Tyres

Burgundy

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The last wintry snap here was February last year and, to my shame, I was running cheap summers with barely-legal tread. On the way home, I had to abandon the car and walk 12 miles home (via the pub). I was very glad that I had a pair of walking boots, thick socks and a full set of waterproofs in the boot. I made the right choice to not persevere as, within a mile of leaving town on the country roads, people were losing control and ditching their cars left, right and centre. I walked down one hill following a brand new Fiesta that was genuinely sliding down sideways!

I now pay much more attention to the rubber and we have Continental AllSeasonContact tyres on a little FWD Fiat.
 

dc68

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Living on Dartmoor I still don't have a need for winter tyres, I just make sure my tyres are always in good condition and if the weather is bad enough to get me snowed in ( 3/4 mile uphill to the nearest unclassified road) I just stay in.
 

Northam Saint

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Living on Dartmoor I still don't have a need for winter tyres, I just make sure my tyres are always in good condition and if the weather is bad enough to get me snowed in ( 3/4 mile uphill to the nearest unclassified road) I just stay in.
Not far down the road from me. Dartmoor always gets It, we can see some of it from our staff room window.
 

Rufusdog

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There is a relatively new type of tyre on the market, which is rated for snow and ice and for year round use. It’s called an All-weather tyre, and should not be confused with an all-season tyre which is not rated for snow and is in fact not safe in snow. Nokian makes a range of All-weather tyres.
 
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Vacumatic

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Winter tyres work not only for accelerating, they also improve braking at temperatures below 7 degrees.

Last witer, I think we had around 2 inches of snow where I am, which lasted a day, the current car is front wheel drive and I really didn't need winter tyres.

However, a few years ago there was a promotion of 4 steel wheels with wheel trims with Bridgestone Blizzak winter tyres for £620 I bought a set, the garage stores them for me and fits them every December and takes them off each April. This is a big benefit to me and I would say unless you have plenty of storage and do not mind changing 4 wheels and tyres twice a year then I would find a garage that provides this service. I think they call it a Winter Tyre Hotel Service.

Here is one for the Guildford area as an example


The grip that you get from winter tyres in snow is fantastic, there are youtube vids of cars going up a ski slope, one is 4WD with summer tyres, the other is Fwd with winter tyres, the four wheel drive car soon gets stuck, the winter tyred car goes straight past, scroll down on the Guildford Tyre link and it shows the Auto Express test on a ski slope.

If your car is rear wheel drive and you live in a hilly area then I would definitely have winter tyres fitted, front wheel drive and a light car with narrow wheels such as a Fiesta, I might just chance it.

It all depends on how much snow we are going to get and whether you have the luxury not needing to drive when there is snow forecast to fall.

eta. I see that Run Flat snow tyres are needed, I am assuming that they are around. I would normally say that you should buy some steel wheels plus snow tyres, this will save your expensive alloys from damage and be easier than swapping just the tyres over but that would mean buying a spare, jack, brace and all that goes with changing a punctured tyre at the roadside, this is starting to sound like an expensive pain.

My last BMW had run flat tyres, damn things had so many punctures and the tyre walls were so stiff. never again comes to mind.
 
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Rufusdog

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I had run flat tyres on my BMW Z4 for a couple of years, they’re OEM on newly purchased BMWs, but replaced them with ultra-high performance ‘regular’ tyres because of the hard ride and inability to repair a puncture. Also, they cost nearly twice as much as a ‘regular‘ performance tyre. Now I carry an electric air pump, which operates off the car’s battery, and a can of ‘goo’ to inject in a tyre if punctured. Interestingly, our Audi Q5 does not use run flats and comes with an electric air pump and a inflatable spare.
 

ajc347

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A good quality summer tyre will last all year round without too many problems, unless there is more than a very light dusting of snow on the ground.

I always go for tyres with maximum wet weather performance (such as Uniroyal Rain Sport 3’s) and they have been fine year on year.

A summer tyre that has been maximised for dry weather performance or track use will struggle in the winter due to lack of wet weather grip.

I’d also advise going with tyres that use a hard compound rubber. I had a set of Falken’s that lasted a long time but we’re noticeably not as good when temperatures dropped in winter.
 

Vacumatic

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Having had a tyre split I prefer a spare over the tin of goo.

I was on the M6 heading north, a rear tyre blew out, I was in the slow lane and managed to get on to the hard shoulder, thankfully it was before the days of smart motorways otherwise I could have been sharing road space with a Volvo artic. The car was a 5 series Touring, with a spare and a jack, I have never changed a wheel so fast in my life, I could see a huge split in the side wall, about 6 inches long. When the tyre was replaced the object that caused the failure was still inside the tyre, it was a brake control arm off a lorry, a metal part about 4 inches long.

I would also just want a jack and a spare wheel, I think anything else is just cost cutting from the manufacturers.I must admit though when I last had the wheels changed the mechanic said that the bolts were torqued to 120 ft pounds, he said that the only way to remove the nuts is with air tools, you couldn't do it with a wheel brace.
 

chris.hale

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Staff member
I must admit though when I last had the wheels changed the mechanic said that the bolts were torqued to 120 ft pounds, he said that the only way to remove the nuts is with air tools, you couldn't do it with a wheel brace.
That sounds a bit excessive, was that the recommended torque setting?
 

Vacumatic

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That sounds a bit excessive, was that the recommended torque setting?
Yes, it is the VW setting. I also take it to an independant VW mechanic and he agrees that the VW reccommended setting is excessive and he just 'nips it up' and doesnt use a torque wrench.

The VW mistake is that they put junior apprentices on wheel changes and use the same torque setting on the security locking wheel nuts, because they are made of softer metal they often shear, this means that the locking nut outer ring has to be cut off, not something you can do at the side of the road.

These were the sort of jobs I used to do myself, finger tight on the nuts when the wheel was in the air, drop the car down, as firmly as you can by hand, and then stand on the wheel brace until you hear a squeal. Never had any problems
 
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chris.hale

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Staff member
Yes, it is the VW setting. I also take it to an independant VW mechanic and he agrees that the VW reccommended setting is excessive and he just 'nips it up' and doesnt use a torque wrench.

The VW mistake is that they put junior apprentices on wheel changes and use the same torque setting on the security locking wheel nuts, because they are made of softer metal they often shear, this means that the locking nut outer ring has to be cut off, not something you can do at the side of the road.

These were the sort of jobs I used to do myself, finger tight on the nuts when the wheel was in the air, drop the car down, as firmly as you can by hand, and then stand on the wheel brace until you hear a squeal. Never had any problems
I tend to go with "as tight as I can reasonably get it with a wheel brace" myself. Happily it's been a while since I'd had to have a wheel off, but despite them being fitted by a mechanic I managed with a wheel brace.
 

Northam Saint

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I tend to go with "as tight as I can reasonably get it with a wheel brace" myself. Happily it's been a while since I'd had to have a wheel off, but despite them being fitted by a mechanic I managed with a wheel brace.
Same, tight as I can. I’ve noticed over recent years all the tire places use a torque wrench.
 

Paper Plane

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A few years ago I had problems on my Saab 9-5 Estate with sheared wheelnuts due to over tightening by tyre fitters. A real pain to fix and an unnecessary expense.

The only time I had a blowout was on the A63 dual carriageway in another Saab, a 9-3 Cabrio. The Old Bill turned up just after I had got out to look at it and the friendly copper changed it for me after coning off the car. I was impressed and pleased. So much so I contacted Humberside Police to thank them.

steve
 
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