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Winter Tyre Buying Guide

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Winter Tyre Buying Guide

Even in good driving conditions, an automobile's tyres are the critical connection to the road. When winter weather comes, it is important to mount winter tyres on one's vehicle to grip cold, wet, snowy, or icy roads more securely, which improves handling, shortens stopping distances, and helps to prevent accidents. With a higher percentage of natural rubber, winter tyres do not harden when the temperature drops below 7 degrees, which occurs with the synthetic rubber contained in warm-weather tyres.

When selecting winter tyres, the buyer should ensure the size and type of the tyres match appropriately with the vehicle. Winter tyres can be purchased from tyre stores, garages, and department stores. However, consumers can find great deals for tyres on eBay as well.

Types of Winter Tyres

Winter tyres are designed to operate in cold, slick, and snowy conditions. Drivers who attempt to get by with fair-weather tyres endanger themselves and others on the road, since regular tyres do not provide sufficient traction to grip the snow- or ice-covered roadway. Snow tyre socks are a good alternative to snow chains for low-profile cars that do not have enough clearance in the wheel arches to accommodate chains. In severe winter conditions, especially in mountainous areas, chains are needed to tackle the roadway safely. In many cases, snow chains are required.

Winter Tyres

For those who drive in snowy and icy conditions on a regular basis, winter tyres, also known as snow tyres, are a good choice. By installing winter tyres that are properly matched to the vehicle, the driver can transition from clear roads to snowy roads with ease and confidence without needing to stop to install chains or snow tyre socks. Winter tyres contain a greater number of sipes, or thin diagonal slits cut into the tyre. The more sipes a tyre has, the more traction it has on ice and snow. However, snow tyres have reduced grip on rainy roads or dry tarmac.

Winter tyres are designed to operate when the temperature dips below 7 degrees. Consumers should ensure that the tyres they select do not have metal studs, which are not legal in many countries. While metal studs provide additional traction on ice or hard-packed snow, they cause considerable damage to the road surface. As with any tyre, the operator should confirm that the tyres being considered are a proper fit to the vehicle.

Snow Chains

Snow chains are metal devices that are fitted manually to the tyres of a vehicle to provide additional traction in snowy or icy conditions. Available in pairs, snow chains must fit the tyre size precisely, which includes the diameter of the tyre and the width of the tread. Some chains fit one size of tyres, such as 14-inch tyres, and others fit a range of tyre sizes, such as 14- to 17-inch tyres. Diamond snow chains are a good choice for drivers who have low-profile tyres, since the chains do not interfere with the unfettered operation of tyres. Ladder snow chains are a bit bulkier and are appropriate for vehicles with a high wheel arch.

Drivers who travel to Australia's ski resorts or in the surrounding mountains should be aware of requirements regarding snow chains. An individual who drives a vehicle into an alpine resort must carry snow chains in the boot of the car, or the chains must be fitted to the vehicle's drive wheels when directed by authorities.

Driving in Heavy Snow

In heavy snow, four-wheel drive vehicles may be fitted with chains to the front or rear wheels. Four-wheel drive vehicles can generally travel farther in snow than two-wheel drive vehicles. Drivers should practice installing and removing chains on the wheels before attempting the operation in the snow, and they should confirm the correct size and type of chains for the vehicle before purchasing a set. Drivers should also be aware that chains impact a vehicle's fuel efficiency. Additionally, the maximum speed a vehicle can safely achieve with snow chains is approximately 50 km/h. Exceeding this speed, driving on dry roads or not fitting the chains properly can cause the chains to fail.

Snow Tyre Socks

Sports cars and other high-performance vehicles do not have sufficient clearance in their wheel arches to accommodate ladder chains. Available in pairs, snow tyre socks are lightweight snow traction devices made of elasticised, technical fabric that attracts snow and ice. As snow and ice sticks to the heavy-duty fabric, the tyre gains the traction needed to drive safely. Some snow tyre socks feature a mesh surface that stretches over the outer portion of the tyre and the hubcaps; this keeps the ice, slush, and snow out of the wheels and brake assemblies. By protecting this part of the wheel, the driver enjoys great stability and braking action.

Snow tyre socks transform a summer tyre, which is inadequate for winter driving, into a winter tyre that enables the driver to operate safely on a short-term basis. Snow tyre socks are not meant for prolonged use, and they are designed as a short-term solution to icy or snowy conditions. They should be removed once the vehicle reaches navigable tarmac. Snow tyre socks can be stored in the boot of the car for use as needed. Many consumers purchase two pairs to cover all the tyres. Some snow tyre socks also come with a storage bag, plastic gloves, and a protective sheet for use while fitting the socks on the tyres. Drivers should be aware that when chains are required, snow socks are not a legal alternative unless specifically stated in the regulations.

Winter Driving Options

While consumers have several options when outfitting a vehicle for winter use, it is important to utilise the right tyres and devices in the appropriate conditions. A driver who needs an ongoing solution should select the proper snow tyres for the vehicle. Alternatively, snow tyre socks are a good choice for the driver who needs temporary assistance in passing through temporary snowy or icy road conditions. Snow chains are intended for use in alpine areas and when required by authorities.

Pros

Cons

Snow Tyres

Good traction on snowy and icy roads

No need to install and remove frequently

Reduced traction on dry and wet roads

Additional expense

Additional installation time and labour

Snow Tyre Socks

Temporary solution to driving on snowy/icy roads with summer tyres

Good option for cars with low-profile wheel arches

Lightweight, Portable, Affordable

Intended for temporary use; prolonged use can damage fabric

Not legal for use when snow chains are required

Chains

Often only legal way to drive in heavy snow in mountains

Portable, Lightweight, Durable

Sometimes tricky to install and remove; takes practice or assistance

Not compatible with some cars with low-profile wheel arches

Once the driver has selected the proper winter driving equipment for the car's tyres, it is important to read and understand all instructions to ensure safe operation. For example, if the consumer does not feel confident in fitting or removing snow chains, it is a good idea to hire someone or to ask for help from someone experienced in the procedure.

How to Buy Winter Tyres on eBay

Many consumers prefer to purchase winter tyres from auto stores, although these retail outlets may not offer the affordable prices available from online sources such as eBay. If you need to buy winter tyres, you may not feel comfortable driving to brick-and-mortar stores while it is snowing. To purchase winter tyres on eBay, start by entering "snow tyres" in the search window on any eBay page. You may refine your search by brand, car make, or condition. Because winter tyres are bulky, you can search for local sellers within a certain radius of your postcode. Your research on a seller should include the seller's history, feedback from customers, and selling policies. Before you conclude your transaction, it is a good idea to check if the seller is agreeable to an in-person pickup.

Conclusion

When preparing to drive in cold or inclement weather, drivers should exchange their summer tyres for winter tyres that are engineered for use demanding conditions. Drivers should have their winter tyres checked monthly to ensure there is no uneven wear, sidewall damage, misalignment, or an out-of-balance condition. When maintained well, winter tyres grip wet, snowy, and icy roads and contribute to safe operation in every kind of weather. By providing a proper grip, these tyres reduce wear and tear and improve fuel economy. For safe operation, consumers should consult their owner's handbooks or the local mechanic to ensure they select the proper tyres for their vehicles. Consumers can find a wide variety of winter tyres, snow socks, and chains listed on eBay.

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