Ultimately, tyres are the only thing that keeps you on the road. To remain safe in all conditions, it’s a legal requirement to have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm. Many different types of tyres are suited to different weather conditions, different road surfaces, speeds, duration and so much more. In fact, in parts of Europe, you must switch to winter tyres at a certain time of year. Below, we explain the different types of tyres and when’s best to choose them.
Winter tyres offer many grooves to offer greater traction and grip on snow, ice, and wet surfaces by biting into the snow and ice to deliver higher stability and shorter braking distances. Winter tyres are built with containing high silica content. Compared to summer tyres which have low silica content, winter tyres remain supple whilst summer tyres harden in the winter and lose grip on the ground. Winter tyres also offer greater safety and shorter stopping distances compared to other types of tyres, sometimes up to 10 meters.
Summer tyres or Standard tyres
Summer tyres, also known as standard tyres, are tyres that you would find on most cars. Summer tyres are designed for high performance and are designed to cope with temperatures above 7 degrees. They are softer than standard tyres and the tyre pattern provides resistance against aquaplaning. Aquaplaning is when your car drives through a layer of water. Usually, a tyre will displace the water on the road and the tyres will stay gripped to the road. If the water is not displaced properly the car will essentially be driving on top of the water and not in contact with the road, resulting in the car losing all control and will no longer be responsive to steering causing the car to spin out.
All Seasons tyres are designed for both winter and summer driving. They provide average performance all year round. Despite being convenient, they are neither optimised for summer nor for winter. All-season tyres appeal to those who avoid the costs of storing two sets of tyres. All-season tyres will be safe in all conditions but will offer compromised performance.
Run-flat tyres are designed for safety when experiencing a puncture on the road. Run flats have thicker, reinforced walls compared to other tyres which allow them to be driven on for short distances following a puncture. Run flat technology allows the tyre to maintain its shape in case of a puncture and doesn’t cause the tyre to fall away from the rim of the wheel allowing the tyre to be driven for up to 50 miles in order to replace the tyre. If you are thinking of replacing your standard tyres with run-flat tyres, you will need to change all of them at the same time and have a Tyre Pressure Monitor Sensor installed on your vehicle. This allows you to read your tyre pressures. Find out more about TPMS and other warning lights here.
High-performance tyres have been designed and researched over many years by premium manufacturers from their time in the motorsport industry. High-performance tyres provide quick grip and response and can cope at high speeds. Most high-performance cars will come with high-performance tyres as standard. The drawback to high-performance tyres is the price tag and how quickly they can wear. This is down to the compound they are made from, but if you aren’t one to compromise, these tyres give unrivalled grip in ideal conditions, which also translates to the shortest braking distances.