Winter tyres UK 2019: Are snow tyres worth buying?

This topic contains 7 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  JS 7 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #96673 Reply



    Welcome to the British winter – crisp is an understatement isn’t it? It’s really not improving, and with temperatures plunging to single digits and black ice out in force, you’re probably asking, ‘should I buy winter tyres?’

    It’s a question more and more of us Brits are asking every year, so in this article we’ll guide you through the key issues; are snow tyres even worth it, how much do they cost, and how do they even work?

    What are winter tyres or cold weather tyres?
    Firstly: ‘winter tyres’ or ‘snow tyres’ as we’re accustomed to calling them, is actually a misleading title. These aren’t massive chunky mud-plugging boots with knobbly, noisy treadblocks and spiked studs. They’re cold-weather tyres, designed to work in lower temperatures, on wet and dry roads, as well as giving better performance on snow and ice – which, given the inconsistent gritting on our nation’s road network, is just as well. We need a do-it-all tyre.

    How do winter tyres work?
    Winter/cold-weather tyres contain more natural rubber than regular tyres, and are constructed from softer compound. This allows them to stay supple as temperatures drop below 7 degrees C in conditions where a normal tyre becomes hard and less keyed-in to the asphalt. The result? Higher grips levels on the road.

    It’s not just all chemistry, though: look at a winter tyre up close, and you’ll see the tread is different to a more conventional tyre. The contact patch of a winter tyres are more rugged: they’re covered in thousands of ‘sipes’ – tiny channels cut into the rubber which help warm them up – while also displacing water at a faster rate. Winter tyres can have up to 10 times more ‘sipes’ than your average tyres.

    On snow, these little crevices work together with a larger tread. If you were to use a regular tyre, its channels would quickly become clogged with compacted snow – making for less-than-confident handling.

    On the down-side, wobbly treadblocks mean cold-weather tyred cars are less responsive in milder conditions.

    How much do they cost?
    As you’d expect, they aren’t cheap. If we were to fit four winter wheels to our Ford Fiesta ST long-termer, we’d be looking at spending something around the £400 mark, and doing the same for our outgoing Volkswagen Arteon would cost us closer to £600.

    Throw in the cost of another set of wheels to fit them on – which most people will do – and it gets even pricier. Still, you can’t put a price on safety and peace of mind – although we just have, to be fair.

    And yes, you do have to get four, not two; settling for just a pair for the driven wheels will do more harm than good, as this unbalances the whole vehicle.

    Should I buy winter tyres?
    In the snow, winter tyres are a obvious option. They make for safer, more confident driving, and they improve grip significantly – but they’re also a gamble. Sure, we’re in a cold snap now – but on every mild, grey – but not white – day, you’ll have the wrong tyres on your car. And winter tyres aren’t great in normal weather.

    Cars can become notoriously unruly on winter boots, with vehicles closer to the performance end of things – like a DB11 AMR, for example – spinning the wheels in fourth.

    In snow and cold weather, a seasonal rubber compound, chunkier tread and sypes work well – but they don’t behave as they should if it’s really mild and above the optimum operating range. We’ve driven numerous cars shod with winter tyres that have a chunkier ride quality, woollier steering and slippier handling in certain conditions.

    It’s a complicated argument and one that comes down to your budget, and the predicted weather for the next few months. In colder countries, getting winter tyres is an easy decision, but in our – not quite arctic but somehow worse – British climate, we can’t even rely on a cold snap. That leaves your budget – so if you can afford to get them, we’d suggest you do – for safety more than anything else.

    The only person who got all his work done by Friday was Robinson Crusoe.
    Anything i post over three lines long please assume it is an article lol.

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  • #96694 Reply


    Last December when faced with another winter with 2.5mm tread left on my crap summer tyres and both Krap Fit and Motability refusing to change them until they got below 2mm I decided that a third set of tyres would have to be on my shoulders and bought a full set of 4 “All Season” tyres so I didn’t have to bother swapping them around and paying to have them stored etc, best move ever, never got stuck once and even pulled a couple of supposed 4×4 suv’s that had summer tyres and were stuck on the slightest of inclines, 400 quid was steep but I had them swapped front to rear a couple of months ago and I’m all set for this winter and they have lasted nearly twice as long as the summer tyres that were fitted before.

    #96766 Reply


    Over the last few years I have got caught out by ice and snow, each time I get more determined to buy a full set of winter tyres, but never seem to get around to buying them. Having to pay for and then store the other set and would also need 4 wheels to mount them on seemed way to much trouble. Then summer would come around and memories of ice and snow would fade. Until the next winter that is.

    This summer I found that all 4 tyres would need renewing around the same time, so decided to bite the bullet and get both a summer set and winter set. But as I was looking what to get, found a type of tyre that if I believed the advertising hype offered all the advantages of summer and winter tyres in one tyre. Offering no need to buy two complete sets and no new wheels, saving me money, storage and time. So I watched loads of videos on tyre reviews and decided to go with Michelin Crossclimate Plus.

    Cannot pass any comment on how they are in the winter yet, but in the summer they seem just fine. With the following remarks. There has been a noticeable reduction in cabin noise, the previous tyres were 71db front and 70 db rear, the Crossclimate Plus are 69db. Also a slight firming up of the ride.

    Very unexpectedly the Michelin CrossClimate Plus seem to have more grip on the road, than the previous tyres. When pulling out from a junction and say turning right using full kick down, the traction control and vehicle stability control would kick in with the old tyres, even in the dry. So far with the Michelins traction control has not engaged and have only seen the stability control once.

    Hopefully this coming winter I will not get caught out so much.


    #96769 Reply

    Dave h

    How much were they and on what car are they fitted?

    #96774 Reply


    For a few years I’ve been using Achilles winter tyres and they have been fantastic costing £360 for four fully fitted which have been put back on last week in preparation for winter and I have driven in heavy and deep snow in the past and there was no issues whatsoever so I recommend them.

    #96981 Reply

    Lee Edwards

    I may have to buy tires for my tarocco because the ones that came on the car are aweful they barely work in the damp

    #97195 Reply


    The eco tyres that most car makers fit to their cars today are woeful and have very low rolling resistance and by design hardly any grip, by fitting decent tyres you might lose 1mpg but I would sacrifice a bit of fuel economy for grip any day!

    The thing that bothers me is the fact that Motability know this but refuse to let you have different tyres fitted, even when offering to pay any difference in cost! Just goes to show they’re not bothered about our safety at all.

    #97216 Reply


    Nearly 2weeks in on new Continental SUV (not winter) and I’ve noticed our MPG is Down by 0.4 mpg overall, but great tyres the old ones managed 11000 miles and the back ones are still on.

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