Contact us if you have any questions or would like more information on our full range of tyres and services.

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