Winter Tyres Guide
Follow our guide on everything you need to know about winter tyres
When it’s that time of the year when you start to see frost creep up on your car windscreen, you begin to realise that driving may become more difficult very soon. So, in the run up to the snowy, rainy and icy days to come, many drivers wonder whether investing in a set of winter tyres would be valuable. We’ll run you through everything you need to know about owning a set of winter tyres, and whether it’s worth buying some.
What are winter tyres?
Winter tyres are specialised tyres designed to deal with the winter weather and potential hazards that can cause. They are also commonly known as ‘cold weather’ tyres and are made from a softer material than the ‘normal’ tyres. These winter tyres are soft enough to provide grip in cold weather (below 7 degrees), but also have a different tread pattern than usual. They’re called fine grooves or ‘sips’ that are built into the tread and help move the snow/water out of the way, ultimately improving the grip on the road.
Winter tyres can be identified by having a little snowflake symbol on the tyre sidewall. It’s important to know that if the tyres don’t have the snowflake but have ‘M+S’ instead, which stands for ‘mud and snow’, these might not be actual winter tyres.
Do I need winter tyres?
The best way to make sure that your car is fit to drive in the winter and if you need winter tyres is to take it to your local Suzuki Service Centre for an annual winter check. The expert technicians will check that everything’s in good condition to get you through the winter weather – including making sure that your tyres have enough tread and can recommend if you need winter tyres.
Typically, if you find that in the winter it’s normally below 7 degrees, then buying winter tyres and changing them over from the ‘normal’ tyres you have now between October – March is the ideal option.
Whether you believe winter tyres will be worth it for you, or you don’t think they’re right for your situation, you can always read our tips for driving in snow and ice, for advice and information to keep you safe on the roads.
Can you use winter tyres all year round?
We really wouldn’t recommend using winter tyres all year round. If the temperature goes above 7 degrees, the winter tyres tend to wear down faster when the temperatures are higher.
This can not only reduce performance on the road, as the hot temperature can make the tyres soft and squishy, and because it would wear the tyres down more, this can result in you having to replace your tyres more frequently.
I have four-wheel drive, do I still need winter tyres?
Four-wheel drive provides better traction in snow and icy weather than normal cars. You’re able to move more easily – but it doesn’t give you any help when you’re braking, unlike winter tyres.
However, if you have four-wheel drive and fit it with winter tyres too, you’re giving yourself the ideal chance of adjusting and coping with the ever -changing winter weather.
Is there anything cheaper than winter tyres?
We understand that winter tyres can be quite expensive and not in everyone’s budget. A cheaper alternative is that you can buy snow socks, which are blankets to put around your tyres to give them additional grip in the snowy weather. They can be fitted quickly and easily but unfortunately, snow socks aren’t as effective as winter tyres as they don’t provide as much grip and traction as them. They also won’t give you any benefit when it’s not snowy – so you’d have to remove them.
Snow chains are another option, but you would only need these for severe weather cases and only if the road is completely covered in snow and ice. If you used them when the road wasn’t snowy it could physically damage the road and you could end up with a fine!