Heightened awareness and harsh winters have meant that the popularity of winter tyres is greater than ever. Nevertheless, a number of preconceptions remain, some of which we will dispel below:
Winter tyres are a poor investment
Buying a set of winter tyres reduces the amount spent long term on replacing tyres. Using winter and summer tyres in the weather conditions for which they were designed means that they wear out at a slower rate; this in turn leads to reduced costs over a five-year period.
British weather is too mild for winter tyres
The severe weather conditions of recent winters indicate that heavy snowfalls and very low temperatures are likely to become an annual occurrence. As such, investing in winter tyres will rapidly become a necessity. What's more, winter tyres give you an advantage at or under the relatively mild temperature of 7°C.
Only those living in remote areas need winter tyres
It is true that drivers in rural areas (particularly in the north of England and Scotland) have a particular need for winter tyres. This may be due to inferior road surfaces, inclement weather conditions, and being further away from help in the
event of a breakdown or accident. Motorists in urban and suburban areas,however, can still reap the many benefits of winter tyres in cold weather.
Safety measures mean winter tyres are unnecessary
Front or all-wheel drive vehicles, along with the advances in hydraulics and suspension, have enhanced the traction and stability of vehicles. This advanced technology does not, however, reduce stopping distances on slippery roads in the same way as winter tyres.
A full set of winter tyres isn't required – two tyres are enough
It is best to buy four winter tyres, since a combination of winter and summer tyres could adversely affect handling.
Winter tyres have a negative impact on performance
Winter tyres have a lower speed rating than summer tyres. That said, there is no perceptible difference in performance at normal road speeds – even an H-rated tyre can provide a maximum speed of up to 131mph.
Winter tyres put up insurance premiums
In the past, it was common practice for insurers to place additional premiums on drivers after fitting winter tyres. Almost all insurance companies now levy no extra charge, recognising the many safety advantages associated with the addition of winter tyres.