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What with global warming and Britain being colder than the dark side of the moon and all that, should be we swapping for winter tyres on our cars? I've never considered this before but then I'm sure it's never been this cold before.

Is it worth the hassle/expense? Who does it and how much does it change the car? I drove through all the snow last year and it was ok. I wouldn't say it was a bundle of laughs, especially getting up the driveway onto our handstanding in front of the garage but it certainly wasn't impossible with a bit of thought (and a run up!)


88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

Evora NA

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Yep, you should be on winter tyres - even in the UK. They make a lot of difference in slippery conditions and aren't just for snow covered roads. They can make the difference between stopping and an insurance claim.

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But how many people actually do?

I've made this into a poll. Other than a couple of people on here I don't know anyone that changes their tyres.

In fact, if we should be on winter tyres whenever it's less than 7oC, why don't we just use them all year round?


88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

Evora NA

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They start to become compromised when the weather and tarmac warms up a bit, so ideally around March you should be thinking about swapping back to summer tyres.

Y'know whenever the snow comes to the UK and it always makes headlines because motorways get jammed up and A roads become wedged with people wheelspining up the slightest of inclines? Well, winter tyres would put a halt to all of that. It might put newspapers out a job because they'd have nothing to report, but life would be so much easier if the population actually thought about what they could do to prepare their vehicle for the conditions.

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Pilko pretty much hit the nail on the head. My guess is 99% of certainly U.K. based drivers don't even know what they are or what if any differance they would make. This time last year I said I would never again venture into Europe at this time of year in a two wheel drive family Estate with no winter tyres. Absolute madness and hindsight a wonderful thing ect ect.

I believe that in some European Countrys, if you are caught without your Winter tyres on at this time of year, you can be prosecuted.

Think of the public outcry (or the nievaty of it) if made law in U.K.

Edited by mayesprit

Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk - that will teach us to keep mouth shut!

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I have done quite well over the last dozen year ago or so by having 4WD vehicles with all season tires that score very high on snow traction. (I usually purchase my tires via UPS shipment from TireRack and they have lots of survey info to go by online.) I agree dedicated snows would be better, but never gotten stuck yet (even towing a snowmobile trailer with 2 sleds going up hills) with the combo of really good tread pattern all season and 4X4 traction (and not driving too crazy when it comes to allowing for stopping).

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Mine are at the dealer and will be fitted to the Evora next week...unfortunately too late for this bought of snow though.

I am supposed to be heading North to Fraserburgh tomorrow morning then through to Inverness in the afternoon so I wish I had the tyres now.

After last year's winter I am surprised that Tyre manufacturers and distributors are not pushing winter tyres more. One thing that is required when we get snow is for the gritters to be out BUT it also needs traffic to break up the hard packed snow. On the continent they fit winter tyres AND snow chains which keeps the traffic flowing and churns the snow.

Edited by bingoking

Join Lotus Enthusiasts Group Scotland here!  and on Facebook 

Unless other wise organised somewhere else and details posted on the forum the default location for the LEGS Breakfast meets are on the 1st Sunday of the month at Mannerstons Cafe and Farm Shop EH49 7LY between 10:00am and midday.

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This Autocar review of winter tyres seems to suggest to me that perhaps we should have winter tyres on all year round. The pros seem to outweigh the cons...

88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

Evora NA

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But last I knew the rubber of good winter tires that lets them grip better in cold wears quickly on dry roads (although not as bad a F1 rain tires on dry!!) ;-P . I also know the deep treads of winter snow tires have far too much squirm on dry roads (liken to riding up high on the bristles of a toothbrush -without the bristles sinking into the snow). To drive a Lotus with gusto on snow treads on dry roads would be disastrous (terrible overcorrection with no direct turn in feel).When I had snow tires mounted in the past I couldn't wait to change them over as soon as roads were regularly dry.

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Although I am one of the UK `Yes` votes it is only for the first time this year as per the other posting regards Evoras on winter tyres. A main couple of reasons have driven me to justify the expense this year and much of this will not affect you southern softies of course. <No smiley emoticon available> In no particular order as they say:

We may have great driving roads free of traffic by summer but we have a lot longer and harsher winters up my way than many of you, and as I live up a steep ungitted hill because not a bus route I am told I even get considerably more snow that even further down in the valley and village. Never mind about 4 miles away which is about 500 feet lower. Easier to justify on that basis. That is my regional reason

Then the Evora is one of my everyday cars unlike many Lotus which are used for sunny days and high days as 3rd cars or whatever. Yes I have a 4x4 as well but try and still use the car when I can.

Then after buying it we find we have Summer Tyres (as designated in Pirelli website) which have only about 6K miles life driven sensibly and warning that used below 6~8C they will degrade even faster. This is the financial justification to SWMBO! Another huge thread on the tyre life elsewhere.

Then I fancied seeing what my car would look like on different coloured rims. Hmmm........... no real justification there!!

Also to answer another point we have a lot of 4WD cars and 4 x 4 things like CRV-RAV4`s or whatever up our way and not just to negotiate the Tesco kerbs in summer but to be able to keep family moving in winter and get supplies. They may not be the worlds best 4 x 4`s but for 2 or 3 months a year are good enough additional traction. I know for example that my wife presently will be one of the first to venture out in her Nissan Murano with diff locks on etc. as soon as the snow clears a little and I am offshore unable to help. Call it peace of mind -- or having a quiet life!

Most neighbours have something with 4WD and one of them has an Audi S3 (so therefore Quattro for those that do not know) that he has winter alloys and tyres for. His experiences were one of the reasons I bit the bullet for the Evora. He put them on last weekend for the winter. However from the call home just now we have aout 0.5m+ lying snow right now never mind the drifts so even they will not be much use!!


A LEGS man and proud to declare it! Lotus Enthusiasts Group Scotland

Autocar's Best UK Drivers Car 2009. Car's Performance Car of the Year 2009; Evo's Car of the Year 2009. Top Gear Sports Car of the Year 2009

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Add a no but seriously considering it option and I'll tick it happily, for the jeep anyway.

Problem is needing two sets of wheels, it could be seriously expensive especially in a multi car household.

Also people will end up running old crusty tyres for much longer probably.

Where would everyone store them in the differing seasons?


Chunky Lover

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A couple of inputs from Norway where we - as was mentioned further up - aren't allowed to drive on the public road without proper (winter ) tyres when the ice and snow is out.

The difference between winter and summer tyres are mainly two: Rubber compound and pattern. The summer tyres are mainly made from synthetic rubber and is a harder compound. This makes them stand up to high temperatures from hard driving and high speeds. But also makes them helpless when the roads are icey, snowey or even plain cold.

The pattern on the winter tyres is much more open, with separate blocks of rubber with small cuts in them that combined will give relatively good traction on both ice and snow. There is really a huge difference on traction when there is snow or ice on the road.

The most inportant difference and the main reason why one should buy winter tyres for real winter condition is NOT to make you come up that incline. If you don't manage it is admittedly an inconvieniance. But if you don't manage to stop for that child in the road, or for the lorry that suddenly appears around a bend, or if you slide off the road and into a tree, you will probably regret it for the rest of the life you have left.

And admittantly it is an extra expence at the moment you buy the wheels. But from that moment the total expence won't be any higher. If you by a simple calculation say that you use the winters for six months and the summers for six both sets will last for double the number of years, so shouldn't cost any more on the long run :-)

There is another cost that I'm more aware of for winter driving: SALT. That is all the repair work, welding, brake repairs etc. that comes from the authorities salting the roads to dampen the effects of ice and snow.. That is one reason why I will never buy winter tyres for my precious sports cars. My civilian car though is allways equipped with the best quality winter tyres between mid october and mid april.

I do know several people - also in Norway - that run "All year tyres" and that is a lot better than summer tyres in winter but still not as good as winters - by far.

But my point in all this is to say that if you use a car in winter conditions it should have winter tyres. It may soon in fact be a question of life and death.

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I'm a yes but only on the Rangey. Doesn't need to cost a fortune - as long as you intend to keep the car for a while its really just spreading normal tyre life over two sets - no net cost difference. Richie came with 4x 20" alloys - which look the part and are great on road in summer. The spare was one of the original LR 19". Not really all the rage with the drug dealers so found plenty to match on Ebay for £50 each. Then 4x Wintrac Extremes from Camskill (that did cost!) but fitted by the local tyre shop for only £36 all in and I've got transport for the winter. The little Jimny is slow enough to be pretty good in all conditions on its ATs anyway - and I choose to leave the others in the barn if there's snow/ice about. Its gotta be worth it if you need to use your car every day. :thumbup:


Loving Lionel and Eleanor......missing Charlie and Sonny

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I am always a little sceptic about this for the uk unless we get ice/snow covered roads. Most of the autumn & winter is cool and wet., tbh honest summer is mostly midl and wet. We dont get regular extremes of hot or cold especially in the wet northwest. I have found my all year round tyres perfectly good and dont think the extra cost of a set of tyres or tyres +rims is really worth it.

Even in last years big freeze and snow only the roads on the estates were ungritted, all the majopr roads were clear and fine.

I imagine that cold tyre technology does provide some benefits, but its not a necessity and for once our nanny state has left this topic ignored which IMO is the right thing to do.

If there is likely to be ice or snow on the road or untreated roads the esprit stays at home, more because I dont want another pillock to drive to fast and slide into it than me having a crash. The everyday mondeo is there for the crappy roads, plus the fast defrost wind screen and heated seats win the day.

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I was just checking the Trafic Scotland website http://trafficscotland.org/lev/ to look at the Live-Eye-Views from the roadside cameras and noticed a downloadable pdf entitled "Driving in Bad Weather".

Most of it is common sense but on the subject of Winter Tyres it is silent.

This is a Scottish Government website and it surprises me that they go to the extent of producing a public information leaflet yet miss out very important information about the benefits of winter tyres.

As for my plans tomorrow, common sense prevails and I will stay at home!

badweatherleaflet (3).pdf

Edited by bingoking

Join Lotus Enthusiasts Group Scotland here!  and on Facebook 

Unless other wise organised somewhere else and details posted on the forum the default location for the LEGS Breakfast meets are on the 1st Sunday of the month at Mannerstons Cafe and Farm Shop EH49 7LY between 10:00am and midday.

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Honestly, we get a lot of snow in these parts (Western NY)and unlike me in my 4WD my wife drives a FWD vehicle and does perfectly fine all year with all season tires. (I mainly have the expense of 4WD because I tow a snowmobile trailer). In the 14 years I've known her she only had to turn around and go back once (didn't get stuck though) when she saw the snowplow had broken down and the road ahead had not been plowed in many hours (major snowbanks at the side of the road she was on) Eventually she found a path home on some smaller back roads. Key is growing up in a major snow belt area and knowing how to drive in the snow and having good all season tires with a tread that is good in the snow and also having at least FWD. My driving history goes back to the days when RWD was the norm and then yes, everyone had snow tires put on the rear during the season. Come to think of it ,all my stepdaughters drive FWD vehicles with good all season tires and I can't remember any of then getting stuck or in an accident. They were brought up driving by going down to the local school parking lot at the first snow storm and learning all about traction while accelerating and braking and steering in the snow (practicing doing donuts and learning the limits). There are some really great all season tires out there (some called M+S rated for mud and snow). I won't argue that dedicated winter tires are better, but as to really needing them I can say most do not fit them these days with the better all season tires available and FWD or AWD or 4WD as the norm. I understand there are requirements (like crossing the continental divide in winter), but there are no such requirements around here at lower altitudes , although the area is pretty hilly in many spots. Key to all is common sense driving with good judgment (knowing when conditions are too bad to enter certain roads). I don't think anyone fits pure "summer " rated tires to anything other than sports cars that do not drive in the winter(max dry traction vehicles) those tires are rare around here with all season being the greatest in use tire. In the blizzard of 1993 I drove home about 300 miles from my friends ski chalet in Vermont and had to take back roads because the NYS thruway was closed and found the snow in my driveway above my hips upon arriving (my snowblower actually submarined under the snow to create a spot to pull into and I needed to climb over a snow bank above my shoulders to get into my driveway and walk back to the house). The several hour trip back was long, but not treacherous in my 4x4 pickup truck shod with good all season tires. And yes, I wait for the snowplows to do their work when I see this out my rear sliding door in the morning!!! dizzy.gif

Edited by comem47

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I'm one of those "what's all the fuss?" types because there's always been a Land Rover around. I've ticked the 'no' box to fitting winter tyres because I simply choose a more fitting vehicle. So perhaps I should have ticked the 'yes' box for that vehicle...?

For instance on Saturday morning, I took one look at the snow and clear skies, and walked past the car and up to the shed and wound up a Land Rover. Chose the one permanently fitted with M&S tyres ("These are not ordinary tyres, these are..." erm, no, M&S as in mud & snow) and made my way at a steady pace, with plenty plenty distance between me and the vehicle in front, slowing down on narrow roads to pass oncoming traffic as I expected problems with slippery verges as we moved over, etc. Had to cadence brake a couple of times but nothing brown trousers - I'd tested the braking on an empty stretch to calibrate the look of the road with traction as it's 9-10 months since driving in icy conditions - and managed to get to Waitrose before the free mince pies had all vanished :) As is so often the way, not having the Land Rover plastered in chequer plate made absolutely no difference to whether it got through or not :rolleyes:

I guess I had suitable tyres, 4wd, and a suitable attitude. Of course it would only have required one muppet in the wrong place and I would have been able to make no progress once the road had been blocked. There were many of the "Oh my god we're all going to die" :scared: crowd out doing 20mph on open, salted, dry roads and I wonder if they are better suited to simply staying at home. Takes a lot of willpower not to want to zoom past them at the first opportunity, easy to become over-confident for the conditions out of frustration. Arguably they would be more confident drivers with better tyres and more experience of slippery conditions but would they in practice drive any differently due to the infrequency of such weather here?

Once the cold spell has passed - tomorrow or Wednesday by current forecast - I'll be back in the car because it's more comfortable, the heater works better, etc. But in a month's time, or whenever the next cold spell hits, back into the cold, clattery box on wheels I will go.

Also, how does the issue of winter tyres work with company cars in those countries where their use is mandatory? Most trucks and vans will live at a depot where such things can be attended to, but company cars must be a right pain. Is it simply cheaper for companies to pay for changes of tyres based upon season rather than wear? i.e. do all staff get the "It's October, get your tyres changed" email, and then another in April?

One of the problems in encouraging winter tyre use in the UK will be the cost. People change cars so frequently that it does not make sense to buy a set of spare wheels and tyres - even less popular sizes/styles as Mike points out - if they're only going to see a couple or three winters with the vehicle. Have a look next time you walk through a car park at the mis-matched and generally cheapo tyres on anything more than 2 years old and you'll see that people loathe spending good money on one set, never mind a spare set that probably won't fit the next car when it comes. It doesn't seem to have dawned on them that the only thing that stops them falling off the road is the £15.99 no-name tyres they were so pleased to find.

I suspect many of us here choose tyres based upon performance (as in test data, dry/wet use, stopping distances, etc.) even for our mundane vehicles, possibly steered by aesthetics, but generally with no real consideration of cost, in the same way that we choose fuel (and indeed petrol stations) when we fill up. We are not representative motorists!


Dan

"He who dies with the most toys wins..."

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I'm about to try and get winter tyres for the Porsche.

The weather isn't that bad here (Preston is surprisingly near the coast!) but the choice of vehicles is:

Esprit S4, Porsche 924 Turbo or Smart Roadster... 3 relativley light, RWD, turbo cars...

The Porker is surprisingly quite good as it's got 50/50 weight distirbution pretty much and very little power off boost (Around 40 bhp to 3k rpm) so it's easy to drive slowly.

I also have 4 spare alloys for it, so I'm looking at Avon Ice Touring tyres in the next week or so. Will at least keep us mobile if it gets worse!


Lotus Esprit S4 - Work in progress

Porsche 924 Turbo - Parts chaser

Smart Roadster Coupe - Hers

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I ride a scooter in the snow which is both entertaining and scary!!! If it get to bad I get into the Rangey!!

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I've had a Porsche 944 as a year-round daily driver for many years. I first tried snow tires on it in the late 1990s, and the difference in grip between the snow tires and quality all-season tires was day and night! The 944 is one of the more difficult-to-control cars on ice -- I'm guessing due to its very even weight distribution it doesn't really have a very strong center of gravity(?); when in a slide on an icy road, the normal corrective movements don't really work that well. But with a good set of snow tires (I prefer Bridgestone Blizzaks or Nokian Hakkas), the amount of grip and control is amazing.

Regarding the cost, you have to pay for an extra set of wheels once, but other than that, you are not getting any less for your money in terms of tire life unless you really don't drive much. If you normally get 2-3 years out of a set of tires, now you will get 4-6 years out of them, as they will only be used half the time. You are just buying two sets of tires (summer and winter) up front and each is lasting longer, but you are getting the same miles ultimately. The only downside is if you put so few miles on the car that the tires age and dry-rot before you wear the tread down . . . but that takes several years to happen, so it's not like you will constantly be faced with the expense of buying tires.

In order to preserve the set that's not in use, I store them indoors. Our house has a basement and they are stacked in the corner. If you do not have the space for that, try the garage. If no garage, cover them outdoors or see if the shop who normally services your cars will store them for you. Four things I try to do with regards to storage in the off-season: 1) spray them with dry-type silicone as a preservative, 2) wrap them in plastic to limit oxidation, 3) keep them out of UV light, and 4) keep them at as constant a temperature as possible (i.e. as indoors as possible).

The other opportunity that having snow tires affords is to be able to run dedicated summer tires for the warm months. All-season tires are a compromise on both ends -- they are not maximized for warm weather, either, and now you can have the extra grip of a wet/dry tire that does not need to make a concession for snow traction.

I say go for it -- once you get used to them, it will be hard to believe you ever drove through a winter without them! :)


Tony K. :)

 

Esprit S1s #355H & 454H

Esprit S2.2  #324J

1991 Esprit SE

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The past few years I seem to have gone through cars rapidly, so buying a set of winter tyres & rims is a risk (though they sell well 2nd hand). As a compromise I fit all season tyres like Vredestein Quatrac 2s which are great all year round


In the garage no-one can hear you scream 

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Conrad, that 's a bit extreme. Might as well curl up in the fetal position and not leave the house. When it comes to black ice there is little difference in stopping ability with tire types short of having many ice studs (illegal in many places). Yes snow tires are better on snow, but I contend there are many who shouldn't go out in snow regardless of the tires chosen (either too confident and way overdriving conditions or those in total paralysis terrified going over 5 mph and causing a roadblock when general traffic is comfortably moving about 40) Experience goes a long way, and of course whether one has 4WD has a large effect on traction. Of course one can't expect to use all season tires that barely pass inspection as tread depth is crucial in winter but there are many all season tires with great traction. (One example of a tire that worked good as an all season tire for me in the past on my pickup truck and wife's SUV and believe it or not they were a quiet tire on dry roads)

post-9355-0-03285700-1291064977.jpg

Edited by comem47

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Yes I guess it was, but I do feel strongly about same. However to a large percentage of people reading this forum, cost should simply not enter the equation, because as already mentioned by several people, over two/three years its a zero sum, so just a short term cash flow issue.

And snow/ice is not the only issue, under 7° braking distance on a winter (should quit calling them snow tyres, just add's to the confusion) tyre vss a summer tyre can mean upto 30% braking distance...that's huge.

By the by 4WD does not give better traction per se, just makes better use of the available traction, I have fond memories of my E36 with a limited diff and (very) good winter tyres going up the alps and having to overtake 4WD on m+s or summer tyres sliding all over the place. Its also good to have DSC (or equivalent) off in snowy conditions, and if possible ABS (but that is nite impossible on modern cars)

Driver training on snow is also a good investment...fresh snow has a surprising amount of grip (with winter tyres)

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and if possible ABS (but that is nite impossible on modern cars)

I use all the tricks the Rangey can throw at the snow and let its do it own thing without doing much more than steering inputs - its just brill. However I have heard that ABS isn't the ideal partner in snow and "good" drivers would do better to turn it off. Is that just an urban myth or is there some basis for the position?


Loving Lionel and Eleanor......missing Charlie and Sonny

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