Winter tyres are made to allow greater control in snowy and icy conditions. Many people mistakenly believe that they can get the same level of performance from an all-season tyre, but this just isn’t the case. Winter-use tyres deliver up to 50% more traction, which can make it easier to avoid trouble on the road. Here, you’ll learn about buying winter tyres and wheels.
Tyres made for winter use are composed of special compounds that utilise the following features to offer better traction:
- Soft stud fibers, which work like metal studs without harming the road
- Compounds that remain flexible even in Australia’s coldest temperatures
- Micro-pore, silica based compounds that cut through water to increase traction
All-season tyres use substantially different compounds, which are ‘averaged’ to deliver traction and improved wear under a variety of driving conditions. There’s a trade-off, though; traction declines sharply at 7 degrees Celsius and below.
Winter tyres‘ tread designs are intended to deliver increased traction in ice and snow, and today’s advanced designs give you that while offering a reasonably quiet ride. Winter tyres use these features in their tread designs:
- Wide grooves around the circumference that offer better traction by expelling snow and draining water
- Smaller grooves on the shoulders that improve traction without sacrificing ride quality or dry handling
- Complex sipe designs that cut through water to allow better contact with the road surface
- Round casing designs that cut through snow to improve traction
All-season tyres can’t offer these features and still deliver high-heat traction and wear resistance. Compromises must be made in wear, traction and cornering requirements to deliver traction under a variety of climatic conditions, and less-aggressive tread designs offer greater highway comfort but don’t expel snow as well as winter tyres do.
Winter tyres help you stay safe on the road by cutting through snow, ice and standing water. These tyres are designated with special symbols, which set them apart from standardized all-season designs. When fitting your car with wheels and tyres, it’s recommended to replace all four tyres at once for optimal traction and increased safety.