With a delay of a few years compared to other European countries, the seasonal replacement of tyres has now also become a habit for Italian drivers, and not just those who live and travel around in the northern regions of the country.
The resistance demonstrated in the past has now been overcome and the certainty of being able to rely on the best tyres for climates with significant temperature differences between summer and winter, of more than 40 degrees even, has shifted the economic aspect to secondary importance.
It is now clear that having a double "set" of tyres is a recipe that works, and the advance payment of the sum of money required is an investment that doubles the mileage and allows drivers to count on the very best safety conditions all year round.
TYRES ARE REPLACED IN AUTUMN AND SPRING
After a time of uncertainty and inconsistent local by-laws, the deadlines to be sure to avoid any penalties (but also and above all to have the best equipment) are on average 15th November and 15th April, considering national or local regulations too.
It is however unthinkable that millions of motorists should decide to fit their cars with four winter tyres on the exact same day in mid-November, and replace them with their summer tyre set in spring, all within a 24-hour window. So planning ahead with your trusted tyre specialist is the ideal solution, and you can count on the possibility granted by the Highway code of using your car with winter tyres even before and after the legal time window.
Provided that the speed code of the tyres is type-approved and not "self-reduced". Contrary to what occurs with classic equipment for which the law provides only for the possibility of improving the speed code, with winter tyres you can take a step back. This opportunity was launched years ago, when winter tyres were type-approved for relatively low speeds, but which still applies today. In actual fact, the problem has been entirely overcome since, for example, a car type-approved with tyres with speed code Y (up to 300 km/h) can be also equipped with winter tyres with code V (up to 240 km/h). Provided you apply a sticker on the dashboard reminding you not to exceed the new limit.
DIY OR TYRE SPECIALIST?
The seasonal replacement of summer/winter tyres offers two separate solutions. The first requires closer collaboration with your tyre specialist, who has to transfer the four tyres onto the wheel rims each time. The second on the other hand grants total independence, which derives from the use of two complete sets. Each of these choices has well-defined pros and cons, which in the former case lie respectively in the support of qualified experts at least twice a year, and in the time and cost needed to carry out an operation which inevitably causes stress to the structure of the tyre.
Having four complete wheels including winter tyres as an alternative to the original wheels fitted with summer tyres obviously entails a bigger investment for the purchase of the rims, but the advantages should not be underestimated. In addition to being able to replace the tyres in the box too, another advantage is the possibility of using rims with a smaller diameter and cross-section (where envisaged by the vehicle registration) specific for M+S tyres.
With positive repercussions on comfort and costs, also because the alloy wheels can be replaced with cheaper steel ones. In the case of smaller cars, the limited cost involved tips the scales without a doubt towards the latter choice.
The replacement times are in many cases dictated by the agreements reached with your trusted tyre specialist, who has to manage hundreds of customers with the exact same requirements all concentrated in the same period, but we should also keep in mind that more than the Highway code, it is the weather that dictates the deadlines. It is now a well-known fact that a winter tyre works best under 7°, up to temperatures of -20°. On the contrary, summer tyres, especially if they belong to the UHP category for high performance cars, work effortlessly up to +40°, but struggle below zero. This certainly does not mean that a winter tyre goes into crisis mode at 25°, just that it has trouble expressing the best of all its characteristics, with a stress that accelerates the wear of the tread.
WHEN TO BUY
If we talk about convenience in absolute terms, the moment in which you buy winter tyres for the first time or when the four tyres you previously fitted reach the end of their life becomes crucial. It may seem absurd, but the best time to buy is in the summer, for a number of reasons. First of all, you can count on the almost total availability of different brands, models and sizes, which is no longer the case last minute, on the eve of a major snowfall. All with positive repercussions also in terms of costs.