By William Coleman
By now I am sure you have seen or experienced the current cold snap the UK is in the middle of. As I sit here now it is -4 outside and a “risk to life” warning has been issues due to a 7 year temperature low. Is that going to stop you from waking up in the van to an amazing frosty morning? Of course not, just make sure you have the right tyres in place.
Winter is coming into full swing. With the Met Office issuing yellow warnings of potential heavy snow around the UK, the conditions on roads can become dangerous as the bad weather increases the risk of accidents. Now add another 2-4 wheels with a caravan attached to them and the risk gets a little higher.
To avoid going down a slippery slope this winter, it is recommend that drivers, especially those in or travelling to rural areas, consider fitting winter tyres for their cars, caravans and motorhomes. But what are winter tyres, when should they be used and how to properly store them are just some of the questions that many drivers and towing folk are asking.
Debra Williams, CEO at Motokiki, the UK’s first truly independent tyre comparison site, is here with the important information every driver needs to know.
What Are Winter Tyres?
This may seem like a silly question but we have a whole wave of newcomers to the caravan world who may not be overly clued up on details such as adding winter tyres.
Winter tyres are specifically designed for temperatures below 7 degrees centigrade that allow for improved performance on roads that are covered in ice and snow.
This is a result of the specially developed rubber that has high levels of silica that enable the tyres to stay flexible in colder conditions. This improves the cars handling and decreases the overall braking distance. Before doing the research I was not sure of the science behind it but you learn a new thing every day.
Winter tyres are best suited to drivers who travel to and through remote areas as the conditions of the roads there are likely to be poor and remain so for longer over the winter. To identify a winter tyre, look for the snowflake symbol that is visible on the tyre.
I am sure we have all come across these road surfaces quite a lot over our touring holiday careers.
When Should I Put Winter Tyres On My Car?
Although there is no set date to fit winter tyres, it would pay to be aware of the weather conditions, not that you can escape the updates at the moment.
Occasionally, there may be sharp drop in temperatures, however, this may not last long and winter tyres may not be necessary. Therefore, drivers should wait until the temperature has dropped below 7 centigrade consistently for at least a few days before fitting winter tyres.
The coldest times of the year in the UK occur between the months of November and February so drivers should be aware that Winter Tyres may be needed sooner rather than later.
These are also the months that we are now seeing a spike on “off season” touring. A lot of sites that open in the colder time of year are very much full up.
How Should I Store My Winter Tyres?
Winter tyres should not be stored outside or left on a vehicle that is unused for any period exceeding one month as this can negatively impact the condition and performance of the tyres.
Before storing the tyres, drivers should make a note of which tyres were on the front and rear of the vehicle so they can be rotated next year to ensure even wear.
It is also recommend that each tyre is cleaned with water and dried to avoid corrosion. To further protect your tyres, special protective bags can be bought and used for storage purposes.
Where Should I Store Winter Tyres?
The optimal conditions to store winter tyres is any area inside that is not in direct sunlight and is not in the vicinity of heat sources that can cause drying and cracking in the tyre.
When storing the tyres avoid from areas that are covered in corrosive substances such as grease and fuel that may cause the rubber to deteriorate.
What Is The Best Short Term Storage Solution?
For short-term storage, winter tyres can be stacked in piles up to 4ft and avoid placing the tyre directly on the floor to avoid corrosion. For a more long-term solution, it is advisable to store winter tyres on a rack that has a 4 inch gap from the floor and place them vertically to avoid contact with corrosive substances.