When are winter tyres appropriate?

Winter tyres are designed to work when the temperature drops to 7°C and below. The tread design and compound formulation are better than summer tyres at these temperatures, so they improve grip, traction, handling and braking. The Met office state the average temperatures between October and March are generally below 7°C therefore it makes perfect sense to fit winter tyres.

 

Volkswagen Winter tyre video

What is the difference between winter tyres and cold weather tyres?

None really, the two terms are interchangeable and both are used to describe a tyre designed with higher natural rubber content, more effective tread pattern and additional Sipes. If you're looking for a tyre that is good for winter then look for the snowflake symbol to make sure you're getting a tyre designed to work when the temperature drops below 7°C.

Can winter tyres be used at temperatures above 7°C?

Yes they can, 7°C is generally used as the point at which winter tyres start to perform better than summer tyres. The 7°C guideline isn't a 'switch' but rather a tipping point, the further away from 7°C the temperature moves (either way) the more effective winter and summer tyres become relative to each other. However winter tyres can be used at temperatures above 7°C. Below 7°C, braking distances are shorter on wet roads with winter tyres. Even at 30mph there are significant braking benefits when using winter tyres on snowy roads. At 20mph winter tyres would stop the vehicle 11 metres sooner on icy roads.

Do I need winter tyres if my car has 4 Motion?

Volkswagen's 4 Motion definitely offers an advantage delivering drive to the road, although it's a mistake to think that 4 Motion means you don't need winter tyres. When they're fitted, winter tyres increase the 4 Motion advantage significantly and will make sure you get the best results out of your 4 Motion system. 4 Motion doesn't do much for steering and braking. Fitting winter tyres provides better drive, steering and braking.

Is there legislation governing the use of winter tyres?

There isn't any legislation governing the use of winter tyres in the UK. But in many European countries winter tyres are now mandatory from both a legal and an insurance perspective. This is because of the safety benefits they deliver in all conditions at or around 7°C in all road conditions.

How do I store my summer tyres safely during the winter?

We suggest the following:

1. Locate a cool, dry location away from any heat or water pipes. Flooring should be free from grease, and oil as this can deteriorate the tyre rubber.

2. Your local Volkswagen will identify which tyre came from which wheel for you before placing the tyres into the tyre bags.

3. Wash and dry tyres (and wheels) to avoid any corrosion during storage.

4. Stack your tyres lying flat on the floor in their bags i.e.Tread facing outwards not up. Do not stack any higher than 4ft.

5. Slightly rotate the tyres once a month to avoid any distortion in the rubber.

6. We recommend that your Volkswagen retailer re-fits your tyres for you. They will check the rubber for any distortions and also make sure the tyre pressure is correct.