Tyres are pretty much tyres, right? You put them on your vehicle's wheels, and they sit there doing their job, hopefully avoiding punctures and other forms of damage, and gradually wearing over time until they need replacement.
You might already be aware that there are different tyres manufactured for the varying seasons, but chances are you never considered using them yourself. If that's the case, you'd be far from alone, since many people fail to understand the benefits of changing your tyres to suit different parts of the year. And it could be that you get on just fine with whatever type of tyres your car came with, or whatever was cheapest the last time you had them changed.
But could your driving experience be even better with the right type of tyres for the changing season? Here's the lowdown on the different kinds available, so you can make an informed decision.
The main benefits of winter tyres are probably pretty obvious to most people: increased grip in snowy, icy conditions to maximise safety and improve traction. So does that mean there's no point in using them if you live somewhere that rarely or never experiences such conditions? Not necessarily.
You see, the better grip provided by winter tyres is not just useful in a blizzard: it can really help in rainy conditions, too. So if winter just means extra rainfall for you, a set of winter tyres could still be a good idea, especially if you drive a heavier vehicle.
Summer tyres are designed specifically for use in warmer conditions. The benefits of having a tyre tailored to the summer are less obvious than their winter siblings, but they are significant.
The key thing with this sort of tyres is that they have good grip on roads that are wet or dry, as long as it isn't really cold. They'll give you good cornering ability and, crucially, work efficiently to bring your fuel costs down by having less resistance than heavy winter tyres. They're also able to break faster than winter tyres in warm conditions, so they increase safety.
Instead of changing your tyres twice a year, you might decide to just invest in some all-season tyres. It seems like a sensible option, especially when it comes to cost, but there are some drawbacks.
Although they're safe and work reasonably well in various weather conditions throughout the year, all-season tyres are never going to be anything above average in either season. They'll get you by, but for excellent performance, you're really going to need season-specific tyres to get the most out of your vehicle.