Should I buy Winter Tyres?

With the worst of the winter weather due to arrive in January, February and March, it is that time of year again where drivers must decide if they are to stick with their summer tyres, opt for a winter tyre or select an all-season alternative. Here are the pros and cons of all three options.

Summer Tyres

Summer tyres are what most cars come fitted with. They deliver top performance when road conditions are good. Summer tyres are not designed to perform well in testing road conditions and struggle to give grip on ice and snow. Subsequently you put yourself in danger from such weather conditions if you choose to drive on summer tyres. It is a clear safety risk to leave summer tyres on your vehicle over winter.
It is not a legal requirement to change to winter tyres in the UK. If there is a mild winter usually summer tyres can just about cope. If, however, there is any snow and ice out on the roads your car and road safety are jeopardised. You are instantly put at a greater risk of an accident. Summer tyres also have a larger stopping distance in wet conditions. After rainfall when there is surface water you are at increased risk of aquaplaning.

All Season Tyres

All season tyres are a halfway house between a summer and winter tyre. In tyre tests they tend to perform not as well as summer tyres in good conditions and not as well as winter tyres in poorer conditions. All Season tyres generally perform competently and offer slightly more safety than a summer tyre would in testing weather circumstances. They are notably less effective than specialised winter tyres though in severe road conditions.

Many car brands now produce an effective all season tyre. All Season tyres can be left on your vehicle all year round which makes them a cheaper alternative to having both summer and winter tyres. It also means you don’t need to book in to get your tyres changed twice a year.

If you swap between summer and winter tyres every six months and store the spare set whilst they are not in use rather than replacing them, a lot of the cost is offset and the price difference is significantly reduced.

Winter Tyres

Winter tyres are specifically designed to perform better and increase safety in poor weather conditions that affect the road. They are created to give extra grip in cold temperatures and there is a pronounced difference when driving on snow and ice when compared with summer and all season tyres.

Winter tyres use a softer rubber compound. This is often achieved by including more natural rubber in the blend that creates the material of the tyre. The surface of the tyre tread is covered with sipes. These are little jagged indents in the tyre that are designed to soak up road imperfections to give a smoother and more comfortable ride.

Once winter tyres have been used for a sustained period and sipes become deformed, they work much better than summer tyres in snow as they work by digging into the snow to travel better across it. Conversely on a smooth, dry surface sipes dig into the ground meaning that sharp handling is sacrificed. Braking distances are generally further for winter tyres over summer tyres in good conditions which is why summer tyres are preferred when road conditions are good.

Verdict: Winter tyres are the best option.

Having two sets of winter tyres and summer tyres and alternating between them is the best way to save money and to ensure optimised driving safety and performance.

All season tyres are a cheaper alternative but tend to compromise on both summer and winter safety and are slightly limiting on handling and performance. It is worth noting though that all season tyres have markedly improved from a few years ago and there are some good all season tyres available. As they are on all year round it is worth investing in a premium set of all season tyres.

Sticking with summer tyres will mean you save money but it leaves you at greater risk of a road accident if you are exposed to poor weather conditions. If damage is caused to your vehicle this cost will likely be much higher than the cost of having winter tyres fitted.

Buying and Fitting Tyres

At MBS Traction Centre we offer a swift and efficient tyre fitting service at our specialist car garage in Sheffield. We have a great selection of new car tyres from a range of top tyre brands. Winter tyres, all season tyres and summer tyres are all available and ready to be fitted.

If you have a specific tyre brand or model that you don’t see listed on our website please inform us of this and we should be able to have it ordered and delivered to our garage within two working days. Similarly if you have you own tyres already ordered or stored and simply need a tyre fitting service we can fit them for a nominal fee.

MBS Traction Centre is proud to use the latest technology to execute specialist four wheel alignments and tyre fitting. All work performed is by highly qualified technicians with years of experience. Call us today or fill out on online enquiry form to book in for an appointment or for a free consultation from one of our team of experts.


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