When to put on winter tyres?

Knowing when to change to your winter tyres is important to keeping safe on the roads during the colder months, especially in colder countries in Europe. Generally in the UK, our weather conditions are not extreme enough to have to change from summer to winter tyres. However, if the temperatures do drop, switching your tyres over may be wise as it will improve your on-road performance considerably - especially when tackling ice and snow!

Typically in the UK, you should consider changing to winter tyres when the average temperature is less than 7 degrees Celsius, as winter tyres offer more grip and safety in the colder weather. The temperature in the UK is likely to drop towards the end of November and could continue into early March.

What are winter tyres?

So, what exactly are winter tyres? Winter tyres are designed to produce optimal on-road performance during the colder months. They're intended to be used when temperatures are low to combat against snow or ice more effectively than summer or all-season tyres. Winter tyres provide better grip and control while driving. But, how do winter tyres work?

How do winter tyres work?

Compared to summer tyres, there are distinct differences between summer and winter tyres. Some of these elements include:

  • Tread pattern - compared to summer tyres, winter tyres have a lot more grooves or sipes cut into the design. This is designed to help displace water, aiding the tyre to grip the snow and the ice more effectively.
  • Rubber blocks - a winter tyre's rubber blocks are designed to vibrate when the vehicle is on the move, meaning that the tyre itself can shake any snow that may be lodged in the tyre grooves.
  • Compound - typically, winter tyres are made of a compound which has more silica in it. This design means that they stay soft and supple - despite battling against freezing temperatures.

Can you use summer tyres in winter?

There is no legal reason to suggest you cannot use your summer tyres in winter. However, it is not recommended. This is because both summer and winter tyres are designed specifically to work at their optimum ability when used in their intended weather environments. Using summer tyres in winter would mean you'd have less grip and traction in snowy and icy conditions. You'd risk damaging the tyre itself, as it's not prepared to combat the elements that winter tyres are designed for.

Looking to get your winter tyres fitted this season? Explore our range of tyres to buy online from a wide range of leading manufacturers from your local Setyres.

Posted on: 28/11/2019

« Back to news