When to put on your winter tyres?

Currently reading:
When to put on your winter tyres?

Troubles with 500c

Active member
Joined
Feb 1, 2021
Messages
223
I like many on here swap onto winter tyres, but each year I struggle to decide on when is the best time to swap. Winters are becoming milder and wetter here.

Like many on here, mine are on separate steel wheels and I fit them myself. I generally like to pick a dry and warm weekend in October and do it then.

However, in recent years it’s meant driving for the next 2 months in temperatures totally unsuited to the tyres.

Leaving it too late means fitting them in freezing temperatures and increasing the risk of damage to the alloys from potholes and salt.
 
Joined
Apr 27, 2011
Messages
31,706
Location
Near the M4
I think its around 7 degrees is regarded as the 'switch point'

Yesterday evening.. dry and cloudy was

11'c at 20:00 and 8'c at 21:00

Cloudy skies in the day will no doubt be with us soon enough
 
Joined
Feb 22, 2004
Messages
9,106
Location
Faringdon, Oxfordshire UK
Yes, 7 degrees is the recommended change point. When temperatures are consistently at ofr below that level, winters will give their best. They will work above those temps of course, but may be a little less precise in their directional control, and wear more quickly. I left my winters on all through 2020, partly through laziness, and partly to accelerate their wear before they go hard due to age, didn't seem to wear them much. They coped fine with the summer temps. This is partly why I think I'll go all-seasons next time, save the faff of changing over twice a year.

They are not just for snow of course. The rubber stays more flexible at lower temps, so make a real difference in grip and handling whenever the temp is low, whether dry, wet, icy or snow.

Some supermarkets run winters all year round on their home delivery vans. Amazing how a rear wheel drive Sprinter will cope with snow on winter tyres, and be immovable on summers.
 

StevenRB45

Upstanding Member for Newcastle
Joined
Mar 23, 2007
Messages
9,784
Location
Newcastle
It was -2 over night here but it's meant to be 17 degrees by Thursday.

If anything this is why I prefer the All-Seasons that we're on, they work well enough in all weathers and for autumn/spring conditions I.e. wet roads at less than 7 degrees they are better than summer or winter tyres.

The bloke on the tyre reviews website recommends using a summer as a summer and an all season as a winter if you want two sets in the UK.
 
Joined
Apr 27, 2011
Messages
31,706
Location
Near the M4
I drive to work at 06:30

We've only had 1 morning below 8'c so far..

SouthCentral..Oxford area..

Anywhere at altitide..or North of the Pennines will be considerably cooler

Where are you driving?

Charlie
 
OP
OP
T

Troubles with 500c

Active member
Joined
Feb 1, 2021
Messages
223
We live near Brighton and I’ve been fitting Winters Tyres to the 500 every winter.

In recent years the winters have been warmer and wetter with no snow. So I changed her 500 onto cross climate tyres which are ideal for here in the south.

However, I like to use winter tyres to save the alloys. They’re 11 years old and not having seen any salt has really preserved them.

Last winter it was warmer at Christmas than it was on Mid Summers day. Winter tyres in warm wet conditions are not going to perform as well as the Cross Climate tyres.
 

StevenRB45

Upstanding Member for Newcastle
Joined
Mar 23, 2007
Messages
9,784
Location
Newcastle
With you being that far south (you're literally 350 miles south of me) and on the coast I think you'll struggle to follow traditional winter tyre usage advice.

Had a nice demo of this last year even just last year during covid lockdown. A friend of my wife had covid was living alone and stopped responding to all communications for 24 hours. At the time we were only ones who'd had covid..so we were the ones to go check she was alive.

At ours it was a full blizzard at minus 2, roads were covered, car was covered. By the time I'd dropped to 300ft 4 miles down the road...there was sleet, by the time I got to the coast it was 3 degrees and torrential rain.

If I was you I'd probably just stick the winters on until they wear down and then replace with all-seasons with snowflake mark.

In full winter they do enough..got me through this no bother last year which was deep enough for me to pushing a bow wave at points

20210213_120344~3.jpg

But less specialised than winters so don't have to worry if temperatures head up or you get heavy rain rather than snow.
 
OP
OP
T

Troubles with 500c

Active member
Joined
Feb 1, 2021
Messages
223
Cheers Steven,

It’s been a few years since we’ve seen any snow and must be nearly 10 since we saw more than 12”.

Forgot to add that the wife prefers the winter tyres because they are 14” and the alloys are 15”. It’s surprising how much difference this makes to the ride.
 
Joined
Aug 2, 2006
Messages
3,891
Location
highlands
This makes me smile in a way. Seven degrees
is the magic number right enough, in saying that certain situations require different measures. For instance, I’m in the Highland area and manage well enough without changing to winter tyres, in saying that, when I was working as a care worker, I had early morning calls and was at places that were little used and never saw the sun or gritters until much later. Sheets of ice was the order of the day, all be it at times it was just a matter of yards that required the right tyres.

Common sense tells you if you do indeed need winter tyres. If you’re on the road all over at winter time better to be well shod than not. Use your own thinking, it’s not that difficult to make a call…;)
 

StevenRB45

Upstanding Member for Newcastle
Joined
Mar 23, 2007
Messages
9,784
Location
Newcastle
Cheers Steven,

It’s been a few years since we’ve seen any snow and must be nearly 10 since we saw more than 12”.

Forgot to add that the wife prefers the winter tyres because they are 14” and the alloys are 15”. It’s surprising how much difference this makes to the ride.

The tyres themselves will make a difference as well, when I switched to all seasons (on both cars) I didn't change the size at all. Both were 205 width with a 16 and a lower profile 17.

Back to back on the same wheel and tyre size the softer rubber gives a better primary ride, dropping down a wheel size will help as well though.

To be fair though by the time you get to what I assume are 155 or 165 width 14 even a summer tyre will be alright in snow because they are fairly narrow tyre and the car is light. It's not the same as something heavy on wide summer tyres, had the ignominy one year in the Mazda of getting stuck in an inch of slush.

Used to bomb around on 155 summers in full winter conditions in my Fiats and they did fine, though this was pre-abs so you didn't lose control of the brakes if you got onto a slippy surface.
 
OP
OP
T

Troubles with 500c

Active member
Joined
Feb 1, 2021
Messages
223
This makes me smile in a way. Seven degrees
is the magic number right enough, in saying that certain situations require different measures. For instance, I’m in the Highland area and manage well enough without changing to winter tyres, in saying that, when I was working as a care worker, I had early morning calls and was at places that were little used and never saw the sun or gritters until much later. Sheets of ice was the order of the day, all be it at times it was just a matter of yards that required the right tyres.

Common sense tells you if you do indeed need winter tyres. If you’re on the road all over at winter time better to be well shod than not. Use your own thinking, it’s not that difficult to make a call…;)

Read the thread.
 
OP
OP
T

Troubles with 500c

Active member
Joined
Feb 1, 2021
Messages
223
If I was you I'd probably just stick the winters on until they wear down and then replace with all-seasons with snowflake mark.

In full winter they do enough..got me through this no bother last year which was deep enough for me to pushing a bow wave at points

But less specialised than winters so don't have to worry if temperatures head up or you get heavy rain rather than snow.

Thanks Steven, excellent post. Didn’t occur to me to change the winter tyres for all season tyres.

I don’t need Winter Tyres for most of the winter because they’re just not needed down here. However, I do want a ‘Winter’ set of wheels that save the alloys and will provide additional grip when needed.

I also can fit them when the weather is warmer and not have to wait until it’s freezing cold.
 
Joined
Feb 22, 2004
Messages
9,106
Location
Faringdon, Oxfordshire UK
Cheers Steven,

It’s been a few years since we’ve seen any snow and must be nearly 10 since we saw more than 12”.

Forgot to add that the wife prefers the winter tyres because they are 14” and the alloys are 15”. It’s surprising how much difference this makes to the ride.

I'm guessing these are steel wheels as would be fitted to the Pop models. When we used the 500 with BSM, I originally had a Sport, then later a Pop. The Pop rode so much better with the higher profile tyres, a much more comfortable ride.
 
OP
OP
T

Troubles with 500c

Active member
Joined
Feb 1, 2021
Messages
223
Spot on, they’re 14” Pop steel wheels and the difference in ride comfort from the 15” alloys is quite surprising.

The other benefit of steel wheels and a higher profile tyre is they’re resilience to potholes. I don’t know what the roads are like where you live, but they’re dreadful here. Winter is only going to make it worse.
 

DaveMcT

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 14, 2009
Messages
18,743
A few years ago when the "Beast from the East" froze the Teign Estuary, ordinary General 13" tyres on the 1.2 were just fine. My R1200GS had full on knobblies but I wasn't "hard enough" to test them on that stuff. I borrowed a car and soon after bought the 100HP.
 
OP
OP
T

Troubles with 500c

Active member
Joined
Feb 1, 2021
Messages
223
Narrow small tyres work very well in snow. Years ago I used to drive a 2CV and they were excellent in snow.

Admittedly, winter tyres are not always beneficial. A friend of mine also uses them and ended up spending a night stuck on the A23. He could drive through the snow with the winter tyres, but the 1/2 mile of cars in front of him couldn’t.
 
Joined
Feb 22, 2004
Messages
9,106
Location
Faringdon, Oxfordshire UK
A few years ago when the "Beast from the East" froze the Teign Estuary, ordinary General 13" tyres on the 1.2 were just fine. My R1200GS had full on knobblies but I wasn't "hard enough" to test them on that stuff. I borrowed a car and soon after bought the 100HP.

I had a Yamaha RS100 that was fine in snow, and later an RD400 that was also good. Both would sit upright, even in a slide, and could be controlled much like a car. Surprising, but useful. The later XS400 just wanted to lie down.
 
Joined
Aug 2, 2006
Messages
3,891
Location
highlands
Heading to work to an oil yard winter time, heavy snow back in the 80s, a mate driving, Triumph Acclaim, He ditched it, hit a fence, car was toast. We managed to cadge a lift from another oil worker, who was driving a Citroen Dyane . Conditions were not great, this was early in the morning and roads were slippery.

Skinny tyres on the Citroen which performed very well and held the road without missing a beat. Ever since then I’ve had a soft spot for these cars. One of those moments you don’t forget.
 

The Panda Nut

Nutty about Pandas Infected by Panda virus and OPD
Joined
Jan 7, 2012
Messages
3,534
Location
East
I'm guessing these are steel wheels as would be fitted to the Pop models. When we used the 500 with BSM, I originally had a Sport, then later a Pop. The Pop rode so much better with the higher profile tyres, a much more comfortable ride.

My Bravo was on high profile tyres and was specifically selected with this in mind. It still had the same wheels as the low profile shod cars but the ride and steering were so much better to live with.
 
Top