As the winter is knocking on your door, it’s time to dress your car with proper winter tyres so it won’t skid away on a snowy or icy road. Here are a few tips on how to choose and maintain winter tyres in order to get maximum efficiency.
Choosing winter tyres
If you are looking for new tyres, you’re about to drown in a sea full of brands, models and technologies, all promising utmost performance for the cold season to come. Let’s face it; tyres aren’t really cheap, so budget has a say in your choice. On the other hand, remember that a quality set of tyres should last around three years, in normal usage conditions. Thus, making a proper investment now will keep you worry free for the next two or three seasons.
The rule of the thumb is that more expensive tyres usually perform better, so try to go as high as your budget allows and always choose products from a renowned producer. Don’t get fooled by Chinese or Turkish no-name brands providing cheap alternatives; they are likely to fail when you need them most.
Equipping winter tyres
Now that you’ve chosen a proper winter set for your vehicle, it’s time to put them on. Take your car to a local wheel shop to have them applied. Unless you acquired winter tyres along with rims, you do have to let a technician do the switch. Once the work’s done, make sure that the tyres are equipped according to their direction of rotation. Uni-directional tyres feature an arrow on the tyre sidewall indicating the mounting direction. Equipping them the other way around results in poor performance of the wheels.
There’s a common misconception regarding the pressure required in the tyre. Normally, each tyre producer offers a maximum and minimum pressure value that must be respected when inflating the tyre. During the summer, you should apply a pressure tending towards the upper value, however winter conditions require a lower tyre pressure. A lower pressure creates a larger contact patch resulting in better grip.Take care though not to achieve just minimum tyre pressure. But there are different opinions about that; certified wheel technician should provide accurate insight on the matter.
You have gotten to the point where your car is equipped and ready to overcome the snowy slopes and straights. Or, is it? Always before leaving for a drive on winter roads, remember that not even the best tyres can provide grip similar to dry conditions. It is up to you, the driver, to maintain a speed from which you can safely get the car to a complete halt. Furthermore, in some heavy-snow conditions, it may be required to use snow chains to improve grip even more.