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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Replacing tires with winter ones. When and why is it worth doing?

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In winter conditions, summer tires can extend the braking distance by up to about 30 percent, Mikołaj Krupiński, spokesman for the Motor Transport Institute, told PAP. He added that it is not worth postponing tire replacement until the last minute, and the right time to change it is when the average daily temperatures are around 7 degrees Celsius.

A spokesman for the Motor Transport Institute (ITS) noted that although ITS does not have independent tire test results, independent tests and studies by consumer organizations – both European and American – as well as comparisons and analyzes carried out by automotive journalists and organizations working for road safety road traffic, clearly indicate the advantages of tires dedicated to the season. – In the case of winter tires used at temperatures around or below zero, this means better adhesion to the ground, more effective removal of water, snow and slush from under the wheels and shorter braking distances than in the case of summer equivalents – noted Krupiński.

Summer tires may extend braking distances in winter conditions

When asked how the braking distance changes depending on the tire we are driving, he emphasized that it all depends on the vehicle’s speed, road condition, temperature and the driver’s reflexes. – It is assumed that the average difference in braking distance between summer and winter tires during winter weather may be as much as approx. 30% in extreme cases. to the detriment of the summer version. This is a lot considering that sometimes centimeters determine road safety – he said. He added that summer tires are designed primarily for efficient driving in warmer weather conditions, and their properties may significantly decrease as the temperature drops. – Summer tires have a rubber compound dedicated to achieving the best possible parameters when it is warm. At low temperatures, this compound becomes harder and less flexible, which leads to deterioration of grip, so in winter conditions, summer tires can extend braking distances, he said. He also drew attention to another aspect – tread. – In a winter tire it is much more expressive, it has deeper and more numerous cuts, the so-called sipes, which increases the tire’s grip, e.g. on a snow-covered road, and also facilitates the removal of snow and water from under the wheels – he said.

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Check also: Replacing tires will be much more expensive. Even a double-digit price increase

There is no order, but Poles change tires themselves

Krupiński noted that Poland is one of the countries where there are no regulations requiring drivers to use tires adapted to weather conditions, which – as he emphasized – does not mean that Poles do not follow this practice. – Surveys – repeated periodically – indicate that approx. 85 percent drivers change tires with the arrival of winter or summer. This proves knowledge about the disadvantages and dangers of driving on tires that are not suitable for the season, he said.

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When asked about all-season tires, he said that they were “some kind of compromise”. – So far, no perfect tires have been created, i.e. tires that would guarantee high performance parameters in positive summer temperatures and negative winter temperatures. Certified all-season tires will work well for drivers who cover low mileage – up to 10,000. km, mainly in the city, which is regularly cleared of snow and in the case of vehicles with low engine power. In a scenario in which the driver travels several or several dozen thousand kilometers a year, in various weather conditions, and his car has a significant power of the drive unit – using two sets of tires – adjusted to the seasons – seems to be a better choice, he said.

When to change from summer to winter tires?

Referring to the issue of when we should change tires, he pointed out that the weather is a determinant. – If the average daily temperatures fluctuate around 7 degrees Celsius and the forecasts predict a drop in temperatures, this is the right time to change from summer to winter tires or to install all-season tires – he said. He added that it is not worth postponing tire replacement until the last minute, so as not to be surprised by unfavorable weather conditions. – Changing tires earlier will also help you avoid queues at tire repair shops – he noted.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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