Winter Tyre Buying Guide

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Winter Tyre Buying Guide

Winter weather often brings a drop in temperature that can produce ice and snow. The most areas that tend to see winter snow and ice are Victoria, Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania, and New South Wales. Snow may also fall in Stanthorpe,Queensland, and in a few other areas of Western and Southern Australia. Driving in these areas may require the purchase of winter snow tyres to help grip the road and prevent dangerous accidents.
Most winter tyres have a higher percentage of natural rubber to prevent the tyres from hardening when the temperature drops. Buyers should use the following guide to help select the right winter tyres.

Where to Buy Winter Tyres

Winter tyres are not available in all areas of Australia. It is easiest to find winter tyres in areas where snow is common. Typically, they can be bought from:

  • On-line tyre shops

  • Local tyre shops in snow-prone areas

  • Auction sites like eBay

  • Garages and mechanic shops

Types of Winter Tyres

All winter tyres are designed to improve safety and traction while on the road. Drivers have three tyre options to consider when purchasing snow tyres.

Winter Tyres

Winter tyres are tyres that replace existing tyres on a vehicle. The tyres have a higher concentration of rubber to prevent hardening and have deeper grooves than traditional fair-weather tyres. Winter tyres have a greater number of thin diagonal slits cut into the surface of the tyre, known as sipes. Sipes improve traction on ice and snow, but may actually make grip worse on slick roads and dry roads, which is why drivers have to switch between tyre types between winter and spring. Winter tyres with metal spikes are not legal on Australian roadways.

Tyre Socks

A snow tyre sock is a slip-on snow traction device made from technical, elasticised fabric. This fabric attracts snow and ice, creating additional traction so that the vehicle can drive safety. Tyre socks are ideal for smaller cars that cannot use tyre chains. Most smaller cars have a wheel arch that is too low to support the use of heavy-duty tyre chains.
Some versions of tyre socks also come with a mesh covering that stretches over the tyre and hubcap to prevent the ice from getting into the wheels and brake assemblies. Tyre socks are designed for temporary use on ice and snow and are best suited to temporary visitors to snowy regions. Snow socks are not a viable replacement for snow chains, unless the regulations specifically state that snow socks can be used on the road.

Snow Chains

Snow chains are the toughest way to add traction on the road. Snow chains are usually only necessary for use in mountainous regions or on roadways that have not been cleared by snow ploughs. Snow chains attach to the outside of the tyre, providing additional traction, but they need to be the right size. Most snow chains fit a specific size of tyre, so it is important to know wheel size before shopping for chains.
For the most part, snow chains are illegal to use except where a sign specifically states that chains should be worn. Chains can damage roadways, which is why they are discouraged on many roadways. Most Australian ski resorts and mountainous regions require the possession of snow chains in the boot of the car. The chains must be placed on the vehicle’s drive wheels when instructed to do so by authorities.

Diamond Snow Chains

Diamond snow chains work best for low-profile tyres. Diamond snow chains do not interfere with the operation of the tyre.

Ladder Snow Chains

Ladder snow chains are bulkier and may interfere with the tyre performance on non-snow-covered roads. Ladder chains are best suited to vehicles with a high wheel arch, such as trucks and 4x4s.

Buying Winter Tyres on eBay

Consumers may not think of eBay as the first place to purchase winter tyres, but unless a driver is currently in a region that receives heavy snow, purchasing winter tyres from on-line sources may be the most effective option. Finding winter tyres from sellers on eBay is easy. Buyers should visit the Tyres section of eBay, then select Snow Tyres. A search for snow chains or snow socks can also produce hundreds of results. Buyers can narrow searches by price, new, or used tyre and even location of seller.


Preparing to drive in Australian snow is a simple process that involves switching out summer tyres for winter tyres and preparing for harsh weather with the addition of snow socks or snow chains. This is one of the many ways to improve safety while driving in ice and snow in the mountainous and cold regions of Australia.

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