Following on from our previous Conversations on winter tyres, we’ve listened to your feedback and pulled out all the stops to test them. But will winter tyres be the right choice for you and your car?
If you’re a Which? member, when the latest magazine lands on your doormat, you’ll find full test results for two of the most popular tyre sizes on the market. They’re fitted to superminis and medium cars (the cars most Which? members own).
But there wasn’t enough space in the mag to include the other four sizes we’ve tested – you’ll find our full winter tyre tests online. So, all in all, we’ve tested 69 tyres in no less than six of the most popular sizes, fitted to large family saloons and estates, MPVs, and the superminis and medium cars previously mentioned.
It’s been a busy few weeks for me, so if you’re thinking about buying winter tyres, I hope our in-depth and detailed tests will help you choose the best and, as importantly, avoid the worst.
Has Which? changed its position on winter tyres?
My answer to that question (in my best Little Britain impression!) is ‘yes but, no but’.
Why no? We still acknowledge that winter tyres are beneficial for those driving in very cold conditions. And they may be an essential purchase for anyone living in a remote area where severe cold weather is a regular occurrence.
But we still believe that for the vast majority of the population, who are living in warmer urban climes, it’s not that easy to justify the expense of fitting winter tyres.
Why yes? We also acknowledge that you come to Which? for independent and detailed buying advice. So, our very first winter tyre tests should hopefully give you just that.
Usage advice – buy five winter tyres!
Some have asked us whether they can mix winter and summer tyres. My answer to that is ‘no’. It’s also a good idea to read our online guidance on this – which is to buy five winter tyres (not four and certainly not two).
If you have a puncture, which is much more likely in ice and snow, and fit a spare summer tyre with the three winter ones, you’d seriously upset the handling of your car. You might not feel the difference trundling around at 20 mph in warm, dry conditions, but it will definitely matter if you’re driving at normal speeds in extreme conditions.
One member asked about the possibility of only fitting winter tyres on the drive wheels – in this case, the fronts. Again, the answer is an emphatic ‘NO!’
When fitting any tyres (winter or summer) the ones with the most grip must always be fitted to the rear axle, whether this is the driven axle or not. Otherwise, if you have the least grip on your rear wheels, there’s a big risk that your car’s handling will become unstable in an emergency manoeuvre when you most need it to remain stable.
So, will you be checking out our winter tyre tests and investing in a set of five tyres this winter?
Will you be buying winter tyres?
No - I don't plan to (67%, 676 Votes)
Yes - I plan to/I already have (24%, 240 Votes)
I don't know - I need to do more research first (10%, 98 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,016