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Thread: The Winter Tyres debate room...

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    Regular Member luke4487's Avatar
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    Default The Winter Tyres debate room...

    Right time for a rant...

    As a member of the Armed Forces in North Germany i was a sceptic of Winter Tyres... now -20 winters and heavy snow persuaded me into trying them out and I have never looked back since.

    Night on end now I watch the news and see the 'heavy snowfall' thats covering the UK. Now with night time temperatures being nothing on what the daytime temperatures will soon be in Germany, and the snow being heavier than usual but no worse than ours (apart from the north of scotland), I am sick to death of the embarrasment the UK drivers are to our roads.

    Now ignoring the trucks blocking all lanes of the motorway and causing gridlock (erm... move them) and people abandoning their cars in the carriageway (clamp them and fine them), the main debate I want to bring up is about winter tyres.

    I know that some insurance companies claim they are a modification and cost extra... I would like to see that stand up in court after an accident in the winter months... so lets ignore that part of the subject. I am interested in who has them fitted, reviews on having them fitted during this snowy time, and more importantly WHY are people not investing?

    For once I am glad I am not going back to the homeland for Christmas. Last year saw BMW drivers donning the smallest snow chains ever for what was really just a small amount of snow!

    To be honest, i would like to see them being made law, or similiar to the German's where as if in icy conditions you must have a certain spec of tyre, and if in an accident, penalised if you have otherwise!

    I splashed out on a set of winter tyres for both cars this year and have had absolutely no problems with snow levels on the road being HIGHER than the kerb! Off Piste all the way! I dare anyone to argue why they shouldn't have winter tyres for the colder months, if not for grip, but for the safety of themselves and their families

    ... and an excuse to drive faster than 15mph in the snow

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    Regular Member Jezzy's Avatar
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    You're ignoring a few facts:

    1) The Association of British Insurers has confirmed that winter tyres aren't a modification that should attract a higher premium and that over-zealous (and under-trained) call centre staff are to blame for the cases where more money has been asked for.

    2) Many tyre retailers in the UK have run out of winter tyres, so even if you want them, you may not be able to get them.

    3) When you switch to winter tyres, you need a garage or storage area to put your normal tyres (and maybe wheels as well) in. This will put off many people who don't have such storage facilities.

    4) Many people just can't afford to have two sets of tyres. Some people don't even spend enough on the one set, let alone two.

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    Regular Member PORKBALLS29's Avatar
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    and thats the end of that debate. Lol.

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    Regular Member Kristypie's Avatar
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    I come from Slovakia where it is compulsory to have your car fitted with winter tyres by end of November and then they have to be changed back to normal tyres in March. Every time I go home to visit my family, I realise what difference the tyres make to driving on snowy and icy roads. There the garages charge you a yearly fee of for example £20 for storing your winter tyres during the year and then the summer tyres during the winter. This makes sense considering there are households in the UK with 3 or more cars making storage of tyres quite difficult. Maybe the UK will have to look at these options if the winters get like these in the future.

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    Regular Member Das's Avatar
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    I think another factor is up until this time last year, for pretty much the last 20 years, we've had had very very mild winters too. Most snow arrived one night and was gone by the next night, this occurring maybe 2 or 3 times during the winter at the most. Most people deciding that an outlay of £300+ for tyres that will, by the time fitted, be time to remove again. If we knew that this was going to be a regular occurrence and over a 3 or 4 month period more will be keen to invest in a set.
    After being driven in a car, FWD, with winter tyres on the front(and im not getting in to a debate with Bigsig on the rights and wrongs of only using 2 winter tyres) I myself could not believe how good they were. Instant traction and steering that was hard to differentiate between snow and tarmac I will defiantly be picking up a couple of spare rims and winter tyres during the Summer.

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    What about if you change cars on a regular basis ?
    You may be running different size tyres to the previous vehicle, making it a very expensive practice and as DasArab said, we don't get enough snow and ice to get the full use and value out of them.
    Having said that, i'd love to have a set of winter tyres on some cheap 17's.
    My 19's with 235 tyres are cronic !


    Have consideration for the deaf, if you're gunna fart, make it smell !


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    Regular Member kenp's Avatar
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    Well more and more commen here is, when you buy a new/used car.. then in the price, theres 2 sets of tyres.. summer and winter..

    So not that big a problem (yes for those that wont pay the amount)

    (maby more commen because of the economics in general).

    Hopefully we get laws here to say you have to have wintertyres on from november to march.. but probaly dont help.. as people then buy rubbish wintertyres, where there summertyres actually would be better anyway.. becuase they then get a rubbish mark, or partly wornout that 5 years old...

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    Regular Member lee gsi's Avatar
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    We dont get snow bad enough or for long enough to make it viable for most drivers.

    I would love to have winter wheels and tyres I could put on but to be fair I dont find it that hard driving in snow.

    Maybe driving in snow lessons would be more worth while.

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    Regular Member luke4487's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jezzy View Post
    You're ignoring a few facts:

    1) The Association of British Insurers has confirmed that winter tyres aren't a modification that should attract a higher premium and that over-zealous (and under-trained) call centre staff are to blame for the cases where more money has been asked for.

    2) Many tyre retailers in the UK have run out of winter tyres, so even if you want them, you may not be able to get them.

    3) When you switch to winter tyres, you need a garage or storage area to put your normal tyres (and maybe wheels as well) in. This will put off many people who don't have such storage facilities.

    4) Many people just can't afford to have two sets of tyres. Some people don't even spend enough on the one set, let alone two.
    I did point out that we would be ignoring the 'winter tyres as a modification' point as it was total rubbish...

    Secondly, being in Germany doesnt change any of the above facts. so heres a tip... buy your winter tyres in advance...

    Same problem here hence the prices double once you get to November. A saying in the army goes:

    Prior preperation prevents p*ss poor performance!

    Also, on the financial side of things. 2 sets of tyres used for 6 months at a time mean half the amount of wear on each set. So the initial cost is higher yes, but you save over the long run as you don't renew your tyres as quickly! so thats not a feasable excuse either.

    And as for storage... we don't get free storage over here to hide those spare tyres. 90% of the population have a shed, garage, attic or cellar! Its not difficult to change over the tyres, clean and dry them and pop them in a cupboard somewhere stacked up!

    Also, if you don't want to pay to have your tyres swapped on your rims every 6 months you invest in a set of steel wheels for you winter tyres so that you don't dirty those alloys, and don't pay 50 quid twice a year to swap them over all the time

    Spoken like a true sceptic. I can't blame you as I used to be the same... but its really not a huge deal to bring in winter tyres. The amount of pro's it brings with regards to traffic flow, people getting stuck in the snow (or a ditch) outweighs the apparently 'difficult' topic of storing them

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    Regular Member luke4487's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lee gsi View Post
    We dont get snow bad enough or for long enough to make it viable for most drivers.

    I would love to have winter wheels and tyres I could put on but to be fair I dont find it that hard driving in snow.

    Maybe driving in snow lessons would be more worth while.

    If you research into winter tyres they are not just about the snow. The rubber compound in Summer Tyres loses its normal properties at lower temperatures (some evern as high as 3 degrees).

    Therefore it doesnt do the same job as it would at say 15 degrees! Braking and handling becomes less effective etc etc. Plus the min tyre depth for summer tyres is 1.6mm (new is 6.5mm)

    Winter Tyres are classed as 'written off' for snow use at about 3mm but they come with 9mm when new!

    That incoporated with the different tread patterns, snow grooves in the tread and different rubber compounds make them much more effective not only in snow, but in cold weather and indeed rain with more design factors against aquaplaning!

    I believe a roadtest in Autocar showed that Winter Tyres vs Summer Tyres in snow decreased the braking distance by something like 10 fold!

    Even if you ignore all of the design work that has gone into producing winter tyres, and go for the 'my summer tyres work fine'. Yes driving correctly does help in the snow and tread depth is a major factor, but how many UK drivers are trudging around with nearly new summer tyres... and how many only have 2 or 3mm on their tyres?

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