Winter tyre on snowy road

Are Winter Tyres Really Worth It?


From sturdier grips to the road surface, to improved braking distances by up to 2 car lengths, winter tyres are often a key consideration when it comes to doubling down on winter fleet safety. 

With large parts of the country being hit by an Arctic blast, it’s best to make the switch to winter tyres sooner rather than later. Stocks are often limited, especially to fit commercial vehicles, and will soon run out once the forecasters start warning that poor weather is on the way.

But what exactly are winter tyres, and what makes them really worth it? Let’s find out.

What are winter tyres?

Winter tyres are a specific type of tyre which have a higher natural rubber and silica in their compound. This makes them softer and more flexible, helping to improve their traction and grip on road surfaces as the weather drops during the winter.

When should winter tyres be used?

The good thing is that drivers in the UK don’t need to wait for snow and ice to swap over to winter tyres.

Temperature, rather than timing, is the critical factor in deciding when to change, because winter tyres work best when it reaches 7°C or below, and at this temperature, normal tyres which are fitted to the majority of British vehicles, start to become less effective, so as soon as that temperature gauge drops, it’s time to make the switch.

In fact, many fleet operators choose to swap to winter tyres as soon as October comes around to ensure they’re fully prepared for the peak of winter.

What’s the difference between winter tyres and all-season tyres?

The biggest difference between winter tyres and normal tyres is the tread.

Winter tyres have much deeper tread grooves, which help to displace water and gather as much snow inside as possible as the vehicle moves more effectively.

The grooves in winter tyres are wider too, giving a better grip on the road surface, and these grooves even help to reduce stopping distance as well. In fact, the global tyre manufacturer Continental often highlight this by saying that a vehicle fitted with winter tyres will come to a standstill on a snow-covered road after 35 metres from a speed of 30mph, compared to a braking distance of 43 metres with normal tyres.

For perspective, that means winter tyres can help a vehicle brake up to 2 car lengths earlier, than one fitted with normal tyres. A crucial benefit when vehicles are travelling at high speeds and carrying heavy loads. 

Do I need to switch to winter tyres?

Whilst winter tyres aren’t mandatory in the UK, fitting them during the colder months is highly recommended to make use of all the added safety benefits.

For some fleet operators, winter tyres are even considered an essential part of their routine safety maintenance, as the differences in performance could potentially be lifesaving.

How much do winter tyres cost?

As with normal tyres, there’s a huge range of prices and options for different types of vehicles, but the fact is that winter tyres don’t come cheap.

This is because all need to be changed at once, and all the normal tyres need to be stored somewhere safe until the weather warms back up.

For commercial fleets who operate numerous vehicles of all shapes and sizes, this can take up a lot of space and funds. For example, storing tyres in a ‘tyre hotel’ or a big enough storage unit.

However, drivers will be saving the wear on their other set though, so in theory both sets should last longer, despite the initial investment.

What happens if I break down in the winter?

Our job is to get you and your vehicle moving again as soon as possible after a breakdown. And as one of the UK’s leading vehicle recovery operators, we do it efficiently and effectively. 

Not only will our fleet recover any size of vehicle, but we’ll also work with you to arrange a new vehicle to finish your journey. For example, if you experience a breakdown in a refrigerated vehicle and have a perishable load, then we can arrange for an identical vehicle to be sent out in its place so you can continue your delivery without any damage to the goods.

Through snow, sleet or ice, we’ll be there when you need us.

Egertons is one of the UK’s leading vehicle rescue and recovery operators. We’re a dynamic organisation at the forefront of change within the recovery industry, and we’re proud of our 55-year vehicle recovery heritage. 

But, what truly sets us apart is our 300-strong fleet, vast range of equipment and the technology it is equipped with. This is supported by our 24-hour control room, and having invested in industry leading software, we can seamlessly track the progress of all our vehicles and allocate jobs straight to the recovery technicians. 

We’re here to make your job easier; whatever you need, whenever you need it. 

We’re always ready