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Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles offers free winter check
If winter brings conditions like this, proper winter tyres can make the difference between being able to get to a job and staying at home – but they can be expensive, so what do you need to consider?

THE subject of cold weather tyres – ie whether or not to fit them – is a thorny one, at least on the face of it.

Cough up for these items to help get your vans through the winter and sod’s law will dictate that we have the mildest winter ever.

Or risk using your ordinary tyres and chances are snow and ice will blow in and freeze the whole country.

But there’s more to it than just keeping going in the snow. Winter tyres come good at temperatures around 7 degrees Celsius, not just when there is snow on the ground.

Developed with higher levels of natural rubber compound, which remain supple at low temperatures, the tyres provide better grip and traction on wet, icy and snow-covered roads. The wide grooves also provide extra grip when accelerating and braking, reducing the chances of skidding.

Michelin_winter_tyre
Winter tyres have wider grooves for better grip in the snow, but they’re made from a different compound too, so generally perform better at low temperatures

So fitting cold weather tyres won’t just improve braking distances by up to 50% on snow-covered roads, you’ll stop up to four metres earlier on roads that are simply wet and cold – which says it for British roads most of the time in winter.

They are also 20% more durable than standard warm weather tyres at low temperatures. Which can mean a lot if you cover the miles.

So when you think about whether or not to go for winter tyres, think about this:

  • Is your business mainly around town, or are you out in the country?
  • What sort of mileage do you do? Does that 20% improvement in durability make sense for you?
  • Factor in the cost of changing back to your summer tyres once winter is gone.
  • And when you look at that cost, is it worth getting a second set of wheels for the winter tyres?
  • Where are you going to keep your summer tyres and will they be secure?

(Cold Weather Tyre and Wheel packages are available from £950 including VAT from Mercedes-Benz dealers so they ain’t exactly cheap. But then again failure to run your business because of cold weather could prove even more expensive.)

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