Are winter tyres worth it?

* How much do winter tyres cost? * Is it worth getting them fitted? * What are the benefits of winter tyres?...

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What Car? Staff
02 December 2010

Are winter tyres worth it?

Should I fit winter tyres?
Winter tyres will make your car easier and safer to drive through winter, so if you can afford them, we'd recommend you make the purchase.

For a real-world drivers experience, here's how What Car? reader Jason Lewis got on with his winter tyres when the snow hit the south east last night.

'Last winter, in similar conditions to those I experienced at home yesterday, my Honda Civic would not grip, accelerate or slow down with any confidence.

This winter with the Civic clad in Pirelli Sottozeros it is a complete revelation. Last night I went for a 'joyride' along very narrow and snow-covered single-track country lanes just to test the tyres, and the car took it all in its stride. In my view better than buying a 4x4.'

How much will it cost?
Tyres cost from around 60 each. Some outlets such as or Kwik-Fit offer free fitting, but if not you can have them fitted and balanced from around 15 each.

Jason Lewis tells us about his experience of winter tyresAre they just for snow?
No. Winter tyres perform better in cold and wet conditions, so don't think they're just for the white stuff.

They don't need to get as warm to perform as summer tyres, so you'll have more grip on corners and stopping distances will be shorter.

Do they wear faster?
No, and you'll be avoiding wear on your summer set, so you shouldn't find you need to replace any tyres more frequently than you are otherwise used to.

Will they affect my insurance?
You have to tell your insurer of any modification you make to your car and that includes the tyres.

Since winter rubber is designed to make your car safer, it should have a positive impact on your insurance, says the Association of British Insurers.

What do I do with my summer tyres?
Stick them in your garage or shed or, if you don't have space, book them some room in a 'tyre hotel'.

Tyre-fitting chains are offering this type of storage, from around 40, where you swap between summer and winter as the seasons change.