Winter Tires Quick Questions & Answers

What are winter tires?

Winter Tires are specially designed to give extra road surface grip in cold (7°C and below) temperatures and when driving in snow, slush, wet and icy conditions. The key differences are as follows:

  • Winter tires use a soft rubber compound (usually by including more natural rubber in the mix),
  • Winter tires tread blocks and patterns are covered with little jagged groves called sipes,
  • Winter Tires have deeper tread grooves allowing for increased grip for accelerating, breaking and turning

What are winter tires good at?

  • Accelerating from a standing start
  • Gripping the road when breaking
  • Cornering at low to medium speeds
  • Stopping Distances and gripping cold, icy, damp, wet, slush filled roads, below 7°C.

Winter Tires have sipes, which are in effect a large amount of additional small extra edges which form part of the tire tread. Sipes assist because of edges, shape and softness of the compound when in contact with the road. Extra deep tread patterns also help the tires to disperse surface water reducing the chance of aquaplaning. Winter tires are also designed to collect snow within the tread pattern and in the sipes to help with grip on loose snow.

Who are the main Winter Tire Manufacturers?

Who are the main Winter Tire Manufacturers

  • Bridgestone Winter Tires - Bridgestone are one of the largest manufacturers in the world by volume and also own the Firestone brand
  • Continental Winter Tires - Continental is a market leader in Europe and also owns manufactures Barum, Mabor, Semperit, Uniroyal and Viking brands
  • Goodyear Dunlop Winter Tires - Goodyear now owns Dunlop and also makes the Fulda, Kelly and Sava brands
  • Hankook Winter Tires – Hankook also manufacture Atlas, Aurora and Kingstar brands
  • Michelin Winter Tires - Michelin is a global brand with its tires and also manufactures BF Goodrich, Kleber and Riken brands.
  • Pirelli Winter Tires - Italian maker Pirelli makes a range of tires for all purposes. It also manufactures Ceat, 'C' and Courier brands
  • Vredestein Winter Tires - Vredestein is an independent Dutch manufacturer that also manufactures the Maloya brand
  • Yokohama Winter Tires – Yokohama is an independent Japanese manufacturer of tires

Main Difference between summer tires and winter tires?

  • Different mixture of materials, for example higher percentage of natural rubber leads to more flexibility and traction at temperatures under 7 Celsius.
  • The thread has more grooves which improves the grip on wintry, icy or snowy roads.
  • A higher percentage of siping (Sipes are the small slits in the tread blocks of a tire) in the winter tires create many biting edges which perfectly lock into snowy and icy roads and diminish the braking distance.

Do You have to drive more slowly with winter tires?

Winter Tires do have a lower speed rating then summer tires. But it isn’t such a big difference, even the ones with the slowest speed rating are allowed to drive a maximum with 131 mph.

Should You buy 4 winter tires in a set?

To be always on the safe side and get the best result at cold weather conditions you should always fit a set of 4 winter tires to your vehicle.

Is it more expensive?

No it isn’t. Winter tires usually cost as much as summer tires and because you will have 2 sets of tires each of them won’t wear out so fast and last longer. Despite that already a shorter braking distance with your winter tires in cold weather conditions could be a pecuniary advantage.

What about the Tires’ Air Pressure in the winter?

The air pressure in your tires is one of the most important things in connection with the braking and handling of your car in the winter time. So it is always important to monitor and maintain the air pressure in your tires, especially when the weather conditions change. For every 10 degrees F the temperature falls by c. 1 psi of the pressure in the tires will escape. Furthermore it is also really important to check the tire pressure when the tires are cold and have the same temperature as the outdoor air. This is because in the case your vehicle is parked in a garage, the air pressure in the tires will decrease if you leave it for colder outdoor conditions.

To keep the Tire Pressure at your vehicle under control and to be able to check it really fast the best solution is TPMS! The Tire Pressure Monitoring System! So you will be able to have a safe ride home also in the winter time.