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Don’t get left out in the cold, Winter Tyre advice



Selecting the right tyre for your car is always something of a compromise. The vast majority of tyres fitted to cars in the UK are standard summer tyres. By comparison, in many other European countries it is a common practice for drivers to fit winter tyres in late autumn and revert back to standard tyres in the late spring.

For more information on winter tyres click here.

The UK perception that winter tyres only give  benefits on snow or ice is years out of date. Modern rubber compound technology and advances in tread pattern design mean that today’s winter tyres also provide higher levels of road safety on cold and damp road surfaces too.

Independent research commissioned by TyreSafe found that more than half of UK drivers feel less safe when driving in the winter. Their biggest worry is that they will be involved in an accident as the roads feel more slippery. With their additional levels of grip, winter tyres could allay this fear for many drivers.


Through a typical 12 month period, the UK experiences temperatures ranging from +32C to as low as -15C.

Given such diverse weather conditions, it’s unreasonable to expect one type of tyre to provide consistently high safety levels.

Winter tyres provide:

• Higher levels of road safety during the colder winter months.

• Considerably shorter stopping distances on both wet and dry roads at low temperatures.

• Better mileage than normal tyres in winter weather.

The wear on normal tyres increases when used during winter months, reducing mileage by up to 20%.


Temperatures below 7C are experienced throughout the UK between October and March. The air temperature is crucial to your tyres’ ability to perform. When the temperature drops below 7C the tread compound in normal tyres begins to harden and gives you less grip.

The tread compound in winter tyres contains more natural rubber to minimise the hardening effect, which gives them extra grip in cold, wet and icy conditions. This means that with winter tyres you will experience significantly shorter stopping distances.

Today’s winter tyres are just as quiet and comfortable as normal tyres.


For peace of mind on your journey, make routine checks on your tyres.

Every 4 weeks check the pressure of your tyres when they are cold.

Check the tread depth of your tyres – the minimum legal UK tread depth is 1.6mm across the central 3/4 of the tyre, however we recommend that tyres are replaced before reaching this minimum level.

As your tread depth decreases your stopping distance in wet weather increases as the tyre isn’t able to disperse snow, slush and cold winter water quickly enough.

Check your tyres for damage. Look out for any cuts, cracks or bulges as these can lead to slow punctures and blow-outs.

Don’t forget to check the tread depth and air pressure of your spare tyre.


When driving in winter it is important to take some extra precautions to make sure that you are safe on the road.

Kevin Clinton, Head of Road Safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said: “In poor conditions good visibility is vital. Always keep the windscreen and windows clear and check your lights are clean and working. Reduce your speed on slippery roads, and avoid harsh braking or acceleration. Increase the gap between you and the vehicle in front. You should also allow up to 10 times the normal stopping distance for braking, especially on motorways.”

So why not give the guys at Tyremen a call for free help and advice.

Tel: 08456 807 808




Are you prepared for winter driving?


Here at Winter Tyre Reviews, we are always looking to offer you the best tips when it comes to cold weather driving. 

1.  Where do you keep your de-icer? In the boot like everyone else!    Don’t, keep a tin in the house and one in the boot. It’s better than having to boil the kettle to unfreeze the lock and you won’t crack your windscreen.
2. Have you checked your tyres? Make sure you have enough tread, don’t put off changing them because you think 2mm will do for now, you need more grip in winter conditions. Better still, if you drive a lot of miles to get to work, invest in winter tyres.
3. Get your tyre pressures checked, over or under inflated tyres will reduce grip and the vehicle will slide.
4. Is your vehicle front wheel or rear wheel drive? It makes a big difference. Its great driving the two seat sports vehicle or the rear wheel drive, but it will move a bit on snow or ice. Get a 25kg bag of sand (or even road salt, handy if you get stuck) and put it in the boot, it helps with rear wheel grip.
5. Keep the fuel tank topped up, it increases weight at the back, helps keep you warm if you get stuck.
6. Keep mobile phones charged and any other electronic gadgets you may need.
7. Warm clothes? Even short runs can end up with you getting stuck. Most people have an old sleeping bag in the loft or garage, put it in the boot. Have an extra coat or a fleece jacket, blanket, flask and energy bars
8. During cold winter weather, top up the washer bottle with un-diluted washer fluid. Don’t dilute it as it becomes less effective and will freeze in the bottle.
9. Check your wiper blades, don’t use them with ice on the screen; make sure its clear first. Replace worn wiper blades as you will need them to maintain visibility.
10. Make sure your anti-freeze is topped up and to the correct mixture, use your service book or talk to the dealer. When water freezes it expands and could damage the engine block, the water pipes and the radiator.
11. Check your lights and make sure you have spare bulbs with you, keep visible on dark nights and bad weather.
12. If your vehicle is parked up over the weekend, give it a regular overnight trickle charge in the garage.
13. Keep a dry pair of footwear in the vehicle, take off those big boots that are covered in snow as they will make your feet slip off the pedals.
14. Pop to your local motorists shop or DIY store, the smaller independents are usually best, and buy a 25kg bag of salt for your driveway. No point having a snow and ice free vehicle if you can’t get out of the driveway.
15. Clear all the glass with a scraper, don’t use hot water as this will crack the glass.
16. If the vehicle is covered in snow, start at the roof and move it all off. If you don’t, it will just fall over the glass as the vehicle gets warm inside.
17. Use your air conditioning, if appropriate, to keep the screens from condensation, frozen water inside is hard to remove. But remember, keep the temperature to 21-22C, it doesn’t need to be too hot inside when you have thick clothes on as this can make you drowsy.
18. When starting the engine, if it doesn’t fire up in the first 5 seconds or so, leave it for a minute before trying again to allow the battery to recover.
19. After you’ve started the engine, leave it for a minute to let the oil flow round, excessive revs can damage the engine. This will put power back into the battery.
20. Pull away in second gear, easing your foot off the clutch gently to avoid wheel-spin.
21. Driving up hill? Avoid having to stop part way up by waiting until it is clear of other vehicles or by leaving plenty of room from the vehicle in front. Keep a constant speed, choosing the most suitable gear well in advance to avoid having to change down on the hill.
22. Driving downhill? Reduce your speed before the hill, use a low gear and try to avoid using the brakes. Leave as much room as possible between you and the vehicle in front.
23. If you have to use brakes then apply them gently. Release the brakes and de-clutch if the vehicle skids.
24. Automatic transmission – under normal driving conditions (motorways, etc.) it’s best to select ‘Drive’ and let the gearbox do the work throughout the full gear range. In slippery, snowy conditions it’s best to select ‘2’, which limits the gear changes and also makes you less reliant on the brakes. Some autos have a ‘winter’ mode which locks out first gear to reduce the risk of wheel spin. Check the handbook.
25. If you get stuck, straighten the steering and clear the snow from the wheels. Put a sack or old rug in front of the driving wheels to give the tyres some grip. Once on the move again, try not to stop until you reach firmer ground.
26. Make sure that all electrical items, lights, air-con, heated screens, mobile chargers etc. are switched off before you turn off the engine, leave the engine running for a minute or two to replenish the battery. Use the same thought before starting, do not switch on the lights etc. before starting the engine, it will drain the battery.
27. And most importantly, give yourself an extra ten minutes in the morning to prepare your vehicle before you set off. It’s better than trying to see through a letter box sized slit in the ice on the screen.

For advice on winter tyres and wheels, call the friendly team at Tyremen on 08456 807808


Pirelli winter sottozero W210 serie 2

Pirelli Winter Sottozero serie IIHere at Winter Tyre Reviews, we look at as many tyres as possible, and sometimes, well, they don’t always rate as highly as others.

The Pirelli winter Sottozero W210 Serie 2, has struggled with reviews (click here for the Auto Express Test)  and feedback has been, sadly, lacking. But does that make it any less of a tyre?

Auto Express verdict? A decent performance, but a step behind in rivals in just about all areas. We feel this is a little harsh, looking at the test results, it rarely falls below 95% and was tested against proven winter tyres.

Here are the basics.

Sizes available:16″ – 20″

Speed ratings: H (136mph), V (149mph), W (168mph)

Suitable for: medium sized cars, saloons, executive, SUV & high performance sports

The W210 certainly has some positives, most notably I would say is the vast size range. When I’m trying to find a really unusually sized winter tyre Pirelli have to be one of the first points of call. One of the main reasons that they service this huge range is because of their original equipment work with the car manufacturers.

We think it’s fair to say that Pirelli have the most original equipment winter recommendations out of any of the tyre manufacturers. Looking through the Pirelli price list you find lots of O.E markings such as BMW, Porsche, Jaguar… and if you own one of these vehicles and you look in your handbook you may well see Pirelli winter being recommended.

So does that fact that the premium car manufacturers endorse their product make it a good tyre? Well to be honest there are better options out there.

In 2010 Pirelli put the W210 forward for the European winter tyre test and it was placed 9th out if 10 – oh dear! Worse still was the testers comments, “slight weakness on wet roads and in snow and ice”. Personally if I was investing in winter tyres, great traction in those same 3 areas would be very high up on my shopping list. I just can’t imagine how the manufacturers think this is acceptable, in their testing during development Pirelli must have realised that the tyre worked great in the cold, dry conditions but not so well in snow and rain! And someone high up at Pirelli must have passed this, its incredible really.

Maybe I’m being a little harsh? Maybe at the time this was the best Pirelli could do and it just so happened that their competition stepped up their game that year? However it certainly highlights a point that you shouldn’t just follow the car manufacturers recommendations when it comes to tyres.

What else, well they are expensive too so all in all there are certainly better options out there. They may have this vast range of sizes but a lot of them are super wide 20″ tyres for vehicles like Jaguuar XF. Well when you look at the cost of these you could go for a smaller and narrower wheel & tyre set which would be cheaper and more effective.

Lets leave things on a positive though – a large percentage of these super large, average performing winter tyres are…. made in the UK!!

Have you had these fitted to your vehicle? Leave a review below

Need further help, call the team at Tyremen on 08456 807808

The Winter Tyre Reviews Team

Bridgestone Blizzak LM25

Bridgestone Blizzak LM25Winter Tyre Reviews are going to  take a look at the Bridgestone Blizzak LM25 here are the basics

Sizes available:16″, 17″, 18″, 19″, 20″

Speed ratings: H (136mph) & V (149mph)

Suitable for: high performance saloons, GT’s and coupés

We think that it’s fair to describe Bridgestone’s winter tyre strategy as ‘non-committal’. The Blizzak LM25 is in theory made in a vast array of sizes but there is very little information about this tyre being used or tested. The Bridgestone winter price list shows this tyre in so many sizes, yet only a handful are brought into the UK. In fact very little of their winter range is available in the UK across all of their patterns. Maybe they push the product more successfully in other parts of Europe, but we’re not convinced. This tyre has been available for a number of years yet there is no record of it being put forward for any winter tyre tests.

So what’s it like? Well we initially supplied this product as a 17″ winter runflat a few years back, when such products were scarcely produced. Customer feedback was positive, drivers praised it’s good snow traction and time has told that it also offers good longevity.

Bridgestone are a premium tyre manufacturer so when it comes to investing in winter safety you can be assured that they will have spent heavily in the development of this tyre. We’re sure the rubber compounds used will offer cold weather flexibility, the tread pattern is siped to ensure winter traction and the directional tread pattern will be effective at clearing snow, slush and rain. However we can’t honestly say how this compares to other premium offerings.

Personally we think that if you want a premium winter tyre then there are safer bets available. You could opt for something tried and tested in the premium segment which would probably work better. Other issues we have with the LM25 is that it’s right up there in terms of price, but also because Bridgestone are not committed to the UK market you could end up with availability issues. Even though you may be able to find a set now, if one gets punctured and needs to be replaced Bridgestone’s strategy may make this tricky.

Have you used the Blizzak LM25? If so I’d love to hear your comments.

The Bridgestone Blizzak LM25 is available from our partner, Tyremen, for shipping UK and Ireland wide or for fitting in Hull.

Thanks, the Winter Tyre Reviews Team

Dunlop sp wintersport 3D

Dunlop sp wintersport 3DDunlop sp wintersport 3D 2010 & 2011 Auto Bild 4×4 winter tyre test winner, here are the basics.

Sizes available: 15″, 16″, 17″, 18″, 19″, 20″

Speed ratings: T (118mph), H (136mph), V (149mph), W (168mph)

Suitable for – a wide range of vehicles from small 15″ car right up to 20″ SUV, and for Mercedes owners Dunlop is one of a few manufacturers to produce the 245/40R17 winter tyre.

Launched in 2009 the wintersport 3D has been a hugely successful winter tyre, although it has now been largely replaced by the new Dunlop SP Winter Sport 4D. However the 3D is still relevant as many drivers will still be using these, also it is still produced in many sizes. Many of the slightly more unusual sizes are still only made in the 3D, including some BMW run-flat applications. In some sizes Dunlop make both patterns and if they happen to be sold out of the 4D then the 3D is worth considering still is it a great quality product.

Since 2009 the 3D has been awarded with 10 to 3 places in the independent tyre tests, including the following top spots:
1st: 2011 Auto Bild 4×4 Winter Tyre Test (255/55 R18)
1st: 2010 Auto Bild Winter 4×4 Tyre Test (215/65 r16)
1st: 2010 Auto Bild Winter Tyre Test (195/65 r15)
1st: 2010 European Winter Tyre Test Part 2 (185/65 r15)
1st: 2010 Auto Bild Performance Winter Tyre Test (245/45 r18)

The tyre is praised for offering great all round winter performance and good stability in the snow. The 3D consistently scored great in the wet tests with short breaking distances on the wet track and great resistance to aquaplaning, which is pretty handy for our wet, UK winter weather. The only area that the 3D fell down in was rolling resistance which impacts on fuel economy, an area that appears to have been slightly improved upon in the newer 4D.

What is assuring is the range of sizes that the 3D performs in, the winter tyre test wins above are in a range of sizes which include both large & small SUV/4×4, small car and executive tourer.

Our retail sales of this tyre have often been in more unusual fitments such as those for new BMW 5 series and BMW X5, both in run on flat versions. Feedback has been really positive from customers, although generally they will have reduced wheel size too which really helps when it comes to winter performance. The tyres offer great longevity and customers often praise how many miles they will cover before wearing out, which can be in excess of 20,000 miles.

Dunlop are a well respected manufacturer, this year (2013) they will have been producing tyres for 125 years so they should be pretty good at it by now! Their winter range is very well respected and if the size you need is made in the 3D rather than the newer 4D it’s still a good proposition.

Have you driven on the winterspoprt 3D? If so please please leave your comments below.

Need more info? Talk to the guys at Tyremen


The Winter Tyre Reviews Team

Continental TS810 S

Continental TS810 S The Continental TS810 S (sport)  is a very different tyre compared to the TS810, this is a sports tyre designed for performance cars.

Sizes available: 15″, 17″, 18″ & 19″

Speed ratings: T (118mph), H (136mph), V (149mph) & W (168mph)

Suitable for: a large range of vehicles, BMW mini, Mercedes and even N2 & N0 marked tyres for Porsche.

This is another of Continentals ‘older’ winter tyres, it launched in 2008 which is pretty old in winter tyre terms. It was previously produced in a wide range of sizes and was their flagship winter tyre for the ultra high performance market – in tyre terms this just means 17″ upwards really. However more recently Continental launched the TS830 P which has largely replaced this tyre. There are a few sizes that are not available in the TS830P and you will find the TS810 S still produced.

Many of the offered sizes in the TS810 S range are niche things for high performance cars. Some of the sizes are rather unusual and only ever sold in small quantities so I’d imagine that they are not in as much of a rush to swap over to the new tyre. In addition to this many of the sizes offered in TS810 S will have additional letters after them such as; MO, *, N0 & N1. These mean that they are approved for use by various vehicle manufacturers, MO = Mercedes, * = BMW, N0/N1 = Porsche. Getting this approval from the vehicle manufacturers takes a great deal of time and money on the part of the tyre manufacturers so they will not be in a rush to switch these onto the newer pattern.

The TS810 S is a great winter product, it offers balanced winter performance and we have customers that have used them on rather special cars and have praised them for great grip in the snow and good tyre life. This tyre is suitable for vehicles that have a wider tyre on the rear such as BMW & Mercedes and the wider rear size is even optimised with additional circumferential grooves for better water dispersal!

Have you used the TS810S? If so please leave us your thoughts.

The Continental winter tyre range is available from our partner, Tyremen, or you can call them on 08456 807808 for more information for your car.

Vredestein Wintrac Xtreme

vredestein-wintrac-xtremeVredestein Wintrac Xtreme, I love these tyres, but I’ll get to that in a moment let’s start with the basics.

Sizes available: 16″ – 20″ diameter

Speed ratings: H (136 mph) all the way up to W (168 mph)

Suitable for: medium sized cars, saloons, executive, SUV & high performance sports

When I first got involved with selling winter tyres Vredestein was the first company that we dealt with. Based in Holland they are one of the original winter tyre manufacturers and considered by many to be one of the best in the business. I’ve sold this product for a number of years and the customer feedback is outstanding, We’ve fitted them to a wide range of vehicles from Golf’s to Aston Martin and everything in between. In terms of test data there is very little out there as Vredestein don’t tend to put this tyre forward for testing so we have had to convince customers that it’s a great product. All I can say is that people come back for them again and again and I’ve heard many stories about them being used in a range of conditions and they always perform outstandingly.

In addition to great all round winter performance the Wintrac Xtreme has the added benefit of offering great longevity, they offer fantastic mileage. I remember our Vredestein rep using them over 2 years and got close to 40.000 miles out of them! Many people think that winter tyres wear out quickly and that is rarely the case, especially with these. Even when used out of season they work and last well, I personally ran them year round on a 1 series and loved them. Fuel efficiency was still really good, there was no increased noise and after removing them at around 20,000 miles they were hardly touched in terms of tread wear.

Finally a bit more on my personal experience; I was really happy with them on my BMW 1 series a few years back. This year I used the 17″ runflat version on a 3 series and they have really performed. We had a reasonable amount of snow and ice over the 2012/13 winter up in Yorkshire and this tyre allowed me to keep mobile, safe and confident out on the roads – a top tyre!

Looking to buy? Tyremen are major stockists of the Wintrac Xtreme and offer great prices.