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Winter Tyres

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    Winter Tyres

    Hello Ant,

    Perhaps you could advise us. With all the snow about just now, we are
    hearing talk on the radio of winter tyres to give better grip. (but to advise your insurance company of the fact).

    Because of the volume of snow we have had, we have not been over the door for 2 weeks plus. Living in the country, we always have plenty of supplies, main problem being I had an operation recently and couldn't push etc. if we went out and got stuck in the snow.

    As this is just the beginning of winter, if we get a repeat of last year, wefeel the tyres a good bet. Is this a thing we could do for our R20?


    Hi Margaret.
    The novelty soon wears off doesn't it, I've never worked so hard carting water by the bucket load to my cattle and pigs ( 60 gallons a day) because the troughs have frozen. As for winter tyres, true winter tyres have metal studs in them and are a legal requirement in some alpine regions of Europe so I'm sure they would be available somewhere for the Berlingo. 175- 14 "Town and Country" tyres I've also seen with chunky tread for snow and muddy conditions. They're not a guaranteed way to get grip in snow, many of the high grip tyres are only effective if a certain speed is maintained as they rely on the treads being flicked clear of mud or snow before coming back into contact with the road. As soon as the tread is full and blocked they're no better than what you've got, and on ice only the studded tyre can help. Providing you keep to the tyre size originally fitted there's no problem to using high grip tyres in winter conditions, you will need to buy a pair of new wheels and swap them over in the winter as high grip tyres on good tarmac wear very quickly and make a hell of a noise. Chains are the other option, but they can be difficult to fit properly and can lead to damage if they're not.
    Worth looking into in more detail before the winter has another go.


      There's also a product called a snow sock for winter driving, lightweight and kept in the boot, easy to put on.. They are around £50 a pair though and they have sold out recently. There was a report on the various types on last night's One Show, which should be on the BBC i-player from tomorrow.

      They look pretty good and from all reports, do what they say on the box!


        Snow Socks

        snow socks have been around for some time,early versions were tied onto the wheel will a purse mouth cord and were made of nylon string like a string bag.
        My Brother is a german living in the snowbelt,he got these years ago,they only work at slow speed,if you wheel spin you shed them off,hard ice shreds them up, and as Ant said with reference to chunky tread,once full of ice they stop working.
        Studded tyres do work and are mandatory in parts of europe when the road surface is frozen hard enough not to be damaged by them, so usually you wait until it is announced on local news that you can put them on and you take them off when told too.your insurance requires you to do this, but in the UK any tyre that can damage the road surface is illegal, that technically includes chains and most insurers only regard them as a get out of trouble fix for short term slow speed use.
        The best bet is DONT drive. Why would you want to risk your neck?
        Young men sow wild oats.Old men grow sage.


          From what I understand, snow tyres are studded and not really suitable in this country.Then there are winter tyres, the rubber compound is better in cold conditions and the tread pattern is usually deeper and spreads slightly more onto the side walls to increase grip. These are suitable for this country and will also reduce breaking distances in the wet and cold. Then there are mud and snow tyres,(M+S), they are all year tyres but are designed to give better grip and the rubber compound has an extended temp. range. Then we go on to summer tyres...........

          I know of some people who have 2 sets of wheels, 1 with winter tyres, the other with summer tyres. They swap them round in october and march but this gives the problem of storage, alternatively you could just have the 2 sets of tyres and 1 set of wheels and get a local tyre shop to swap them around every 6 months.

          A note of caution on this, some insurance companies are classing changing to winter tyres as a modification and are increasing premiums, even though you are modifying to hopefully make you car safer and less likely to crash etc!!!

          If its any help, our motorhome has just had new tyres, we put michelin aglis camping tyres on, they are marked M+S. They do appear to have better grip on grass and are suprisingly quieter than the previous tyres on tarmac.

          Its suprising what a difference tyres make too - I know you PM'd me about my panda, the tyres on it are also M+S tyres. As I told you, it has got me everywhere during the snow, passing lots of bigger 4WD's that were running normal road tyres.

          As for snow sock, I don't know if you are already aware, I work for the Ambulance Service. This year we have all had snow socks issued, I can't tell you personally how good they are ( I've not actually worked in the snow, I've been on leave and doing training!!!) but everyone I've talked to said they worked suprisingly well. They have had a few torn etc but they have really been hammering them, far beyond what most people would need.
          Last edited by glenw; 10-12-2010, 13:40.
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            The thing about Britain is although it does a wide variety of weather anything it does usually does not last very long! You cannot rely on it staying REALLY cold and icy for more than a fortnight (& that is long for Britain) it just seems like an overkill for a temporary situation. The thing is we MAY get bad weather over the coming months or we MAY have very mild conditions after Christmas that has happened also in recent years.

            I have to drive long distances every day over Somerset for work, (including Exmoor area) and am not considering snow tyres currently. If you are retired stay put it does not last long!

            If you are in Scotland, fair enough, different scenario.


              I heard a bit about the insurance companies coding the tyres as a modification yesterday and the advice was if that happened to you was to query it and go to the head office if necessary. However, I agree that it seems a bit OTT for most of the UK's weather.

              Barbara Anne


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