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Winter tyres, why and when to equip yourself, what are the advantages?

As soon as autumn arrives, temperatures drop suddenly, especially at night, and the roads become slippery. Signs indicating that the winter season is not far away. If the clothing adapts little by little to the cold, it is not always the same for the car.

Although they play an essential role in safety, still too few drivers equip themselves with winter tyres, formerly called snow tyres.

Winter tyres, why and when to equip yourself, what are the advantages?
Winter tyres, why and when to equip yourself, what are the advantages?

The winter tyre: what is it?

Sometimes called "snow tyre", the winter tire differs from the summer tire by its design. When temperatures start to drop, especially below 7 degrees, the rubber tends to harden . As a result, summer tires lose some of their effectiveness and therefore no longer grip properly. On the other hand, the rubber of the winter tire is more flexible, the grooves are deeper and its tread has strips which "grip" the road much better , promoting better traction.

Good to know: Identifiable by its logoA winter tire is recognizable by its tread pattern, which differs from that of summer tyres, but also by the presence of a small logo representing a small mountain with three peaks and a snowflake. An M+S marking (Mud and Snow, understand "Mud and Snow") may accompany this logo.

When to equip?

There is a trick that says "Switch to winter time = switch to winter tires". The idea is not really wrong because it is generally at this time that the climatic conditions begin to deteriorate. It is generally advisable to equip yourself as soon as the temperatures drop below seven degrees . In the past, we spoke more of "snow" tires that were specially fitted when the time came. Today, the winter tire has changed. Its structure, composition and properties are specially adapted to winter conditions and the drop in temperatures should be a signal that it is time to equip yourself. Some still think that it is useless as long as there is no snow; this idea is wrong .

Is it mandatory to have winter tires?

Legislation does not currently impose any obligation in this regard. It is therefore possible to drive with the same tires whatever the season . However, this is a matter of common sense. Compared to the price of current cars, the game seems worth the candle and as we often hear, safety is priceless.

Admittedly, this represents a cost, but manufacturers have made great progress and now even entry-level tires have proven their effectiveness . Be aware, however, that in some countries, it is compulsory to equip yourself with winter tires from November 1st in general. Remember to inquire if you plan to cross our borders. In the event of an accident or incident, your liability will be engaged in certain cases if you are not equipped.

The advantages of winter tires

The properties of winter tires have been significantly improved in recent years and their effectiveness has been widely proven. To contribute to safety, their role is essential because they are the car's only link with the road . Below are their main advantages:

  • Are suitable for low temperatures;

  • Reduce braking distances;

  • Have much better grip on slippery or snowy roads;

  • Optimize vehicle control;

  • Reduce the risk of aquaplaning.

Good to know: Ride them in fours For the sake of economy, putting only winter tires on the drive wheels increases the risk of imbalance in the event of loss of grip. For optimum safety, it is strongly recommended to always change them in fours.

All-season tyres: the right compromise?

For several years now, manufacturers have been offering all-season tires. Are they really effective? Admittedly, this can be a good compromise, but they also have their limits . If we take the example of a multifunction tool capable of performing several tasks, we quickly realize that it is better to have one for each task. This is somewhat the case with all-season or mixed tires. They are certainly effective but less effective in summer than summer tires, and less effective in winter than winter tires .


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