Monday, 8 March 2010

one winter on tyres

Regular readers have seen it; we had lots of snow up here, probably more than during the last five years all together. When the first blow hit us it was "once in a century", now eight weeks later we were still and again snowed in and it is rather a "once in a decade" affair. The plough might need a companion: a blower!

Having helped out neighbours, the occasional ditch victim and some Formula 1 drifters - those are the ones on pure slick-type tyres blinded by fear and driving on hope - there was plenty of opportunity to discuss the right kind of tyre; one that might make the battle with that white powder, soft or black ice a bit more realistic and a wee more fruitful.

What we call snow tyres is called Winter tyres on the Continent. That explains that "stupid" answer on my question "Why don't you put on snow tyres?" Whoever I asked came back with "Oh, we hardly see snow nowadays!"

Hardly!? See!?

Altering the question to "Why don't you use winter tyres?" made it even worse: "Oh, we don't have Winter tyres in this country!"

Glad, at least nobody questioned the four seasons.

Along with the one season generally referred to as 'Winter' come lower temperatures; in very general terms: those degrees below +7°C are not what regular 'Summer' tyres are made for; they are simply getting too hard, so they work their best from around 18°C upwards getting softer and producing the grip you expect.

The rubber compound of winter tyres, obviously designed to work best in cold rain, on snow and even to some extend (sorry: extent!) on ice is much softer; it is more flexible at lower temperatures (best at -4°C) and offers much more grip than a hardened, in many cases tread reduced Summer tyre.

By the way I: in some European countries you are more or less forced to switch to the appropriate seasonal tyre as in case of an accident, your fault or not, the insurance companies will survey not only how you handled your car but will also check your tyres; should there be any reason to believe that your tyres were inappropriate you will have to come up with 'your fair share' of the damage (cost).

By the way II: there are not many insurance companies nowadays that not serve the UK and parts of Europe, or vice versa. So they are aware of all seasons, anywhere!

By the way III: I am not paid by the tyre industry nor do I hold any shares in same!

In the end it makes drifting much more fun while driving becomes safer and so much more efficient.

Carpe diem!


valfrid said...

Now winter is near and this blog of winter tyres is most important for us...

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