We all laughed at embarrassed Heathrow Airport officials last winter. The comical images of planes being unable to land because of the ‘wrong kind of snow’ led to much mirth and many red faces. The crazy thing is, most British motorists get stuck in the same situation, by trying to make it through the winter months on their summer tyres.
Alcar Wheelwright is one of the UK’s largest and most experienced winter wheel and tyre distributors and is advising motorists to invest wisely this winter, by equipping their vehicles with the appropriate ‘footwear’ to allow them to cope with even the harshest of weather. Wheelwright’s extensive range of tyres in all sizes can be purchased ready-fitted to a huge range of model – specific alloy or steel wheels. Over 90% of the cars on Britain’s roads are covered by its extensive range. With winter wheels and tyres being mandatory requirements in almost all European countries, it can only be a matter of time before the UK follows suit – particularly as many of the countries that have recently legislated towards this sensible outcome are on the same latitude as much of the UK.
It’s a mis-conception that winter tyres can only provide a benefit in snow. Winter tyres are made of a different tread compound which remains more flexible at low temperatures, giving excellent contact between the tyre and the road, thus retaining traction and grip. This does not just improve safety in braking situations, but also improves the ride on the variable road surfaces and textures experienced in winter, as well as when cornering. On ice, snow and in wet conditions, winter tyres offer traction that no summer tyre can match. Using winter tyres really can help you avoid becoming another accident statistic.
From October to April, temperatures regularly dip below 7°c – this is generally considered the signal to change tyres for a winter set. Winter averages in the past thirty years have been around 1°c, with a 2011 average of -1.5°c. When temperatures dip below 7°c, braking distances from 62mph (100kph) can increase by up to 5m, from 65m to 70m, when using summer or all-weather tyres.
This is owing to the decreased pliability and increased stiffness in the rubber at these temperatures. As a result, they are unable to react to road surface irregularities and traction dramatically decreases.
Our European cousins each have a complete spare set of steel wheels and tyres ready for winter. Why steel? Firstly, because it’s
far more suited to the occasional bit of kerbing and abuse from hidden obstacles, as well as being easy to repair if slightly damaged. Steel wheels are also less likely to lose their finish after being subjected to the harsh salt and chemical solution that is applied to British roads for most of the winter. However, for those that can not live without the style of alloy throughout the colder months, Alcar Wheelwright also have a huge range of cost-effective and highly durable replacements that are ideally suited to the taller profile construction of winter tyres.
Kevin Greer, Managing Director of Alcar Wheelwright commented: “It is madness that so many UK motorists try and make it through the winter on summer tyres. It’s the equivalent of walking in the snow in sandals.
Even the humblest of 2WD cars can have exceptional traction and safety throughout the winter, if correctly fitted with the right wheels and tyres. After two very harsh winters over the last two years, I think a lot of motorists will prepare properly for this winter – which is forecast to be every bit as harsh as last year.”
For more information: www.wheelwright.co.uk