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Essential winter tyre care tips

With extreme weather just around the corner it’s more important than ever to make sure your tyes are in tip-top condition.

We’ve teamed up with Goodyear to help you stay safe on the roads over the winter with these five tips…

1) Check your pressures regularly
It’s important to regularly check your tyre pressures throughout the winter. Lower temperatures can cause tyre pressures to drop, meaning the contact patch will be larger and making it more difficult to gain traction on snow and ice. Always run your tyres to the manufacturer’s recommended PSI or BAR.

2) Tread carefully
Having adequate tread depth is essential, whatever the weather. However, when your tyres are trying to grip wet and icy roads, it’s even more important that they have suitable tread. The legal limit for minimum tread depth is 1.6mm, across three-quarters of the tread and around the entire circumference of the tyre. As well as helping your tyres grip the road more effectively throughout the winter months, regular checks to keep your tread above the legal limit can help to avoid three penalty points and a hefty fine.

3) Consider fitting winter or all-season tyres
Most cars are fitted with summer tyres as standard, as opposed to winter or all-season tyres like Goodyear’s Vector 4Seasons Gen-3. However, the compound on summer tyres remains hard in cold temperatures, whereas a winter or all-season tyre retains its pliability and moulds to the shape of the road to retain grip. As a result, the sipes in the tread design of a winter or all season tyre will grip to snowy and icy roads much more effectively. Most manufacturers will recommend using winter tyres in temperatures below 7°C.

4) Know your braking distances
If you’re using summer tyres in winter conditions, you will need to re-evaluate your braking distances. Research from the British Tyre Manufacturers Association (BTMA) shows that when braking on icy roads at 20mph, a car fitted with winter tyres will come to a rest after 57m, while summer tyres will keep going for as far as 68m. Regardless of what kind of tyres they’re using, it’s vital that drivers keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front.

5) How does the tyre look?
While you should carry out proven checks on your tyre pressures and tread, it’s also important to simply look for cosmetic damage. Look for rips, tears or bulges before setting off and make sure to check your pressure, especially if your car hasn’t moved for a few days.

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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