Is it a good idea to have a set of winter tyres and a set of summer tyres if you are a UK driver?
Did you know that many countries across Europe have it as a legal requirement that drivers need to keep two sets of tyres in their car? One of these sets is winter tyres, and the other are summer tyres.
Summer vs Winter Tyres
The two tyres are very different and will help the driver to better manoeuvre on the roads depending on the seasonal conditions. However, we do not have these same requirements in the UK, mainly because we do not experience such extreme weather conditions which would justify making changing your tyres a permanent law. However, it is still a good idea to have a set of winter tyres and a set of summer tyres if you are a UK driver.
Winter tyres are made out of a different compound to summer tyres. They have a high silica content and a deep tread pattern, which has been designed to stay flexible in very low temperatures so that it will not freeze. It means that if a driver needs to break suddenly on an icy road, the performance of the tyres will allow the car to stop in good time. You can identify a winter tyre by recognising the symbol on the side of the tyre, showing a snowflake.
Summer tyres, on the other hand, will give you a better performance when temperatures are higher on the roads.
Tyres in the UK
The UK has actually seen more ice and snow in its winters lately, and as a result people are deciding to invest in a different kind of tyre for the winter, despite there not being a law forcing you to. If you had made the switch to winter tyres, this is the time of year when you will probably want to choose to put your summer tyres back on your vehicle. Conditions are getting better in the spring, and the likelihood of a frost overnight is getting slimmer. The days are also becoming drier and warmer, so a summer tyre would allow you to get the best performance from your car. Not only will you drive safely and be able to handle your car much better with the appropriate tyres, but your fuel efficiency will also improve.
Other people decide to have all season tyres. All season tyres are designed to offer motorists the best of both worlds, without the hassle of having to swap your wheels twice a year. These tyres have a high silica content for the winter months, but a tread pattern which is more like a summer tyre. It will not offer you the grip of a winter tyre, but it does offer you an in -between solution if you are struggling to afford both winter and summer tyres.
For more information about all season tires, read the AA’s guide here.
To help you decide whether you should have two sets of tyres, read this weather performance test between summer and winter tyres for a better idea of what the two options can offer you.