Viewing 39 posts - 1 through 39 (of 39 total)
  • Winter Tyres, worth it?
  • Premier Icon franksinatra
    Full Member

    We live in the Scottish Borders and (like everybody else) have had our fair share of snow. My wife job means that she has to drive a fair bit, often to some really rural locations.

    Question is, is it worth fitting some decent winter tyres to our Ford S-Max? What are the pros and cons of doing this and is the extra expense worth it.

    Premier Icon GNARGNAR
    Free Member

    It’s the norm in places like Germany and Canada is it not? They’d last you quite a few winters too I’d imagine. I cant comment directly on winter tyres on a car but AT’s vs Road tyres on a 4×4 makes a big difference in snow and ice.

    Premier Icon agent_f
    Full Member

    Definitely worth it if you drive a lot in colder climates – winter tyres are not only very good (or essential) in snow and dodgy icy conditions but also have better grip on tarmac below 5C due to the softer compounds used.

    If you rotate with “summer” (i.e. normal) tyres, a set of winter tyres should last 4 years. But that depends on the mileage you do… After multiple seasons they tend to harden and lose their effectiveness and require replacing.

    Premier Icon Marge
    Free Member

    Without a doubt – very much worth it.
    I use them and the benefits when it is cold & wet is surprising let alone when there is ice or snow.

    Hard to find in the UK though…..

    Premier Icon fatblokeattheback
    Free Member

    Worth every penny.

    Always use vredestien snow tyres, cannot believe how much of a difference
    they make.

    Fit them in Nov and take them off in March.

    Premier Icon stumpy01
    Full Member

    Blimey – this seems totally contradictory to the advice given the last time this type of thread appeared.
    This one in fact: http://www.singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/car-winter-tyres

    I’d have said they are worth having if you live in areas that are prone to prolonged colder weather/snow.

    They certainly worked a treat at -10 deg C in Northern Bavaria on snowy roads.

    Premier Icon fatblokeattheback
    Free Member

    Blimey – this seems totally contradictory to the advice given the last time this type of thread appeared

    Probably because it has actually snowed in the south for a change!

    Premier Icon kevonakona
    Free Member

    Steel wheels winter tyres. just swap and go.

    Premier Icon TooTall
    Free Member

    I’d say a fluffy 4WD would do a safer better job than a set of snow tyres on an S Max.

    Premier Icon Marge
    Free Member

    A 4wd is useful if it snows but it makes almost no difference whether 2 or 4 wheels have drive going to them one you’ve lost tyre grip!! Only benefit is you can spin 4 wheels instead of 2 🙂

    That aside, normally the problems that arise in winter are not about driving up snowing inclines but come from trying to drive around corners or stop suddenly. When conditions are bad the difference is just huge between summer & winter tyres.

    Premier Icon mrmo
    Free Member

    so the advice when i asked was don’t bother and now it is bother. Nice to see STW its usual decisive self.

    I may be able to drive home next week, too much snow and slush at the moment, and not enough ground clearance!

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Free Member

    I’d say a fluffy 4WD would do a safer better job than a set of snow tyres on an S Max.

    I’d say not. 4x4s often have big tyres which aren’t useful in the snow. Snow specific tyres are brilliant – they still slip of course, it’s not like driving on tarmac, but you can still drive about just fine where others are totally stuck. It’s the single most important factor in why other countries can cope with snow. And I’ve actually driven on them.

    And a 4×4 will drink fuel like it’s going out of fashion all the rest of the year too 🙂

    Premier Icon sharkbait
    Free Member

    I’ve got an XC90 and after 6 years of using ‘normal’ tyres I’ve gone with the overwhelming opinion of a big volvo forum and fitted Nokian winter tyres.

    The genereal feeling is that on the XC90 they give good handling and longer wear (2 mm extra tread depth) than the Continentals that were on it already – the fact I also saved £200 was an added bonus 🙂

    Although they’re winter tyres Nokian say they’ve fine for summer use as well and will not wear faster than normal. In the 3 months they’ve been on my average fuel consumption has gone from 27 to 30mpg but that’s probably due to using Volvo’s higher ‘fuel economy’ tyre pressure and more use of the semi-auto gearbox rather than the full auto.

    Premier Icon BearBack
    Free Member

    Winter tires (tyres) are superb.

    A 4WD in the snow on regular summer tyres won’t compare to a FWD car with winter tyres.
    Yes it will set off fine and be better than most on bends… but 4WD does nothing to help you stop.. and ultimately where do you need traction for safety? stopping!

    Virtually every car we see off the highway, on its roof or in a ditch is a 4WD. They come up from Vancouver, Seattle etc and think that as they have 4WD, they dont need winter tires – oops

    I’ve driven a friends Ford Escape 4WD with ‘all-season tires’ on the snowy/icy highway here and it was dicey to say the least. Comparing that to my nasty FWD min-van with cheap snow tires.. The mini van is way more stable on the road and ultimately far safer – which obviously is rather important.

    for my mind, if the GF takes the car to Whistler on a snowy or freezing day, I’m far happier to know that she’s less likely to get into any difficult situations in terms of the 80 miles round trip per day commute in the snow or ice. Worth $400 of my money I reckon…

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Full Member

    My 4WD Golf got utterly stuck the other day as Pilot Sport tyres are next to useless on snow. My old 2WD Corsa with snow tyres on was amazing in winter, could grip on anything.

    Good tyres over 4WD any day.

    Premier Icon PePPeR
    Full Member

    I’ve got an old Renault 4 with snow tyres on and it can get everywhere in this weather. They are very thin compared to most modern tyres and that makes a huge difference.

    Premier Icon beamers
    Full Member

    I had winter tyres all round on this:

    when we were in Canada. Front wheel drive, heavy engine over the front wheels and was great in the snow.

    Now back in the UK I have a Subaru outback without winter tyres and if I lived somewhere which enjoys regular snow each winter I would probably get a set of winter tyres for it. 4wd with normal tyres is much better than 2 wheel drive on normal tyres but is a close run thing to 2wd on winter tyres.

    Winter tyres all round on a 4wd – Snow? What snow?

    Premier Icon colwyn58
    Free Member

    siily bonehead question but how easy/costly is it to change tyres if running different ones in summer and winter?

    Premier Icon mrmo
    Free Member

    i would suggest you buy a set of cheap steel wheels, and keep two sets of wheels/tyres, one for summer and one for winter.

    Premier Icon a11y
    Full Member

    siily bonehead question but how easy/costly is it to change tyres if running different ones in summer and winter?

    Well, I just had 4 tyres changed on my car by a mobile fitter for £50. But that was a great deal IMO – calling around local tyre businesses returned quotes of £15-22.50 per tyre to change them.

    Cheaper to buy spare/old steel/alloy wheels and mount the winter tyres on them.

    Premier Icon beanum
    Full Member

    Here in Switzerland they’re practically a legal requirement but lots of people still don’t bother. When it snows the difference is incredible. I saw an X5 spin the other day under light braking from 30mph, once stopped he couldn’t get going again so I assume he still had summer tyres. I’ve got a 4WD Golf with winter tyres and am constantly amazed at the amount of grip available..
    Generally people here have a set of winter wheels and most garages will change wheels and store the out of season set for you for a small fee..

    Premier Icon CaptainMainwaring
    Free Member

    I will get flamed here, but winter tyres are a complete waste of time in the UK, and I live in the Scottish highlands. Yes they are better when there is actually snow on the road, but how often are you actually driving on snow? Probably 10% of your journey for 3 or 4 days once every 18 years?

    Snow and mud tyres have a softer compound with deeper and wider tread so
    1) they wear quicker on tarmac
    2) increase your fuel consumption because of the higher rolling resistance
    3) screw up the handling because the higher tread blocks deform under normal tarmac cornering forces

    The reason that people put them on cars in places like southern Germany, Switzerland, Canada etc is because they are actually driving on snow for long periods every year.

    Premier Icon srrc
    Free Member

    Real winter tyres make a huge difference as detailed above.
    In the Alps they tend to prefer a smallish FWD with winter tyres than a 4WD.
    The lighter weight makes a big difference too.

    Premier Icon CaptainMainwaring
    Free Member

    FFS. Yes, yes, yes I know they make a difference actually in the snow and make sense if you live in the Alps. But have you noticed we are not in the Alps and have you noticed we only have snow on the road for 3 days once every 18 years

    Premier Icon aviemoron
    Free Member

    Personally yes. The missus has an smax and it has been transformed from a well skittery drive into a very sure footed motor with the addition of winter Vredstiens. I also have winter tyres on steel wheels on my 4×4 and again it makes for a very confidence inspiring drive. Without these tyres the last 7-8 weeks would have been extremely difficult, both in getting the family around and me getting to remote work sites.

    Premier Icon CaptainMainwaring
    Free Member

    Aviemoron, sorry but there is no way you have had snow on the roads for 6 or 7 weeks. The last 6 or 7 days yes they might have helped. And having to get to remote work sites, presumably off road accounts for about 0.01% of the car owning population.

    Oh and I forgot to add on my first post that S+M tyres are fantastically more noisy than ordinary tyres, becoming very intrusive at 50mph+

    Premier Icon beamers
    Full Member

    Snow and mud tyres have a softer compound with deeper and wider tread so
    1) they wear quicker on tarmac
    2) increase your fuel consumption because of the higher rolling resistance
    3) screw up the handling because the higher tread blocks deform under normal tarmac cornering forces.

    I kept my winter tyres on for 12 months, in Canada, and while they did wear down a little quicker they made no impact on points 2 and 3.

    Would agree though, winter tyres in the UK would be overkill.

    Premier Icon mrmo
    Free Member

    how do snow tyres work on mud? I may not have much snow, although it is 2weeks so far and still a good few inches of pack ice to go, but i do have months of mud to deal with.

    Premier Icon aviemoron
    Free Member

    CaptainMainwaring, actually I find that their softer compound dramatically helps in the subzero temps we have had through most of dec and jan. It’s not just about their snow performance.

    Premier Icon Marge
    Free Member

    The effect winter tyres have on your fuel economy is a fraction of the effect your driving style has on it. Same message for claims of rapid wear.

    And as for the idea that winter tyres wreck the handling of your car that is just untrue. For sure some winter tyres could negatively effect the handling but no more than a set of summer tyres that don’t absolutely suit your cars characterstics.

    Noise is also not an issue as typically the tyre carcass is softer and therefore transmits less noise directly into the body of your car.
    I am a tyre engineer by profession so I hope I know what I am talking about. I can say for sure that I have had the opportunity to drive more tyre & car combinations (including summer, winter, 4×4, nordic studded & non-studded) than most folks….

    Premier Icon JohnB
    Free Member

    I lived in Scandinavia so had to have winter tyres. (non studded)

    They are so good I now have them in the UK, the grip when its cold and wet is stunning and if it snows I know I can keep moving.

    Having observed the caos from the recent sprinkling of snow here in the Midlands I am glad I have them, plus people should learn to drive in snow……….

    Premier Icon coolfurcats
    Free Member

    I was going to write telling CMW to remove whatever it is he has stuck up his… But, the winter tyres give better traction, on roads with a temperature below +4°. Below 0° and in snow there is no comparison. The softer compound is only one of several things that make winter tyres better in the cold. The soft compound is one of the main things, the profile is also made up of lamellae that add more surface area, putting more profile on the road/ice. Above around +7 upto +14 the summer tyres then start to get better and have more grip. In Germany it is, as mentioned above, and as far as the insurances go, compulsory to use winter tyres in Winter.

    Premier Icon waynekerr
    Free Member

    CaptainMainwaring is spot on, I also live in Northen Scotland & think the minuses far outweigh the pluses, there are only a few times they would actually help, the roads get cleared.
    You all had snow the other week yes, but how many have snow now or will see any more this year, it lasted a week this year up here, in recent years it has only lay en for about 2 days, even then the main roads are clear well before it dissappears. The main problem lies usually lies with others not you, you could have a 4×4 with chains on but if the traffic in front of you is stopped, your still going nowhere, also it’s a good excuse for a day off.

    Premier Icon Marge
    Free Member

    Winter tyres are not just about getting up snowy hills…..

    In cold damp tarmac conditions (which I think describes much of the UK over this winter) they will stop you in a lot shorter distance. You will likely never realise this benefit unless perhaps you manage to stop suddenly in an emergency and the driver behind with summer tyres doesn’t!

    Premier Icon JohnB
    Free Member

    Quote” Winter tyres are not just about getting up snowy hills…..

    In cold damp tarmac conditions (which I think describes much of the UK over this winter) they will stop you in a lot shorter distance. You will likely never realise this benefit unless perhaps you manage to stop suddenly in an emergency and the driver behind with summer tyres doesn’t! “

    Exactly. The grip on wet tarmac is amazing. I cant believe how qucik I can go around roundabout before understeer. I am sure my Nokian winter tyres give better grip in the rain than my elcheapo summer tyres did in the dry.

    Premier Icon tarka_the_rotter
    Free Member

    I’m with JohnB on this – I live in Germany, and although it is typically a few degrees colder here than the UK in general, it’s perhaps comparable with the Borders.

    We’ve got two cars: an 8 year old Honda Civic with winter tyres, and a new Honda FRV with summer tyres.

    To be honest, I’d previously thought that the whole winter tyre industry was an elaborate scheme to extricate money from people’s wallets; but, although both cars are fine on the main gritted roads, I wouldn’t dream of driving the FRV if we were going anywhere more remote – the Civic behaves as though there is no ice, whilst the FRV is skittish.

    Anyway, if you have an accident here, and you are the only party without winter tyres, then the accident is your legally your fault – regardless of circumstances…

    Premier Icon mrmo
    Free Member

    Bit late in the year but i think i might look into getting some tyres for next winter, as i write this i still have snow on the driveway, in the cotswolds,

    Just a case of finding some cheap wheels and getting some tyres over the summer.

    If they are crap, fine, you only learn by doing.

    Premier Icon JohnB
    Free Member

    When I went to Scandinavia I bought Colway remould winter tyres for under £20 each delivered.

    Premier Icon nuttysquirrel
    Free Member

    Get them – I have Vredestein Wintrac Extremes and the difference is unbelievable. I have them on my standard alloys and bought some more wheels from the enthusiasts/sad git club for £50! Just change them over every October or thereabouts with a £10 trolley jack from Aldi!!!

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