There is not really any way around this if you want to be able to drive safely in winter conditions. You have to understand that tyres are optimized for certain weather and temperature conditions. When you drive in these conditions, you will be safe. However, when you venture out of this interval, you might not be safe and most likely it will be dangerous to drive.
When you have tyres that have the three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) symbol on the sidewall of the tyre they have undergone and passed performance requirements on snow, this means that they are safe to drive with in winter conditions. If they don*t have the symbol, it means that they will not pass those requirements. If you don’t have grip on snow nor can make the car to stop in short distance they are not safe to drive with. When they have this symbol they can be referred to as winter tyres.
Summer tyres are great tyres and do provide the safety on dry and wet roads on roads when the temperature is above 0 degrees zero Celsius, when you go below this temperature the summer tyres become hard and will lose the traction they had at warm temperatures. This turns a perfectly safe tyre into a tyre that will not provide much in terms of safety on snowy and icy roads. This is why it is important to obey the intervals where the tyre is good and change tyres to a tyre that will work in the conditions, which you will encounter when you drive. So if you choose tyres that are approved for winter conditions, so that they can provide the necessary grip and can keep you on the road and get your car to stop in time.
When you choose tyres for the winter season, make sure that they are tyres that can handle the winter conditions. They will need to be able to provide grip and traction on snow and ice and should be mounted on the car as soon as the temperatures go below zero, so that you are ready when the winter weather arrives. If you plan to use all-weather tyres, you should check that they are really approved for winter use. If they are not, then choose a set that are.
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There is a reason why you should change to winter tyres before the winter weather arrives and that is that the winter tyres are made for winter conditions. They can basically handle any type of winter conditions it they are premium winter tyres. This provides you with the safety needed for being able to drive with sufficient control of your car. Winter tyres need to be able to have good grip on snow and ice, so that you can stop effectively and have enough traction to get started and get up even steep hills.
So don’t worry if the streets are covered by snow or there is a snowstorm, because your tyres have been made for these conditions in mind. In heavy snowstorms you have to worry more about the visibility, than about having sufficient grip and control. Winter tyres are able to use its tread pattern to achieve very good grip and control on snowy surfaces. What you need to watch out for is packed snow that can turn into an icy surface, this often happens in crossings, where many cars drive and then stop. This can make these spots very slippery. Studded tyres that have metal studs to create grip on ice are better in these circumstances. Non-studded tyres are not as good on ice, but they are not far off, as they have grip particles integrated in the tread to create a sandpaper type of feel and are able to create an abrasive friction on ice.
The key is that summer tyres have no real chance to work in harsh winter conditions; this is why they are often forbidden in countries that have harsh winters. During the period where you would have harsh winter conditions, summer tyres are not allowed and winter tyres have to be mounted. If there is no regulation against it in your country, you should still avoid trying to drive in these conditions with summer tyres.
So make sure that you have good premium winter tyres that are in good conditions with a tread depth over 4mm and have sufficient pressure in them. They should also be free from cuts or cracks that can lead to tyre blowouts. You also need to make sure that you have them mounted on your car before the snow arrives so that you will be safe when the snow arrives.
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As the name indicates, winter tyres are tyres for the winter season or more precisely for winter weather conditions, which includes cold weather, snow and ice. Winter tyres are actually better than summer tyres as soon as the temperature drops below zero degrees Celsius. The main reason is that the summer tyres are not designed for cold weather and their tread pattern is not optimized for snow and ice. They have been designed for warm temperatures and the road conditions that you mainly will drive on during summers. This means dry tarmac and they are also optimized for heavy summer rain.
Summer and winter weather is so drastically different, both in temperatures and the surface you drive on, it is thus very difficult to design a tyre that can manage the full scope of both, especially if you also demand high performance. During the summer on dry summer roads, the rubber will have good grip on the tarmac. The rubber compound is optimized to give you the right balance of softness and grip while still having good tyre wear characteristics to minimize the wear. The tread pattern will make sure that you have good control and steering properties as well as short braking distance. The tread also takes into account good properties on wet surfaces, so that you can avoid aquaplaning while still having excellent wet grip.
When you then reach winter you will have a completely different designed tyre. You firstly have tyres that can handle cold temperatures while still remaining soft and flexible. Then the tread pattern has to be designed for snow, ice and slush. They also have to provide grip on these conditions. This is why you need to change to winter tyres when you approach the winter. You need tyres that have been optimized for the conditions and can provide the grip and safety that you will need. So why to change is quite clear, as it is actually dangerous to drive with summer tyres.
Since it is dangerous to drive with summer tyres, you will need to change the tyres before the winter weather arrives. Since the winter tyres are already safer than summer tyres was the temperature drops below zero degrees, you should already change when the temperature drops and don’t wait for the snow to arrive. This will improve your safety.
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Regardless of what winter tyres you use for your SUV, it is important to make sure that they are mounted on your SUV early enough. If you have SUV all-weather tyres, then you don’t have to worry as you already have them on, but if you have dedicated SUV winter tyres, then you will need to schedule the change before the winter weather arrives. When the temperature drops below zero degrees, the winter tyres already outperform summer tyres. So you don’t have to wait for the snow to arrive to make the change, as soon as you see the night temperatures start to drop to below zero you can initiate the change.
It is very dangerous to drive a heavy vehicle as an SUV when you don’t have the correct tyres, as you will not have the sufficient grip that you will need to drive safely. You need the grip to stay on the road and a short braking distance to avoid accidents. The heavier the vehicle is the better grip it requires to stop from sliding. A heavy vehicle that is gliding out of control on ice can be very dangerous and a very scary experience.
Since SUV summer tyres are not designed for winter use, they don’t provide the necessary grip on ice nor do they have the tread design to perform well on snow or slush. This is why it is important that you have the winter tyres on your car well before the winter weather arrives. If you don’t have very long or harsh winters in the area where you live, you might be able to manage with an all-weather tyre that gives you all year round safety and piece of mind. This can be very useful for people that are heavily dependent on their cars and can’t really manage without a car for a day. With the all-weather tyres you don’t have to worry about weather making the driving dangerous. You never have to get stuck with summer tyres in winter conditions and have to leave your car behind.
The dedicated winter tyres, like a SUV studded tyre or SUV non-studded tyres might be able to outperform an all-weather tyre in harsh winter conditions, but that requires that you have them mounted on your car before the winter weather hits.
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There are several important steps to ensure good and proper tyre maintenance. Tyre maintenance is very important as it ensures that your tyres are in good condition and safe to drive with. Tyres play a very big role in your vehicle performance and safety. They even impact the fuel consumption. It is important that you take care of the tyres to ensure they last longer and keep you safe while not adding unnecessary costs to your driving.
One of the easiest parts of the maintenance is to check the tread depth of your tyres. This is easily done by pushing in a coin into the groove and measuring the distance. Check both a front and a rear tyre to check if there are any differences in the wear between them. If there is a difference in more than 2-3 mm of wear between the tyres, then you should rotate the tyres. If you normally change tyres every 6 months between summer tyres and winter tyres, the rotation is usually done at this instance. If you manage with one set for the whole year, then you will need to base the rotation on when you reach the difference of 2-3 mm. Tyre rotation is easy to do at a tyre service station.
For electrical cars and hybrids, the wear is higher due to higher torque, so it is important that you monitor the wear more carefully to see when you should rotate the tyres. You will also need to have tyres that are optimized for this use with a more wear resistant rubber compound. Proper rotation of the tyres will increase the lifetime of the tyres.
Other important maintenance steps include the visual inspection of tyres. You need to check if there are any visible damages, like cuts, cracks or tears. You should also check the tyre inflation pressure to make sure that your tyres have the correct pressure. It is not good to have too high or too low tyre pressure. Low tyre pressure increases the rolling resistance, which in turn increases the fuel consumption and the tyre wear. Both these will increase the cost for you. If you notice any tyre problems you should always visit a tyre service station for them to have a look at the problem.
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For added safety, it is important that you check the tread depth of your tyres to ensure that you are not driving around with old and worn out tyres. You lose many of the tyre properties when the tread depth decreases and once you reach the threshold value of 4 mm, is time to change your tires to a new set of tyres.
Driving with worn out summer tires, your aquaplaning risk increases. If you combine that with higher speed, you are very likely to experience aquaplaning, as your contact area decreases. When you reach the threshold value of 4 mm and you drive at a speed of 125km/h you only have 11% of the tyres contact area compared to what you have at standstill. This is compared to close to 60% at speeds of 75km/h. So it is important to make sure that you reduce your speed if you have tyres that are close to the threshold value when it is raining.
It is not only the risk of aquaplaning, but also your braking distance gets longer and your handling and control is reduced when it is wet. The same is true for dry conditions that your braking distance and control is reduced, which can be noticed when taking sharp corners and curves. This makes it dangerous to drive too long with worn out tyres, so be sure to measure the tread depth on a continuous basis and keep track of how it changes, so you can predict when you will get close.
You also need to make sure that you have the correct tyre pressure, so that you have the optimal contact area of the tyre. The tyre pressure should be checked at least on a monthly basis when you visit the petrol station. It is also important that the shock absorbers are in good condition as they help to press the tyre towards the road, increasing the grip and thus reducing the braking distance. So make sure that you have the correct tyre pressure and that your shock absorbers are in good condition and buy tyres that are good at preventing aquaplaning, then you should be ready for any conditions that you might face during the summer.
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This is a quite simple question to answer, but it tends to depend on personal preferences as well. SUVs like all other vehicles will require winter tyres when they will be used in winter conditions. Winter conditions are not only when the ground is covered in snow and ice, but it already starts when the temperatures drop constantly below zero degrees Celsius. It is at this stage that the summer tyres will become hard and will not be able to conform to the surface that you drive on. The rubber in winter tyres however is able to remain soft and will be pressed into the cavities of the surface, increasing the friction and thus the grip. When this disappears and you have a summer tyre with no tread design to create any friction, then you basically have massively reduced grip and traction.
This is why it is dangerous to drive with summer tyres when you have winter conditions. When you face ice and snow, you have a small chance to avoid an accident with tyres that are hard and that have no grip or other winter tyre properties. If you will be driving in snowy conditions you can choose to go change tyres between the seasons, so that you have summer tyres and winter tyres and alternate these as the season changes. You also have the option to choose a winter approved all-weather tyre, which you can use all year round. The dedicated winter tyres are the best on snow and ice, but the all-weather tyres fair pretty well in mild winter conditions. You should under no circumstances try to use a summer tyre all the year if you will experience some winter conditions during the year.
So the choice comes down to how much and how severe winter conditions you on average tend to have where you live. If the winters are extreme then go for the winter tyres, if they are quite mild and you want to be able to drive regardless of weather forecast then go for an all-weather tyre for your car or an SUV all-weather tyre for your SUV. You can avoid having to change tyres and trying to predict when to actually do the change so that you don’t end up with summer tyres when the winter weather comes back for another few days during springtime.
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You can compare tyre selection to selecting shoes. You usually use different shoes depending on what activity you plan to do and what kind of weather you are facing. You will select different shoes if you are going to work versus if you are going running and both these will differ if you are heading out on a hike in icy and snowy conditions. You have to think in a similar way when you are selecting tyres. Of course you can’t change tyres as often as shoes. You will stick with the same set of tyres for the whole year or you will switch them between the summer and winter season.
Also, if you plan to drive a lot of off-road with e.g. your SUV, then you need to have tyres that are made for off-road. Some off-road SUV tyres have Aramid reinforced sidewalls to protect the tyres from any sidewall impacts from sharp stones or other sharp objects. If you are not using your vehicle for off-road driving, then a normal tyre will do, but you will need to know if you will face winter conditions or not and if you want a dedicated summer tyre or an all-weather tyre.
Summer tyres are made for summer conditions, so they are meant to be used in temperatures above 0 degrees Celsius and up to the normal summer temperatures. When you drive with summer tyres in these conditions, you will have a tyre that will give you stability and control as well as short braking distance both on dry and wet surface. The better quality tyre you select, the better grip they usually have and the lower rolling resistance they exhibit, so that the car will consume less fuel.
The quality of the tyre will determine some key properties such as braking distance, control, ability to prevent aquaplaning and fuel efficiency. This is why it matters what tyre you select. You want a tyre that can handle the conditions where you aim to drive. If you drive during the winter, you need proper winter tyres. In winter conditions you would never go out with summer shoes and the same goes with the tyres. Make sure that you put on proper winter tyres in winter. If you drive in summer, then select proper high quality summer tyres.
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There can be a few reasons why you are not getting the grip that you expect from your tyres. Some are obvious and some are less obvious. Some of the obvious are that you have bad tyres. Either the quality of the tyres was bad or the tyres are already worn out. If the tread depth is below 4mm, the grip diminishes and you need to purchase new tyres.
It can be due to the fact that the tyre pressure is wrong and you have either over inflated tyres or underinflated tyres. This can cause the vehicle to act in a way that you are not used to. Underinflated tyres will also consumer more fuel and wear out faster. Overinflated tyres tend to have higher tyre wear on the middle of the tyre and diminished contact area and lower grip. Inflating the tyres to the tyre pressure that is indicated in the owner’s manual is an easy task.
Your car’s shock absorbers might also play a role here. Bad shock absorbers are not able to push the tyre firmly against the road, creating enough traction. Cars with bad shock absorbers tend to have longer braking distance. So this should be checked as well, to see if this could be the cause. Shock absorbers will wear out over time, so they can easily cause this problem. You have 4 shock absorbers on a car, each located above the tyres. It is neither expensive nor time consuming to get them changed at a service station.
Then it might just be that you have the wrong tyres for the circumstances. Budget tyres may be good on dry road but bad on wet road. The tyre’s tread has a big impact on the traction that a tyre has. Check that you have the correct high quality tyres for the conditions that prevail. If you drive during wintertime in winter conditions, then you need proper winter tyres, that have been approved for winter driving. A tyre that has been approved for winter driving will have the 3PMSF-symbol on the sidewall of the tyre.
I think if you go through this list that you will find the reason for your limited grip of your tyres. If not then go to a tyre service station and ask them to help you.
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Tread depth is important to monitor on your tyres to ensure that you are above the 4mm, where it is still safe to drive with them. If you go below 4 mm, key properties of the tyre will start deteriorating. It will not be safe to drive with those tyres, so you need to buy a new set. It is always safer to buy all four new tyres, as having different grip around the car can make the car less stable.
When you use worn-out tyres, you will lose stability on the road, causing the car to slide. Your braking distance will be extended, which will make you more likely to be in an accident. The braking distance is significantly increased when you go below the 4 mm.
The risk of aquaplaning will increase, as there is less volume in the grooves to channel away water to ensure contact between the tyre and the road surface. Aquaplaning can be very dangerous as you loose all control over your car. The control is often not regained before the car slows down enough to enable the grooves to push away the water. It might already be too late when this happens. Slow speed is always beneficial to avoid aquaplaning, but with newer tyres you don’t have to slow down as much.
When you change from your winter tyres to summer tyres, you want to make sure that you change to tyres that are safe to drive with. If the tyre station changes the tyres for you, they should check your tyres when they take them off to put on the summer tyres. They should at this point already inform you about the situation of your tyres. If they are very close to 4mm, you might as well change already at the start of the season to new ones, to save you the hassle to yet again have to go to the tyre station. The safety and avoiding hassle should be prioritized in this case.
Good tyres for the summer will make sure that you can drive safely, with good grip and stability. Even if you have heavy summer rain, good tyres should keep you safe and avoid aquaplaning. However, even with safe tyres, you need to drive cautiously and avoid distractions. Mobile phone while driving can be a very dangerous distraction.
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