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1) I live in the city, and during the winter travel on the flat, do I really need winter tires?

Below 7°C, or for most of the period running from October to March, winter tires offer greater road holding ability compared to summer tires. During the cold months, the compound used in summer tires hardens which decreases its road holding, traction and braking capabilities.

2) Winter tires are more expensive, why should I buy them?

It’s true, you have to buy two sets of tires: one for summer and one for winter. But when the winter tires are fitted, the summer tires are set aside and stored appropriately. They can then be used again as the months get warmer ensuring safety in all weather conditions.

3) But if it’s true that winter tires perform much better than summer tires why can’t I keep them fitted all year round?

Winter tires have been developed to offer excellent performance when the temperature is below 7°C. During the summer their compound, which is softer than that of summer tires, wears much more rapidly and hence doesn't perform as well.

4) Can winter tires only be used on snow?

Winter tires have been developed to respond actively in the presence of snow but also offer excellent performance, compared with summer tires, on wet and dry roads throughout the cold weather season. The tread pattern has been designed to reduce the risk of aquaplaning considerably, compared with summer tires.

5) Can I fit only two winter tires on the driving wheels and keep the summer tires on the others?

This option is strongly advised against. In fact, if the car is front-wheel drive, and winter tires are fitted only at the front, there is a risk of losing control of the vehicle. If the car is rear-wheel drive, and winter tires are fitted only at the rear, there is a risk of losing control when cornering. Finally, if winter tires are fitted on the non-driving wheel axle it will be very difficult to move on icy or snow-covered roads.

6) With winter tires am I forced to reduce my driving speed drastically as happens with chains compared to summer tires?

No. With chains you can’t go more than 50 km/h. Some winter tires, however, are approved for speeds up to 270 km/h (speed rating W). Obviously you must always observe the speed limits set by the Highway Code and adapt your speed according to the weather conditions.

7) If I keep summer tires fitted in the autumn and winter will it be more difficult to retain control of the vehicle?

The braking distance with winter tires is reduced by 10% on wet roads and by 20% on snow. This means that, with winter tires, below 7°C, you can stop sooner and will be able to control the vehicle more effectively.