Winter Tyres Buying Guide: What Are Winter Tyres and Why Are They Worthwhile

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Winter tyres are used in the UK during the Autumn, Winter and early into Spring with tyre stocks sent to Tyre Shopper starting in October. The tyre availability for winter tyres is updated when new stock is received, so using our tyre search tool is helpful to see what is available during the colder months. It is a good idea to swap all four tyres on the vehicle when deciding to use winter tyres otherwise safety will be affected.

What Are Winter Ttyres?

Winter tyres are used during the colder months. They have a different tread design and use a softer rubber compound to make them more suitable for cold, wet, snowy and icy conditions. All weather tyres tend to harden in temperatures below 7 degrees C which make them less suitable between October and early March in the UK.

What makes winter tyres different?

Winter tyres use a different compound that has more rubber and doesn’t get harder in the cold. This helps to keep the tyre grip to the road.

The tyre tread pattern has additional indentations (or grooves) which build up with snow in winter. This packed-in snow sticks well to the snow already on the road and helps to provide better grip.

Winter tyres have more edges inside the grooves known as Sipes, which interlock and help with the interaction with snow and the road surface. These Sipes result in handling improvements when accelerating away and slowing down again.

large winter tyre on the snow

What are the benefits of winter tyres?

Winter tyres are a safer option to use in colder climates during winter months and into spring because they improve braking performance on wet, icy and snowy roads. Whether the road is icy, the ice has turned to slush, mud is mixed with the ice, or it is just downright wet on the roads, winter tyres are the best choice.

What types of winter tyre does Tyreshopper stock?

Tyre Shopper is now stocking the following winter tyres - use the search tool above to find the right winter tyre for you now:

braking distances for winter tyres on cars

Tyre Description Segment Code Width Profile Size SI LI XL
AVON ICE TOURING 82T Mid Range 1756514AV8T 175 65 14 T 82
WANLI WIN CHALLENGER 82T Budget 1756514WL8T 175 65 14 T 82
LINGLONG R650 WINTER 82T Budget 1756514UB5TW 175 65 14 T 82
AVON ICE TOURING 88T Mid Range 1856515AV8T 185 65 15 T 88
AVON ICE TOURING 91T Mid Range 1956515AV8T 195 65 15 T 91
AVON ICE TOURING ST 91H Mid Range 1956515AV8H 195 65 15 H 91
TIGAR CARGOSPEED WINTER 104/102R Budget 1957015TG8R 195 70 15 R 104/102
TIGAR WINTER 1 88T Budget 1856515TG8T 185 65 15 T 88
TIGAR WINTER 1 91H Budget 1956515TG8H 195 65 15 H 91
WANLI SNOWGRIP 91T Budget 1956515WL8T 195 65 15 T 91
LINGLONG R650 WINTER 88T Budget 1856515UB5TW 185 65 15 T 88
LINGLONG R650 WINTER 91T Budget 1956515UB5TW 195 65 15 T 91
LINGLONG R650 WINTER 91H Budget 1956515UB5HW 195 65 15 H 91
AVON ICE TOURING ST 91H Mid Range 2055516AV8H 205 55 16 H 91
AVON ICE TOURING ST 93H Mid Range 2155516AV8H 215 55 16 H 93
WANLI SNOWGRIP 115R Budget 2356516WL9R 235 65 16 R 115
WANLI SNOWGRIP 91H Budget 2055516WL8H 205 55 16 H 91
WANLI WINTER CHALLENGER 107/105R Budget 2056516WL9R 205 65 16 R 107/105
WANLI WINTER CHALLENGER 97HXL Budget 2155516WL8HX 215 55 16 H 97 XL
LINGLONG R650 WINTER 91H Budget 2055516UB5HW 205 55 16 H 91
AVON ICE TOURING ST 94V XL Mid Range 2254517AV8VX 225 45 17 V 94 XL
WANLI SNOWGRIP 94V XL Budget 2254517WL8VX 225 45 17 V 94 XL
AVON ICE TOURING ST 92V XL Mid Range 2254018AV8VX 225 40 18 V 92 XL
WANLI SNOWGRIP 92V XL Budget 2254018WL8VX 225 40 18 V 92 XL

When are they suitable to use in the UK?

The best time to use winter tyres is between October and March in the UK or when temperatures are below 7 degrees C.

Can I use them in the summer?

Winter types can also be used in summer. They will not offer the best performance, but with the unpredictable British weather, winter tyres can make a lot of sense at other times of the year too.

Do you need to replace all four tyres?

It is recommended to change all four tyres on the vehicle to provide a balanced performance. Otherwise, handling the vehicle may become unpredictable at times. We recommend changing all four tyres to winter tyres when making a purchase.

Do winter tyres have any effect on noise/comfort?

Winter tyres are no longer noisier like they used to be in the past. There are noise ratings from the EU now to clarify the noise level of each tyre.

Why are the speed ratings different?

Winter tyres have different speed ratings because driving in the later months, is likely to be done at a slower pace. Nevertheless, a winter tyre with an H rating can still be driven at speeds up to 130mph.

What if my car is fitted with traction control?

Traction control doesn’t alter the traction that a tyre can achieve on its own. It restricts the acceleration possible by the driver to levels that the tyres can handle.

What if my car is fitted with ABS?

ABS doesn’t improve the traction of tyres; it only limits braking levels to those that the tyres can respond to well.

Do front wheel drive cars perform better in the snow?

Front wheel drive cars do perform better in the snow because they are front-heavy with 60% of the weight sitting on the front wheels. This is better for acceleration, but not so good for cornering or improved vehicle handling. Winter tyres would perform better overall.

Winter Air Pressure

Check air pressure levels every 3 or 4 weeks in the winter because air contracts more in colder temperatures. Every 10 degrees Fahrenheit drop in temperature is likely to reduce air pressure in each tyre by 1 psi.

Even if you park in a warmer environment, driving the vehicle outside will lower the air pressure. Check the air pressure levels in a cold environment to match the one outside. Also, ensure the valve caps are all present and fixed because moisture in the air can freeze the valve that could let air get out.

Higher Tyre Pressure on Winter Tyres

A slightly higher air pressure (approximately 3-5 psi) may be recommended to increase responsiveness when driving on winter tyres.

Do winter tyres have any effect on my insurance?

While previously some UK insurers used to charge more for cars that had winter tyres fitted, the safety group TyreSafe has discussed the issue with the UK insurers to correct any misconceptions. The majority of insurers no longer needs to be notified or paid a premium on the insurance cost when insured drivers switch to winter tyres. However, it is a good idea to check with the insurer to be sure.

All tyres purchased on Tyre Shopper include a free fitting at a local, professional tyre fitting centre.

What countries use them regularly and why don’t we use them in the UK?

While European drivers over have two sets of tyres to handle extremes in temperature; this hasn’t caught on as much with most drivers still using either summer tyres or standard all season tyres.

The worsening winter weather in recent years had changed the mood of UK drivers on the issue of winter tyres with more people purchasing them than ever before.

Is it all just a marketing ploy?

Owning two sets of tyres means that each set will last longer. Using the appropriate tyre type for the season (summer tyres in the summer, winter tyres in the winter) is safer and offers better performance.

Will it cost me more money?

Extra expenses are always something to be aware of. With winter tyres, they extend the lifespan of the existing tyres and help to improve grip on the road on slippery surfaces that could contribute to preventing a future accident.

How/where do I store my tyres if I change sets?

Storing standard tyres in a dry area that is relatively cool, like a shed or a garage, is the best place. Avoid storing them in direct sunlight or near an uncovered window.

Stock Levels

Stock levels for the UK come under some stress when the winter gets particularly harsh and drivers realise the benefit of winter tyres. It is a good idea to order them as soon as possible. Tyre Shopper’s Price Guarantee ensures your tyres will be available to you at the best price in the UK.

Avoid confusion – which of these are ‘winter tyres’?

Mud and Snow tyres are related to all season tyres but perform a little better than standard tyres. The tyre composition isn’t the same as winter tyres, so they cannot be sold as such.

Nordic winter tyres and studded tyres are special tyres used in parts of Canada and Scandinavia, which experience cold and freezing temperatures for many months of the year. These tyres are designed for roads with snow packed in and will cause damage to roads when used in less extreme environments. These also not winter tyres.

Driving Abroad

Depending on the country, it may be legal to use seasonal tyres on the roads. It is worth checking with the AA or your insurer to verify before travel.

Winter Driving Tips

Take some simple safety precautions when driving in the winter.

1. Fit winter tyres, if possible.

2. Check the tread is sufficiently enough to be legal and provide sufficient road grip and traction.

3. Maintain proper visibility. Wipe off the windscreen before setting off, turn the windscreen wipers on, and consider opening the windows to demist the glass.

4. Make sure your lights don’t have snow or mud obscuring the beams on the front and back of the vehicle, and that they are all working properly.

5. Push off any snow collected on the roof so that it cannot shift to the windscreen while driving and cause an accident.

6. Slow down. Braking distances are much longer in wet, slippery and snowy conditions.

7. Maintain a larger distance between you and the next driver up ahead.

8. When driving in bad conditions, take warm clothing and a blanket with you in case the vehicle breaks down and you’re not rescued for a few hours.

Safety – Don’t Just Take Our Word For It is dedicated to ensuring effective safety standards for tyres sold and used in the UK. They do an excellent job of making people aware of the dangers of using defective or tyres with illegally low tread levels.