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Do winter tyres make sense for you?

Now is the time to start thinking about whether cold weather tyres make sense for you and the type of driving that you do.

Designed to maximise grip in colder weather, they give motorists the peace of mind that comes with knowing they can stop safely on ice-covered roads and don’t lose control in the snow.

Most car manufacturers recommend fitting winter tyres when the temperature falls below a sustained seven degrees centigrade.

According to the National Tyre Distributors’ Association, the difference between a winter tyre and a ‘summer’ tyre lies in the tread compound and tread pattern.The tread compound contains more natural rubber so it doesn’t harden in cold weather. This means it stays flexible, which helps to reduce stopping distances and maintain excellent grip on snow and ice as well as on wet roads. The tread pattern can also disperse a greater amount of water, which reduces the risk of aquaplaning.

The National Franchised Dealer Association recommends that rear-wheel drive car owners in particular should consider switching to cold weather tyres in winter.Front-wheel drive cars tend to have more grip in slippery conditions.However, if your car has rear-wheel drive, you won’t have the advantage of the engine weight which means you could struggle climbing steep hills in icy weather.

​Compared to summer tyres, winter tyres are more resistant to wear and tear.However, they do not perform as well as summer tyres in warm weather when the roads are dry, so they shouldn’t be used all year round.They also need to be fitted in sets of four.If you only have a pair, the balance and stability of your car can be affected.​​