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It goes without saying that winter tyres can help a car get through snow or icy conditions. When we think of these types of tyres we automatically visualise rubber studs and spikes around the tyre.

But in actual fact, most winter tyres look a little different to this.

What are Winter Tyres?

When the cold weather creeps up, this question becomes a hot topic.

When you buy a car, more often than not they’re fitted with summer tyres, and in some cases all-season tyres. Winter tyres however are designed to give your car more stability and traction during snowy and icy road conditions

Generally they have the following components:

1. Deeper thread grooves compared to the normal tyre,

2. They use a soft rubber component – which uses more natural rubber,

3. The surface of the threads are covered with slits – called sipes.

Some Benefits

The improved handling of the car and increased braking efficiency are two of the main benefits associated with having winter tyres.

For the tyres to be completely effective there needs to be a temperature of at least minus 7 degrees centigrade. This in turn leads to slower motoring speeds and also reduces the risk of a skid happening.

In order to know what kind of tyre you have on your car you can look for a mountain and a snowflake symbol on the tyre itself. This symbol means that the tyre is fully capable of being used during severe winter conditions.

If you are planning on driving during such conditions then its necessary that you equip your vehicle with the required tyres. Otherwise you run the risk of having or causing a serious accident.

Types of Winter Tyres

There are two main types of tyres in the market, namely Winter Response and Winter Sport.

The Winter Response tyre has a balanced performance for all general winter conditions. The asymmetric design of the pattern provides excellent performance in wet, snowy and icy surfaces.

Winter Sport tyres on the other hand offer equally as many benefits as the Response ones, but also have excellent aquaplaning abilities along with a nice level of comfort and road noise.

Choosing which type of tyre that’s suitable for your vehicle comes down to personal preference.

Alternative Solutions

Here are two different choices you have if you don’t want to go buying winter tyres.

Snow Chains: These wrap around the thread of your tyres and clip together to prevent slipping. They provide traction control by biting into the snow and ice on the ground.

Snow Socks: These are very strong covers made from a tough textile that can be slipped over the drive wheels to provide improved grip on snow and ice. Snow socks have enjoyed some popularity in the past few years.

Maintenance

In order to prolong and maintain the life of your winter tyres there are a number of things you can do:

1. Check the pressure of your tyres regularly. Make sure you inflate them correctly.

2. Rotate the position of the tyres from the front to the back axles every 10,000 kilometers.

3. Drive smoothly without jamming on the breaks as this decreases the life of your tyres.

4. Regularly check the thread on your tyres for wear and tear.

If you look after your tyres properly you will not only help prevent an accident, but you will also improve the fuel consumption efficiency, prolong the tyres life and enjoy better handling on the road.

Coping With Driving In Winter

The winter season can be very harsh on your car. If you look after it before and during the season then it helps prevent problems from happening.

A dead battery is a common problem to occur during this period. Ensure the terminals on the battery are properly tightened and are not corroded.

Antifreeze is one of the most important things to consider during winter. If the water pump becomes frozen and cracks then it’s too late. This provides protection as far down as -34 degrees centigrade.

Installing new wipers is also recommended. Replace the washer fluid with winter windshield fluid that won’t freeze.

It’s a good idea to wax your car before the winter season hits as this will help preserve the paint.

Lubricate the door locks as well. If your vehicle has sliding doors then you can also lubricate the rails on them.

Make sure that you clean your lights on the outside of your vehicle before you drive, as this can make a massive difference. It’s also good practice to turn on your lights from the get go – even if you think its too bright outside.

This article was written by Sarah on behalf of tyrego.ie who are a premium supplier of garage equipment in Ireland.