posted 6 years ago

Winter Tyres Make Motoring Safer

Benefits Of Winter Tyres

Standard tyres can struggle for traction once the temperature falls to 7ºC, Pirelli has revealed. This, of course, can have a significant impact on stability and braking. The catalyst for this phenomenon is a hardening of the compound. The solution is winter tyres. Why? Because these remain flexible in low temperatures and more effectively clear slush from the tread. And that is the key point. Winter compounds excel in low temperatures – not just in extreme conditions such as snow/ice. Now, some people give little thought to tyres but that is potentially risky. Let us consider why. Imagine a car is travelling at speed on a twisty road. It is carrying five people and the boot is heavily laden. Despite its posh badge, cosy seats and fancy electronics the only parts that touch the tarmac – and therefore ensure it sticks to the road - are the tyres. Furthermore, as these revolve only a small part of each touches the road at one time, and of these large chunks have been removed to form the tread that clears water. So, the touch-point is extremely small. Despite this the motorist expects the tyres – without exception – to help smoothly translate the engine's power into momentum and to help brake and steer. As such, irrespective of weather drivers should regularly check that their tyres are fit for purpose.

How To Check Tyres

Checking a tyre is straightforward and requires very little knowledge. The first consideration is the pressure which influences how the car corners, brakes, rides, and steers. Incorrect pressure – either to high or low - can also damage the tyre. The correct pressure can be confirmed via a sticker on the driver-side b-pillar (generally). If not, refer to the manual. Remember too that cars often require different pressures at the front/back and while heavily laden. The next consideration is tread depth. The legal minimum is 1.6mm across the central 75% of the tyre's width, and around its circumference. This can be checked via a gauge or the wear indicators that most tyres have within their tread. However, to maintain the vehicle's performance it is best to replace a tyre when its tread hits 3mm. Furthermore, check for consistent wear as to much variation could suggest a tracking problem. Also, check for tears, punctures, bulges, and cracking that might compromise the tyre's integrity. Plus, of course, if there is any doubt that the tyre is safe and legal have it checked by a professional mechanic.