Winter tyre selection is not always that straight forward. You need to know and understand a bit about them before you can make your decision. It is not as easy as just taking a set; you will need to know what conditions you tend to drive in, what is allowed in your country and what type of vehicle you have.
Snow, ice or slush
Is your main driving on snow, ice or slush? Studded tyres perform better on ice than non-studded tyres. If you live in areas that have a lot of ice, like coastal areas or close to very big lake, you might need studded tyres.
When it comes to winter tyres you are often left with the decision if you should choose studded tyres or a non-studded tyres. Both are approved for winter conditions and are able to handle all the conditions such as snow, ice and slush. They can both manage to prevent slushplaning and ensure that snow doesn’t build up in the tyres. They have both been approved for winter use and have the 3PMSF-symbol on the sidewall of the tyres. They should also only be used during the winter period, so you will need to also have a set of summer tyres.
From performance point of view, they both perform similarly
on snow, as on snow the tread pattern will have the biggest impact on the
performance. When it comes to ice, the studded tyres, that have metal studs
protruding from the tread, perform better. They are able to create better grip
with the metal studs that dig into the ice. The non-studded will use innovative
tread designs to create grip and also they have added grip particles that can
help create the necessary grip. One might wonder why should you not select a
The studded tyres are great on ice, but have similar
performance on snow, so if you are not mainly driving on ice, you might feel
that the non-studded tyres will be good enough. If you plan to drive to other
countries you are much more flexible with the non-studded tyres, as they are
allowed in all countries, while the studded are forbidden in some countries.
The studded tyres also have some other restrictions based on countries where
most countries limit the time period that the studded tyres can be used.
If both tyres are allowed, then it is often up to personal
preference. For some people a tyre are not winter tyres if they don’t have studs. This type of mindset can
be difficult to change, even though the non-studded tyres have improved so much
over the years that they are now equally good on snow and almost as good on ice.
So both can safely be used, but if you do wan to have the best possible grip on
ice, then you should choose studded tyres. If you are flexible, then choose the
non-studded tyres as you have more flexibility. For more
info regarding non-studded tyres, visit: www.nokiantyres.com
Safety is really the number one reason why you should change
to winter tyres, that is if you plan
to drive in winter conditions. For it to count as winter conditions you need
temperatures below zero degrees and that you have snow or ice.
When are winter tyres
better than summer tyres?
Winter tyres are better than summer tyres already when the
temperature drops below zero degrees. So you don’t need snow or ice for you to
change tyres and have better performance. On ice and snow the winter tyres are
far superior to summer tyres, which will provide almost no grip in these
What tyres are better
On snow both the studded and non-studded tyres are equally good. So the choice is up to you and your driving behavior. Non-studded tyres have a bit more flexibility, as there are no regulations limiting their use. This can be very useful if you plan to travel across country borders.
Studded tyres: The
studded tyres use metal studs
protruding from the tread to provide the necessary grip on icy surfaces. They
have some limitations when it comes to the period, when they can be used.
Non-studded tyres: The
non-studded tyres don’t have metal
studs and can be used without limitations. They are though optimized for the
winter season and will have increased wear if used during the warmer season.
The tyres use unique tread design to provide the necessary grip on ice and
snow. They are just as good as studded on snow and almost as good on ice.
All-weather tyres: All-weather tyres are a good tyre for all weather conditions, so they work just as well on dry summer roads as on snowy winter roads.
Different countries have different regulations when it comes to winter tyres. It ranges from them having to be used during certain months to that certain types are not allowed. By knowing exactly what applies to your country or region you can adapt and make sure that you are make sure that you follow them. It will also ensure that you make the correct tyre decision when you purchase a new set. You also need to check before you plan to drive across country borders, if there are any restrictions.
When it comes to winter tyres, the studded tyres do have
some restrictions when it comes being allowed or not and time restrictions of
use. The non-studded tyres don’t have any
such restrictions and can be used freely. The same is with the all-weather tyres, that can even be
used for all year round use and can handle winter if they are winter approved.
The non-studded tyres should still be changed to summer tyres once the winter
season ends to prevent excessive tyre wear.
You should base your choice on the legal requirements and
make the best tyre choice for your intended purpose of use. Then make sure that
you select tyres that are suitable for your vehicle. Bigger vehicles such as
SUVs, vans and light trucks will need different tyres, tyres with bigger
dimensions and have the ability to carry higher loads. There are also the
special tyres for electric cars and hybrids that will need higher wear
resistant tyres to combat the higher torque and higher loads due to the battery
packs. In addition to the correct tyre selection you will need to rotate the
tyres on an electrical car more frequently to ensure longer lifetime.
Winter tyres are very important for winter driving and it
can be very dangerous to drive without proper tyres, as snow, ice and slush
represent some of the trickiest conditions for driving. Summer tyres or any
tyre that isn’t intended for winter use will become hard at low temperatures
due to the rubber compound used. This decreases the friction that they can
assert making them unsuitable for winter use. You really need winter approved
tyres to be able to stay safe.
When you want to drive safely, and in some countries legally, in winter you will need to have winter tyres on your vehicle. The tyres should be mounted before the winter weather arrives, so that you can remain safe while driving. When you talk about non-studded tyres, they are so called tyres that are dedicated for winter use. They are called non-studded to differentiate them from the studded tyres, that are also dedicated winter tyres, but they use metal studs to create grip.
Non-studded tyres should not be confused with winter
approved all-weather tyres that can be used during the winter seasons but can
also be used for all year round driving. The non-studded tyres should be removed
and replaced with summer tyres once the winter season is over. They use a
rubber compound that is optimized for keeping the tyre soft and agile even at
low temperatures, but will wear too quickly if used during hot summers. This is
why it is important to change the tyres once the winter season has passed.
Non-studded tyres use the tread design to create enough
friction on snow, ice and slush so that you can enjoy trouble free safe
driving. They use innovative sipes and snow claw functionality between the
shoulder and tread blocks that can grip the ice and have cryo-crystal grip
particles to further improve the grip on ice.
The non-studded tyres are great for winter driving and offer
a lot of flexibility. The non-studded tyres are not regulated as when you can
mount them on your car, so that you can mount them well in time before the
winter arrives, so that you don’t end up with summer tyres trying to drive in
winter conditions. This can be a very dangerous situation and should be
avoided. You shouldn’t drive with non-studded tyres all year round, as they are
optimized for winter conditions and they will wear out faster if used in summer
conditions. However, placing them on your car a few weeks too early before the
winter arrives is a very low price to pay for the extra safety of having the
right tyres already mounted on your car so that you are ready to drive if you
end up in winter conditions. This is very good if you are really dependent on
your car every day.
The best way to battle the challenge of changing weather between the seasons is to have two sets of tyres and change tyres between the summer and the winter season. This will allow you to have the best tyres for each season and the best safety and performance from the tyres. It is always difficult to design a tyre that can manage such a big difference in conditions. This is why you will need to change the tyres. During the summer you will need a much different tyre, a tyre that is performing well on dry and wet asphalt and can manage high speeds and have good cornering properties. The tyre should also have good properties for preventing aquaplaning.
A summer tyre would perform very
poorly in cold and winter conditions as the rubber compound used in summer
tyres is optimized for warm temperatures. This means that at low temperatures,
the rubber would become very hard and would not be able to provide the
necessary grip required during the winter. This is why you would need to change
tyres to a set of winter tyres. Winter tyres have a
completely different rubber composition. The composition is optimized for cold
weathers, so that they will stay soft and able to comply with the road surface
for optimal grip.
With winter tyres you can also choose if you want to have
studded or non-studded tyres. The studded have
metal studs protruding from the tread to ensure good grip. This will be the
best option for icy surfaces. For the non-studded tyres, they use a unique
tread design to create the grip on ice, which give you still good grip, but not
as good as with the steep studs. When it comes to snow, both these tyres will
perform good, except on tightly packed snow, which becomes almost like ice and
here again the studded will be better.
This is the best option for making sure that you will stay
safe all year round. The main challenge will be when to actually make the
change. With studded tyres you often have restriction on the period that they
can be used, but you want to make sure that you have them mounted on your car
before the winter weather arrives, as it is not safe to drive without them on
Winter tyres are available as studded or non-studded versions. The studded tyres will use metal studs to gain traction on ice and packed snow, while it will use unique tread design to have good traction on snow. The non-studded tyres will use other technologies to provide excellent grip on snowy roads and good wear durability. Non-studded tyres may, for example, have tiny crystal like particles in the rubber compound to create a sand paper feeling surface that is great on snow and ice. This Cryo Crystal concept provides both longitudinal and latitudinal grip for winter conditions. The tread in non-studded tyres has a unique design with lots of features that improve the grip such as zigzag and pump sipes to ensure good grip even on wet ice.
studs tend to be a bit superior on ice, but the difference keeps getting
smaller with the amount of improvements that is being done on the non-studded
tyres. On snow both tyres perform
equally well. The tyre choice depends on the weather conditions of your area
and on your personal preferences.
important that the tread depth of a tyre is above the 4mm, as your tyres will
lose the key properties once the tread depth goes below the 4mm. To ensure that
the tread depth is equal between the front and the rear tyres, you should
rotate the tyres every now and then. It is important that you mark the position
of the tyre before you store them for the next season. When it is time to
rotate the tyres, remember that the studded tyres are directional. You should change
the rear left position with the left front position and the same with the right
change should be done in line with the local regulations. If you suspect that
there might be some winter weather returning, it may be better to wait a little
bit longer before you change your tyres.
Practice makes perfect as the old saying goes and there is a lot of truth in that. Driving is associated with dangers and you need to pass a driving test to be allowed to drive a vehicle. Driving different vehicle types can require different licenses, as knowing how to drive one, might not necessarily give you the right skill set to drive another. This can vary between moped, motorcycle, car and various sizes of trucks.
different terrains and weather can cause the driving to be different and
another skill set is needed. It tends to be impossible to perfectly learn in
driving school the full skill set for any given situation, so you will need to
learn and develop over time. With winter driving, which is one of the most
challenging conditions to drive in, you should prepare yourself and make sure
you practice in these conditions.
on winter surfaces such as snow and ice, it is important that you have proper winter tyres
mounted to even have a chance to drive safely. Without proper tyres on the
vehicle, even the safest one will be very unsafe. Even with good qualitytyres that have been approved for
winter conditions, some driving practice is needed and a lot to become a
perfect driver. You will need to learn how the vehicle behaves in sharp turns
and how the braking distance is affected by the surface and the speed.
If you are
driving on ice, you are better off with studded tyres that have metal studs
that will give you very good grip on ice. If you drive on mainly snow, then
both the studded and the non-studded tyres will give you good grip. The
non-studded ones use a unique tread design to achieve the grip on snow and also
on ice. If you get the chance to try both you will learn the difference of how
it is driving with them on your vehicle.
So to become
a better driver regardless of weather and terrain, always take the chance to
practice and improve. Try to practice in the conditions that you mainly drive
in, but don’t forget also to improve in the ones that you will face sometimes.
It will make you a better and safer driver.
Once winter is over it is important to change back to summer tyres. The law in the Nordics dictates that winter tyres have to be used during a specific period. It also states the period when winter tyres have to be used, but there is nothing about non-studded tyres. So in practice you could drive with them all year without breaking the law.
Winter tyres are however not very good during hot weather, a bit in the same way that summer tyres are not good for winter conditions. The tread structure is optimized for the weather conditions that are prevalent during that season.
The rubber compound that is used is optimized for the temperatures, which commonly exist during each season. So a summer tyre during winter will become too hard to give you the necessary properties and a winter tyre will become too soft.
So a timely change is important, however it is more crucial not to have summer tyres on when you have winter conditions. If you have changed back to summer tyres and you get another episode of winter weather then you should probably refrain from driving.