Mountain climbing in slippers or winter tyres

You don’t need the roads covered with snow and ice to benefit from winter tyres. Winter tyres certainly come into there own with snow, slush and icy roads but that’s not the only time you benefit. When temperatures are low, Winter tyres also give better grip and traction on wet roads with their asymmetric tread pattern better designed to give more bite. Put simply, would you prefer to climb a mountain in a pair of slippers or with a chunky soled hiking boot?

Standard tyres are produced with a different rubber compound and perform better during warm climates but when temperatures drop below 7˚C they are greatly surpassed by the silica base mix on winter tyres which ensures that they remain soft in the colder temperatures.

With snowfall practically guaranteed again this year and the normal seasonal low temperatures in Ireland, October to March are the recommended months to drive on winter tyres.

Tyre retailers in Ireland have yet to experience a consistency and market to economically justify fully catering for the panic demand and are hampered by availability when the demand is high. As with all commodities, when they are scarce and in demand, the supply chain prices increase.

So the choice is left with you. If you decide on winter tyres this year, I advise you act early and pre-book them.

The downside of course is the cost of changing and storing the tyres when not in use. This begs the question, how would winter tyres perform during warm summer months? With summer tyres of comparable quality, wet cornering and breaking would be better by approximately 10% and as much as 15-20% in dry breaking so it makes sense to change back to a rubber compound more suited to the warm conditions.

Whatever you decide, please drive carefully this winter and always remember that other road users may not be as well prepared as you.

Should you have any further questions on tyres or indeed technical car issues, then simply ask. I would be happy to help.

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4 thoughts on “Mountain climbing in slippers or winter tyres

  1. hi i must declare that winter tyres are in my interest but i have been plugging on for years about the safety aspect of these tyres in all types of inclement weather, even here in the UK. It has now been recognised by the EU and i recon that we will all have to fit winter tyres to our cars within a couple of years, and in my opinion not before time. I have also bookmarked your excellent blog. thanks eric roberts http://www.pellonautocentre.com/blog

    • Hi Eric
      I totally agree with you in that it should be safety first and particularly when the cost factor is so greatly outweighed by the benefits of safe driving.
      Ireland and UK do not get the same extremities of weather as our continental counterparts and therefore it is not highlighted. This being so the public are mostly uneducated when it comes to tyres, not to mention have them know the difference of performance below 7 degrees and the differing compounds used.
      Personally I would be happier to concentrate on the need to educate on the vastly extended stopping distances when tyres are worn below 3mm of tread depth. Our foreign counterparts have again left us far behind here and have mostly brought in a minimum legal tread depth level of 3mm. To make maters worse, they export their used tyres to our country where some people are happy to pay €30 to €40 per tyre for the remaining 1.4mm tread depth of use.
      Best of luck in your endeavors to improve road safety but please don’t hold your breath.

      Kind regards

      Paul

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