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Winter or all-season tyres?

What to look out for

A question we’re often asked is “do I need winter or all-season tyres?” The answer is, it depends. On quite a few things.

Your location

Uniroyal Tyre Location Graphic

Different countries have different regulations when it comes to winter tyres. In some, it’s mandatory to fit them, while in others it’s recommended. For those living in milder temperatures, such as in the UK, they’re rarely necessary. So, the first thing to check is whether winter tyres are legally required in your country. If conditions are particularly harsh, and winter tyres are compulsory, there’s no choice about fitting winter or all-season tyres, you will have to swap from winter to summer every six months or so.

Your local weather

Uniroyal Weather Location Sun-Snow-Rain 3

If your local law says that winter tyres are recommended but not compulsory, you need to make your own decision about winter or all-season tyres, depending on the sorts of conditions you regularly drive in. Winter tyres are made from a high silica rubber compound with a tread pattern specifically designed to stay flexible in cold temperatures (below +7C). While they’re not ideal for all year round use, they give you the best possible protection in snow and ice.

Your average annual mileage

Uniroyal Mileage Graphic

If you live somewhere where winter temperatures are not too extreme and you don’t drive very often, particularly in the winter, it may not be worth the cost of separate winter and summer tyres. All-season tyres, also known as all-weather tyres, avoid the hassle and cost associated with swapping tyres twice a year.

Weighing up the pros and cons

  • Winter tyres cannot be used all year round. All-season tyres can.
  • Winter tyres are specifically designed for snow, ice and cold roads. All-season tyres work better on wintry roads than summer tyres but are not as efficient in snow and ice as winter tyres are.
  • It can be expensive to swap from winter to summer tyres. All-season tyres do not need to be swapped.
  • In the same way that all-season tyres will never outperform winter tyres in cold weather, they won’t outperform summer tyres in warmer weather either.

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