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Are studded tyres right for you this Winter?

Michelin 22 Oct 2012

Are studded tyres right for you this Winter?

If you’re looking for tyres for Winter, you need to consider exactly which tyres to choose. After all, changing all your tyres at once isn’t a job you want to do more than you have to. By knowing the special characteristics of the two main types of Cold Weather tyres you can make an informed choice.

The case for friction (or non-studded) tyres

Friction Cold Weather tyres do not have any studs. Instead they rely on specially designed dense tread patterns featuring deep grooves and hundreds of tiny slits known as sipes. These greatly increase the grip between the tyre and the road, offering shorter stopping distances on snow-covered roads than regular ‘Summer’ tyres. If you drive on varying Winter road surfaces – wet, dry, slush and snow – they may well be the best choice for your Cold Weather tyres.

The case for studded tyres

If much of your Winter driving is on icy roads, tyres featuring metal studs may be ideal. They offer excellent traction on hard-packed frozen mud or ice, especially under braking – which can literally be a lifesaver if you hit hidden black ice.

Studded tyres are not ideal for driving on wet or dry roads that are not covered with ice, as they can increase braking distance, road noise and carriageway wear. In fact, in some countries like Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic, it is illegal to use studded tyres. Always make sure you are aware of the legislation in the country in which you are driving.

Modern studded tyres are suitable for use on icy roads in the most extreme climates, such as that found in the north of Scandinavia. They combine advanced studs designed to keep their shape and be retained in the tyre with fully active treads that increase grip in snow, making it easier to start and stop on the least friendly road surfaces imaginable.

How to make your choice

It may seem obvious, but those few square centimetres of tyre are the only contact your car has with the road, so it pays to make sure your tyres are up to the job – and never more so than in Winter.

If you drive more on icy roads than snowy roads, studded tyres are the choice for you. But if you drive more on snowy roads or a variety of different road conditions, Winter friction tyres could be a better choice.

Your tyre specialist will be happy to help you choose which Cold Weather tyres are best for you. But whichever you fit, driving with the right tyres will increase grip, help maintain your car’s performance… and help keep you safe in the cold weather.

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