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The benefits to owning used winter tyres

  Monday, 9 January 2023

When the temperature drops, some drivers will switch to winter tyres on their cars. Winter tyres make a real difference to the amount of control you have in snow and ice. Here we look at whether used winter tyres are a good investment.

What are used winter tyres?

Winter tyres are designed to cope better with driving in winter conditions. The width of the grooves are narrower than conventional summer tyres, so less ice and snow can be clogged in the tread patterns. This gives more grip on winter road surfaces. Winter tyres work most effectively when the temperature drops below 7°C, and in some European countries winter tyres are even a legal requirement.

Car tyre on winter road covered with snow

Stopping times will be significantly improved with winter tyres. According to tests conducted by road safety charity TyreSafe, on a cold wet road, a car travelling at 60mph will take 70.5 metres to stop. A vehicle with winter tyres at the same speed will stop in 65.7 metres. The gap between these times get longer if there is snow on the road.

How can I tell if a tyre is a winter tyre?

Winter tyres have two symbols on their sidewall: “M+S” and “3PMSF”. The 3PMSF symbol (snowflake) is mandatory for winter or all-weather tyres produced since January 1, 2018. So it should be pretty easy to tell, but if you’re still not sure consult a professional.

How old can used winter tyres be?

A complete set of new winter tyres can be extremely expensive, so some drivers will buy part-worn/used tyres. Ideally, used winter tyres should be no more than 2-3 years old. By the time they are 5 years old their effectiveness in winter conditions will be significantly reduced. That’s why we thoroughly check every used tyre, to ensure it is roadworthy and safe.

What do I do with my summer tyres?

If you have bought some used winter tyres, you should probably get them fitted by a professional tyre fitting service. But what about your summer tyres? If you have a garage or sufficient storage space you should store your tyres in cool, dark and a well-ventilated space. If you don’t, some tyre retailers or car dealerships offer a tyre hotel service, where you pay to have your tyres stored over the winter.

How do I check if my tyres are roadworthy?

Even if you aren’t thinking of switching to winter tyres, it is important to check whether your standard tyres are still roadworthy. The legal limit for tyre tread depth is 1.6mm, but you should try not to let your tread depth below 2mm. Winter conditions will make driving on unsafe tyres even more dangerous. There is a simple check you can do to test tyre tread depth. Simply take a 20p coin and place it in a groove of your tyre. If the rim of the coin is visible, then the tread depth is below the legal limit.

Are there any other things I can do to make my car cope with winter conditions?

Winter tyres will make quite a difference to how well you drive in snow and icy conditions, but there are a few other things you can do to prepare for driving in winter.

  • Pack for the worst conditions (de-icer, ice scraper, blanket, shovel, phone charger, warning triangle, torch etc)
  • Use a bag of warm (not hot) water to de-ice your windscreen, if you don’t have de-icer
  • Wear suitable footwear when driving, like boots, in case you get stuck
  • Check your screen wash regularly to ensure it doesn’t freeze
  • Invest in snow socks – a fabric cover that can be put over tyres to help get out of a driveway covered in snow
  • Invest in snow chains – offer better grip than snow socks, but must be removed for roads clear of snow

Buy used winter tyres at ASM

Winter tyres can be a good investment if you are driving a lot in snowy and icy conditions over the winter. Switching tyres will not only help you to drive better in blustery conditions, but it could save you from a nasty accident.

But why pay full price when you can get high quality, part-worn tyres for a fraction of the cost? ASM Auto Recycling has a wide range of new and used tyres for sale on our tyre bay from leading manufacturers like Ovation, Matador and Rapid.

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