Winter tyres

Winter tyres

Why bother?

There are plenty of reasons to consider buying winter tyres:

  • The colder, the more effective: made from specially formulated tread rubber, winter tyres make it easier for you to control your car on icy and snowy roads.
  • Strong traction: winter tyres have wide tread blocks and extra cuts in the tread called ‘sipes’ that give the tyre extra bite to grip winter roads, hills and sharp corners, and get rid of build-ups of snow.
  • Confidence and control: most drivers find that winter tyres give them that extra security when they’re driving in challenging winter conditions.
  • Cost effective: Summer tyres wear out quicker than winter tyres in cold temperatures. 

Winter tyre technologies

  • Ice Zones: a tread with numerous biting edges that gives you enhanced gripping traction, particularly on icy and slippery roads.
  • Winter Grip Tread Compound: a tread compound that offers enhanced traction on ice and snow-covered roads from season to season.

Buying winter tyres

Do your research

An EU tyre label gives you information about safety and environmental features, and all new tyres come with one. However, it doesn’t cover winter performance characteristics, so as well as asking your local dealer, it’s a good idea to seek out some independent tyre tests.

Always buy a full set

Mixing winter and summer tyres can make slippery conditions more dangerous and affect how well your vehicle handles, especially if the tyres have different tread patterns and performance features.

Store them properly

Cared for properly, your winter tyres will last as long as your summer tyres. Store them in special bags, on their sides (never tread-side down). If you don’t have the space to keep them where you live or work, your dealer might know somewhere you can store them.

 

Stick to the law

If winter tyres are a legal requirement, note down the date you need to have them fitted. Similarly, studded tyres can only be used at certain times and in certain places.

Winter driving tips

Driving in snow, slush and ice brings its own problems. Here are a few tips to consider:

Keep your speed down

You shouldn’t exceed the maximum speed that your vehicle recommends for winter tyres – it’s often lower than that of summer tyres.

Check the tyres for wear

Check your tyre pressure and tread depth regularly. Dunlop recommends a minimum tread depth of 4mm for winter tyres to ensure optimal performance, but in colder countries where using winter tyres is mandatory, tread depth will be specified by law.

Use a higher gear to start and pull away

Spinning your wheels can dig the vehicle deeper into the snow.

Don’t ‘pump’ your brakes

If you have anti-lock brakes, keep a steady pressure on the brake pedal instead.

Keep your distance

Braking distances increase in snow and icy conditions. 

Be careful over bridges or passes

They are well known locations for icy patches, so lift your foot slightly off the accelerator when going over them.

Don’t overdo the accelerator if stuck in snow

There’s a danger you’ll just end up deeper in a hole. Use the lowest possible gear and rock the tyres back and forth until you’ve got enough forward motion to push yourself forward.

Avoid distractions

You’ll need all the concentration you can muster in heavy snowy conditions. Don’t take calls or do anything else that could distract you.