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Winter Tyres: Frequently Asked Questions


Below we have tried to compile all the answers to the most winter tyre questions. If you still have a question after reading through our FAQ, give our team of tyre experts a call on 0845 620 2000.

What Are Winter Tyres?

How Do Winter Tyres Work?

How Do Winter Tyres Differ From Summer Tyres?

Do Speed Ratings Differ on Winter Tyres Compared To Summer Tyres?

Are Winter Tyres Only Effective on Snow and Ice?

When Should I Fit Winter Tyres?

Is Fitting Winter Tyres a Legal Requirement in the UK?

Does Fitting Winter Tyres Affect My Car Insurance?

Do Winter Tyres Cost More Money Than Summer Tyres?

Where Can I Buy Winter Tyres?

What Are Winter Tyres?


Winter tyres are a variety of tyre specially designed and constructed to offer high levels of traction and grip in even the most challenging winter conditions.

Independent tests have shown that even when travelling at the low speed of 20mph, a winter tyre can stop up 11 metres sooner than a car travelling at the same speed with normal tyres.

How Do Winter Tyres Work?


Winter tyres improve grip and traction on slippery road surfaces. This reduces the chances of skidding or losing control of the car in bad weather and can reduce the stopping distance of a car.

The rubber compound of a winter tyres contain a far higher percentage of natural rubber. This means that in temperatures below 7°C the tyre is able to retain its elasticity – unlike a summer tyre, which is prone to solidifying in freezing temperatures.

How Do Winter Tyres Differ From Summer Tyres?


The tread depth and design of the average winter tyre is moulded to be deeper. Meaning they are better suited to overcoming the problems of driving on snow and ice.

Down the edge of the tread block of a typical winter tyre you will see a series of small incisions in the tyre. These are called sipes and they provide the vehicle with extra traction. They manage this by creating small “bites” into the surface of the snow.

Thanks to the design, the depth of the tread and the sipes, winter tyres are also far better at displacing the snow that you are driving on. When a summer tyre drives over loose snow it is far more likely going to compact it. This then makes that section of road solid and therefore extremely slippery.

Do Speed Ratings Differ on Winter Tyres Compared To Summer Tyres?

Yes. Tyres are rated for the maximum amount of speed and weight they should carry and winter tyres have a lower speed rating than a summer tyre. Don't worry about your driving being compromised as even an H rated tyre has a maximum speed of 131mph. Remember to drive carefully in snowy and icy conditions.

Are Winter Tyres Only Effective on Snow and Ice?


Winter tyres are not just designed for ice and snow; they’re also useful in wet and slippery conditions.

They can also reduce the risk of a car aquaplaning in wet conditions. This occurs when a layer of water on the road causes the wheels to lose traction.

When Should I Fit Winter Tyres?


The general consensus from within the tyre industry is that motorists should begin to start considering fitting winter tyres around October and then taking them off in April the next year.

Or, once the temperature outside starts to average at 7°C – as it is once the temperature begins to drop below this that winter tyres come into their own and the performance of summer tyres begins to drop significantly.

Is Fitting Winter Tyres a Legal Requirement in the UK?


At present there is no legislation in the UK that makes the use of winter tyres compulsory.

There are a number of countries where this is the case though. So, if you are planning on driving abroad during the winter months check out the winter tyre laws for the countries you will be visiting.

Does Fitting Winter Tyres Affect My Car Insurance?


Fitting winter tyres does not directly change your insurance policy; however, some providers require you to notify them when you do. The best course of action is to contact your insurer to find out more.

Do Winter Tyres Cost More Money Than Summer Tyres?


No. The price of an average winter tyre is in line with its summer equivalent.

Where Can I Buy Winter Tyres?


Blackcircles.com has a large stock of winter tyres on offer.

However, with the weather turning we expect them to sell fast. To make sure you are not caught out by the upcoming winter weather; buy your winter tyres in advance of the first bad cold spell.

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