Author Topic: Re-thinking Winter Tyres  (Read 1015 times)

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  • gb United Kingdom
    Kent
Re-thinking Winter Tyres
« March 06, 2018, 14:16:31 »
Hi all, fairly new to this forum. Just wanted to weigh in with my experience and observations using winter tyres. My commute is semi-rural into town along well gritted routes with only two unloved country hills and a hilly 1/2 mile private road with no activity whatsoever.

For the past 10 years, I've had a second set of wheels fitted with winter tyres for all of my cars. At first, Goodyear Ultra Grip and then Nokian WR D3 and D4. Always mounted on either 2nd hand alloys or the original wheels (new, smarter wheels used for the summer). I store the wheels on a vertical wheel stack safely in the garage so that they don't go square.

Usually, this has been a great option. Normally get 2-3 years (read: winters) out of each set of tyres then when they get down to 4mm tread I sell them on eBay and replace with a new set. No problems getting good money back for them in October as there are plenty of people who just need them to get through Europe safely/legally.

If you haven't used winter tyres I suggest you watch a few Youtube videos or even better, ask someone who has them fitted to take you out (or even drive!) in snow/ice.

Ok, here's my summary:

Positives:
-you can drive on snow/ice/slush without getting stuck (common sense applies)
-deep water traction/braking is vastly improved (less drag through puddles and reduced aquaplaning)
-slightly softer ride over potholes
-no anxiety in damaging/corrosion of your precious alloys (you can even use new steel wheels for around 40 each)
-great opportunity to clean/de-stone wheels and inspect arches/brakes
-tyres get half the yearly usage so last twice as long (not really a positive now I re-read it!!)

Negatives:
-dry braking (even in the cold) is crap
-questionable/numb handling (although the Nokian WR D4 were surprisingly stiff-walled)
-increased wear rate - change them as soon as overnight frosts finish
-increased risk of punctures (subjective experience!)
-takes up space in the garage
-mucky business changing/cleaning all 4 wheels twice a year

Myths busted:
-doesn't invalidate car insurance - if in doubt, call them but it's not an automatic disqualification
-they're not much more expensive than summer tyres

Naysayers:
There's always someone, usually professing a driving career of 50+ years, who says "never needed them" and "I just know how to drive in the snow". They just come off sounding like some archaic blow-hard who would just as easy sneer at ABS, power windows and fuel-injection.

SO..... Having just sold my Saab (with winter tyres) and bought an i30 (with 17" summers), just before the worst snow storm in 5 years...I was caught out! How did I get on? Well, I managed but it was certainly tense. On packed snow/ice, each corner was a bottom-clenching moment, each hill an exercise in judging momentum and each steep descent a strategic exercise in plotting escape routes. Never batted an eyelid in the Saab or previous cars. Luckily the ABS and ESP made the essential commute do-able and I only got stuck ONCE after another 2 inch layer of snow defeated my traction.

WHAT DID I DO? I used my 6 year old set of emergency Autosocks (fabric wheel covers) to drag me up the hill until I could remove them and continue. I normally keep them in the car for stranded friends/family. I recommend getting a pair but only when you spot a deal - 30 is reasonable. Don't buy fakes!

Made me think about what to do with the i30. I'll review my options next Autumn but I'll likely go with all-seasons year-round. Finally there are two contenders for adequate cold-weather and summer performance: Goodyear Vector 4seasons and Michelin Crossclimates in the top-spot. Then slip on the Autosocks in emergencies.

This is just an account of my experience and advice - hopefully it will help inform someone else when making a decision on winter tyre usage.


  • 2008 i30 2.0 CRDi Premium

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  • Laughter is the best medicine. .
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  • au Australia
    Devonport Tasmania
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Re: Re-thinking Winter Tyres
« Reply #1 : March 06, 2018, 15:53:25 »
Another excellent contribution from a relatively new member. Well done and thanks very much.

Enough good info there for me to "sticky" that topic!  :victory:
  • MY18 PD SR & 2014 1.6 GDi Tourer (Prev had 2008  i30 CRDi & MY11 Petrol CW)

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  • gb United Kingdom
    Wickford
Re: Re-thinking Winter Tyres
« Reply #2 : March 07, 2018, 12:48:59 »
I used my 6 year old set of emergency Autosocks (fabric wheel covers) to drag me up the hill until I could remove them and continue. I normally keep them in the car for stranded friends/family. I recommend getting a pair but only when you spot a deal - 30 is reasonable. Don't buy fakes!

For those in the UK, the official Hyundai accessories site has them in various for very reasonable prices. I'm going to get a pair for next winter, though I'm lucky enough that I can work from home if necessary (and if I remember to bring my laptop home the day before!) so I generally use the mantra, "if it's snowin' I ain't goin'". :)
  • i30 N Performance

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  • se Sweden
    Varmland, Sweden
Re: Re-thinking Winter Tyres
« Reply #3 : March 07, 2018, 16:04:44 »
There is a good reason winter tires are mandatory in a lot of northern countries.

No problem running through snow deeper than the ground clearance with the I30, it's a great car on snow and ice, very well behaved and balanced. ESP is really good at keeping the car stable, it's actually really hard to get the rear to slip even when trying. (I run studded winter tires mind you, 195/65/15, thinner is better in snow).

Driven in 5cm of snow in the i30 with summer tires on, once when I got caught out in a nasty may blizzard. I know what your talking about, no fun at all.
  • i30 GD Tourer 1.6l CRDI 81kW M6 MY2014. Odo: 100k km as of May 2018.

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  • scotland Scotland
Re: Re-thinking Winter Tyres
« Reply #4 : March 07, 2018, 16:52:18 »
I'm going to get a pair for next winter

Get four, its a lot safer.

Its the first time in 3 years a car of mine hasn't had mud and snow tyres on, and I can feel the difference. As soon as my current tyres need replacing I'll be putting M&S tyres on all year round, as is my preferred choice. They may wear quicker, but I feel more secure with them on. As for summer braking, I've never noticed a difference, but I don't tend to brake hard anyways.
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