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What are winter tyres and why are they different to standard tyres?


If you have just bought a new car the chances are that it will be fitted with tyres which will perform best during mild weather conditions. These are most commonly known as summer tyres. Some manufacturers will fit so called "All-season tyres" but this is rare.


All weather or summer tyres are tyres which will give a reasonable standard of grip in most weather conditions. Conversely winter tyres have been specially developed to give increased road handling and grip in colder temperatures or in snow and ice.


So what makes Winter tyres different?


Winter tyres are made using a much softer form of rubber mix which normally means  using a lot more natural rubber. Softer rubber combined with extra protruding spies (nobbly bits) as well as much deeper tyre tread means that they are better equipped to diving during winter. This means that you will have increased road handling during damp cold spells where the outside temperature falls to 7c or below.


As you drive, snow is forced and compacted into the extra deep tyre tread this compacted snow then in turn helps to grip fresh snow.


That said the major factor to the performance is the nobbly bits which are actually called spies.


To illustrate how spies work and how compacted snow sticks to fresh snow think about what happens when you make a snow ball or better still a snow man. You start with a very small ball and then role and role and as the snow sticks to the compacted snow it gets bigger and bigger.


Please remember that as winter tyres have been specifically designed to perform under certain conditions you will need to change them back to your summer tyres as soon as the temperature rises


Good news is that your tyre insurance policy will cover your winter tyres providing that they have been fitted in line with manufacture's specification.

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