Tag Archives: Winter Tyres

Jaguar XF, a True British Classic

Jaguar XF

 

In recent years Jaguar cars have gone from laughing stock, to stock in trade. Sold worldwide and now with the reliability it so richly deserves.

With multiple performance models and even an all wheel drive version, there isn’t much wrong with this car. As such, it has a variety of wheel and tyre sizes, making the right choice of winter tyre a big task.

Well, the team at Winter Tyre Reviews have been looking at what you can get to keep those powerful rear wheels stuck firmly to the road.

From 17″ to 20″ and most likely bigger to come, there are so many combinations, with large rear tyres and smaller fronts, some models the same all round and everything in between.

So how has your XF performed during the winter months? Some owners have reported that it’s actually fine, whilst others have found it to be somewhat lively at the rear and winter driving near on impossible.

So what can you do and why should you do it?

There are two options open to you, and those are change your summer tyres for winters on the Jaguar wheels or opt for a winter wheels and tyres package.

If you decide to go for just tyres then in the 17″ and 18″ size, there are plenty of options and with fitting, it’s around £800 a set. A great option and you just rotate the tyres.

However, if you are running 19″ and 20″, then things start to become a little more difficult. There are limited supplies of tyres in these sizes and the manufactures now realise that changing wheels and tyres for a smaller size is the best way forward.

The reason for this is that having a narrower tyre in contact with the road makes for more grip, better steering and handling is improved. With the larger summer tyres, particularly those on the rear wheels, they struggle to maintain stability in ice, snow, slush and the wet conditions of winter.

If you can source tyres, then prices start at £1100 for 19″ and £1200 for 20″

Low profile summer tyres are great for dry warm days and they make the car feel as though its on rails, but in the winter, not so good.

The tread patterns on winter tyre are slightly wider making the evacuation of snow and water quick. In seven seconds, a winter tyre will disperse a bucket full which means the chances of aquaplaning a reduced.

The sipes cut into the tread can be up to a thousand or more against an average of 120 on summer tyres, further increasing grip and ensuring that progress is made under acceleration.

So what are the options? Well, if you run 19″ and 20″ then for winter you should ideally drop down to 17″ and 18″ respectively. This will put 235/55R17 and 245/45R18 tyres all round and for 17″ it is around £950 and 18″ £1200 a set.

But you also want a wheel that looks good, after all, you’re not going to put a steel wheel on just for winter, sets come with three options, and we think this one below from Alutec suit the XF perfectly.

Grip Graphite

 

If you would like any further information, then contact the guys at Tyremen on 08456 807808.

Have you already had winter tyres on your XF? Please leave a comment telling us which tyres you’ve used and how they performed or just leave a question.

Thanks for reading

The Winter Tyre Reviews Team

Winter Tyres, The Big Question, Yes or No?

Here at Winter Tyre Reviews, we’ve covered very specific vehicles in our posts and shown you packages for them.

But what if you don’t, like most of us, driver the top of the range SUV, 4X4 or executive saloon car?

Mazda 6 Snow

Take the Mazda 6 above, a superb family saloon and a popular choice with many motorists, but would you really fit winter tyres and why would you?

So what are the benefits of having winter tyres?

Well the answer applies to just about every car on the road, if you know your tyre size, then there is most likely a winter tyre to suit your budget and your car.

So what’s the difference between winter and summer tyres? After all, you’ve done ok up to now. That’s right, apart from that time when you put your foot down and the drive wheels spin, front or rear, and that light on the dashboard that show’s a car sliding flickers away.

Traction Control

Or the time when you hit the brakes in the car park at your local supermarket and the car goes sideways, the ABS kicks back on the brake pedal because it won’t grip or won’t turn properly into the parking bay.

The myth around winter tyres is that you need to have snow on the ground for them to work and that’s why certain places in Europe they are a legal requirement. This is just not true.

Summer tyres have a rubber compound that makes them harder at temperatures below 7C  meaning that grip on the road, the ability to steer confidently and the handling are seriously reduced.

The traditional tread patterns for summer tyres are designed for grip but they often don’t have the capabilities to evacuate water as well in winter conditions, dry use is their main function and they do this superbly.

So how are winter tyres different?

Winter tyres have a specific tread pattern, like the tyre pictured below, with slightly wider grooves between the rubber and sipes in the tread to effectively grip the road surface.

Vredestein Wintrac Xtreme S

 

The rubber compound is more flexible below 7C so that it flex’s and moves to the road surface and conditions.

An average winter tyre can evacuate a full bucket of water from the tread in 7 seconds, and during wet conditions, this reduces the risk of aquaplaning. Steering comes back to the feel of summer driving, providing that you don’t think you’re Stirling Moss!

Snow and slush are pushed from the tread to keep the tyre clear and doing what it’s supposed to do, maintaining contact with the road.

The Autocar magazine conducted a test showing summer versus winter tyres and you can see what they found here.

For us, it’s a given, the team here run them in winter and we love them and how safe we feel when driving around, but that’s our view, and that’s what we’re here to do. Advice from ours and your experiences.

So, if you drive a Toyota Yaris, Range Rover or anything in between, the benefits are there for all cars, vans, motorhomes and campervans.

Want more information or would you like to leave a review/comment? Please do.

Or you can contact our partner, Tyremen, on 08456 807808 and they’ll be happy to advise you.

Thanks for reading

The Winter Tyre Reviews Team

Land Rover Freelander, the best of the small SUV’s?

Freelander2-Snow-FooterWEB

In the last of our Land Rover vehicle posts, with our partner, Tyremen, we’re going to look at the baby of the family, the Freelander.

As with other posts, it’s full of Land Rover heritage, and the 4WD is second to none on a vehicle like this. So why does it need winter tyres?

A 4WD vehicle is great, lots of grip, go anywhere attitude and is perfect to keep your family safe. But, as some of you will already know, put it in a field with lots of mud or on a country winter road, and it will slide around on those summer tyres.

Why? The rubber compound on summer tyres isn’t flexible enough in colder weather, quite to opposite, it turns harder and won’t give as much grip, affects traction and acceleration and can seriously affect handling, more so if you’re towing a large trailer.

Winter tyres are designed with a more flexible rubber compound that moves and grips at 7C and below. Sipes in the tread patterns give great traction on snow, slush and icy roads and water is pushed out with the ability to clear a bucket full of water in a matter of seconds, reducing the risk of aquaplaning.

The Freelander comes in wheel sizes from 16″ to 20″, so there is a lot of winter tyres out there for most wheels. The 16″, 17″ and 18″ are perfect for a straight swap for tyres only and with a set of four starting around £520 it’s not an expensive option.

If you’re running on 19″ and 20″ wheels, this then becomes a little more difficult. Winter tyres are not made in as large quantities and can be difficult to come by, and starting at over £1000 for a set of four in the 20″ size, it starts to become a lot more expensive. Coupled with the £80 per time to have them changed over twice a year, then you’re into serious money.

So what are the options for the larger sizes? Most will opt for a wheel and tyre package and drop down an inch or two. We are firm believers in 19″ dropping to 17″ and 20″ to 18″ wheels for the simple reason that the less tread you put on the road, the better the qualities of the tyre.

Grip Graphite

Big, wide summer tyres struggle in the winter, they can’t cope with the cold. So unless you have big mud tyres fitted, then you should seriously look at winter tyres.

The packages come fitted with either the Vredestein Wintrac 4 Xtreme or the Quatrac 3 SUV tyres which are very popular in Europe and great tyres!

Have you fitted winter tyres to your Freelander? What are your thoughts on winter tyres for 4X4 and SUV’s? Let us know below.

Want more help or advice? Call the friendly team at Tyremen on 08456 807808

Do you have a comment or review? Let us know below!

Thanks

The Winter Tyre Reviews Team

 

 

Range Rover, Big, 4WD, Luxury, Winter Tyres?

Range Rover Snow

 

The Range Rover, the vehicle that started the luxury 4WD market. With our partner, Tyremen, we discuss just why it needs winter tyres.

New to the market in 1970, it was the first luxury off-roader and has led the way ever since, the car all the others want to be like.

Comes with the superb Land Rover 4X4 system, so why are we even talking about winter tyres? Surely, it can go anywhere, anytime and just laughs at other 4X4’s?

Well, in the old days, yes, it came with big chunky off road tyres, perfect for that shooting trip, or taking a couple of hay bales into fields. But now, well, it’s more refined, more day to day usable, more, dare we say, Chelsea tractor? But we love it, it’s what a luxury 4X4 should be!

So this is why we are talking about winter tyres, low profile summer tyres just don’t do a Range Rover any justice in winter conditions.

With original wheels sizes between 19″ and 22″ these huge tyres are great in the warmer months, but, they struggle to be flexible and give enough grip when it gets cold. So what are the options?

You can change the existing summer tyres for winters, have them fitted to the very nice Range Rover wheels and store the summer tyres. There are a couple if issues with this, as the wheels come in several sizes, there are tyres for the smaller wheels, but when you hit the 20″ and upwards, they become very difficult to get hold of, and in some cases, non-existent. If you have 22″ wheels, then you may as well forget tyres in that size, few available and prices start around £400 each.

The reason for this is that the tyre companies have realised that narrower tyres makes for a better winter performance, so they look to winter packages and drop down to 19″ wheels and tyres.

So what real difference will winter tyres make, we don’t exactly get covered in snow for weeks at a time?

Winter tyres are not just for snow, they perform so much better in colder weather, under 7C, because the rubber compound is flexible in the cold, the tread patterns, like the Vredestein below, and the sipes within the tread grip the road and improve steering, handling and shorten stopping distances compared to summer tyres.

After all, at two and a half tonnes, it takes some grip to keep it going where you point it.

Vredestein Wintrac Xtreme S

Winter tyres are designed to remove water, slush and snow from the tread quickly, and the Vredestein Wintrac Xtreme  S do just that, and when fitted to the classic looking Zito Blazer 5 spoke wheel, sets the Range Rover off perfectly.

19" Blazer

So, for safety, when you have that most precious of cargo’s on board, your family, it seems to be the only way forward.

If you want more information, talk to the guys at Tyremen on 08456 807808 and see what they can do for you.

Packages start at a shade over £1100 and other wheels can be sourced, it certainly makes it worth while thinking about for winter driving safety.

Have you fitted winter tyres to your Range Rover before? Leave a comment for others and give us your thoughts, did they work? Was it worth it?

Thanks

The Winter Tyre Reviews Team

The Evoque from Range Rover, Winter Driving, Winter Tyres

Range Rover Evoque

Another of our vehicle specific posts, this time, with our partner Tyremen, the Range Rover Evoque and a look at winter tyre packages.

launched in September 2011, this car has proved to be a massive hit and rivals the BMW X5 and the Audi Q5, and frankly, could well be the best of the three given it’s Land Rover heritage.

With a wide range of wheel sizes from 17″ to 20″ so we’ll start with 17″ and 18″.

Coming on standard summer tyres, with a reasonable profile,  they perform great in warm, dry sunny days (when we get them). Normally, we would always recommend dropping down an inch or two, but with these, they are already a good size just to fit winter tyres straight to your current wheels.

The 225/65R17 Wintrac 4 Xtreme winter tyre by Vredestein starts at a reasonable £140 per corner delivered. The 235/60R18 a shade over £120 per corner delivered.

The tyre has great properities, a directional tread pattern which is ideal for clearing snow, slush, and more importantly, water for when that thaw comes.

The design specific sipes in the tread, grip the road with the assuredness of a summer tyre giving a positive feel for steering and handling, essential in winter conditions, even on icy roads.

The rubber compound is a lot more flexible in colder weather, further increasing the grip on a heavy car.

vredestein-wintrac-4-xtreme

 

Now we’ll take a look at the options for 19″ and 20″ wheels.

There are two options in this size, you can buy winter tyres to fit to your current wheels, as with the 17″ and 18″ or you can drop down to an 18″ winter wheels and tyres package.

Winter tyres in the 19″ size are readily available during the winter months, and prices start at £140 per tyre delivered. It has the same superb properties as above and will make your winter driving a lot safer.

The biggest issue now falls to the 20″ wheel size. Winter tyres are not available in great numbers. Everyone, including the tyre manufactures, seem to have realised that dropping down sizes is the best way forward.

Why is that the case? Well, the basic rule for winter is, put the least amount of tread on the road as possible.  This enables the car to maintain grip by cutting through winter conditions, rather like we used to see Morris Minors do many years ago.

So what’s the recommendations?

If your Evoque has 17″ or 18″ wheels, opt for tyres only, it will probably cost you around £50 to £60 twice a year to have them swapped over, but worth it to keep your family safe and know that you won’t get stuck!

In the 19″ and 20″ size, drop down to an 18″ package. These start around the £1000 area and are complete with the Alutec Grip or Poison wheels and Vredestein tyres.

The wheel is TUV approved, meaning that the insurance companies don’t have an issue, and a five year paint guarantee and suit the car. It also has the benefit that if you are unlucky enough to clip a kerb, then you haven’t damaged a £500 Evoque wheel!

In all sizes, winter tyres will make the Evoque perform so much better and when coupled with Land Rover’s superb 4X4 system, you’d never know the difference!

Thanks for reading, if you have a view point or have winter tyres on your Evoque, leave a review below, we’ll answer any questions and comments.

The Winter Tyre Reviews Team

 

The Range Rover Sport, Just Not In Winter, Or Is It?

Range Rover Sport

In this post Winter Tyre Reviews are going to look at the superb Range Rover Sport and with our Partner, Tyremen, look at what’s great for winter driving.

So what do we know, well, as with any Land Rover, the off road capabilities are second to none, when fitted with the right tyres. These days, they come fitted with low profile road tyres, which doesn’t make the Sport the best in snow, slush or icy conditions.

As standard the Sport comes with either 275/40R20 or 285/35R22 wheels and tyres, great for holding the road in warmer conditions, but for winter, those wide tyres struggle to hold the road.

So what is the way forward? Well, as any tyre expert will tell you, dropping down a size or two and fitting winter tyres will vastly enhance the performance of the Sport.

The rubber compound of summer tyres becomes harder and less flexible at temperatures below 7C and makes the car lose grip and handling, after all, it is a heavy car.

So what is the benefit of fitting winter tyres?

Firstly, moving from a 275 or 285 tyre profile to a 255 enables less tyre tread on the road, like that on the Vredestein Wintrac 4 Xtreme which makes it easy to cut through the winter weather.

The design of the tread pattern makes the evacuation of snow, slush and water very quick keeping contact with the road and reducing the risk of aquaplaning.

A small rim size, such as the 19″ Blazer below, enables a taller tyre height giving a softer ride and the room for a flexible tread to maintain grip and handling. With the taller tyre, the smaller rim does not look out of place.

19" Blazer

But what if you would rather just get winter tyres rather than a package? Well, good news and bad news.

If you have the 20″ wheels then tyres are available, just not in great quantities. Prices start at around £200 per tyre and manufactures are limited.

Now the bad news, if you have 22″ wheels, then the chances of getting tyres is pretty much non-existent. If you can get some, a budget tyre starts at around £220, but as budget suggests, not great for winter.

The premium brands, such as Pirelli, start at £330 and you can pay anything up to £450 per tyre.

So what about the 19″ wheel and tyre package? If budget tyres are coming in at £880 a set, then surely its double? No, a package from Tyremen is around £1150. Why? As its a smaller wheel and tyre, therefore produced in greater numbers, costs are kept down.

For us, it’s no contest, a winter package, protect your 20″ or 22″ OE wheels and a little scrape on the winters won’t be the end of the world.

Want more info? Call Tyremen on 08456 807808

Already have a set? Leave a review below or let us know what you have done for winter and we’ll share with all our readers.

Thanks

Jason

The Winter Tyre Reviews Team

Winter Tyres for Vans and Motorhomes

Van in Snow

 

Here at Winter Tyre Reviews we’re going to look at what’s available to keep your light commercial vehicle and motorhome safe on the roads this winter.

With our partner Tyremen, we have found the top five winter tyres to review for small vans, larger vans and motorhomes.

So we will start with the Vredestein Snowtrac Rein which is used on small vans such as the Nemo or Blipper.

Vredestein Snowtrac Rein

So what’s it like? A great little tyre ideally suited to small light vans when weight is an issue.

It’s directional tread pattern is ideally suited to the quick clearance of snow, slush and water during the cold, damp months. The tread blocks allow superb bite into winter surfaces for excellent acceleration and keeps the tread free of snow.

Giving increased grip and handling it gives the assurance of summer tyres during the warmer days. Braking is improved over standard tyres further increasing the safety of the driver and cargo!

With a fuel rating of E, a wet grip of C and noise level at 70db, (explained here) it’s the perfect choice for winter.

The perfect all rounder.

We rate at 9/10

Next on our list is the Hankook RW06

Hankook RW06

 

 

The Hankook RW06 is a mid-range, affordable winter tyre, specifically designed for a multitude of light commercial vehicles.

A robust wide tread pattern gives maximum contact area with the road, vastly improving handling, traction and braking in snowy, icy and wet conditions.

Manufactured with multiple sipes in the tread blocks, safe winter driving is assured.

This tyre does not have studs within the tread pattern and relies solely on the rubber compound and tread design, which we feel, works very well.

Fuel rating is F – G, Wet Grip E and Noise 73db.

We rate 9/10

Next on our list, the Bridgestone W800

W800

 

To give this tyre it’s full name, the Bridgestone Blizzak W800, a formidable looking tyre with some great properties.

It comes in rim sizes 14″ to 16″ and is a non-directional tread pattern. Again, this is a tyre for the commercial market and has proved popular with drivers and fleet owners.

A zig-zag sipe pattern within the tread blocks ensures great grip on acceleration, assured braking and all round handling properties.

A durable and comfortable drive, helps maintain stability of the vehicle keeping driver and cargo safe.

However, it rates badly for fuel usage, which a lot of winter tyres do, but this is the worst ratings.

So, Fuel F to G, Wet Grip B to E (only one tyre rates E the rest are B or C) and Noise 72db to 74db.

Therefore, we rate 7/10

We are now going to look at multifunctional winter tyres for commercial vehicles and motorhomes.

The Vredestein Comtrac Winter

Comtrac Winter

 

Vredestein are huge in Europe, and given that winters there can be far worse then in the UK, winter tyres are very popular.

Surprisingly, a lot of people on the continent love to go away in their motorhomes during the winter. Ski resorts are very popular and winter tyres are a legal requirement, which is why we have these.

A solid directional tread pattern with zig-zag sipes gives superb grip in all winter conditions and clears snow, slush and water quickly and effectively.

Stopping distances are reduced compared to summer tyres and acceleration is assured and responsive.

With a rubber compound designed to perform in colder conditions, this is the perfect multi-vehicle tyre for both commercial and motorhome.

With Fuel ratings between E and F, Wet Grip of E and Noise at 71db it is probably one of the best available.

We rate 9/10

Last on our list is the Continental Vanco Winter 2

Vanco Winter 2

 

Continental are a very popular premium brand, as you may have noticed from all the TV adverts during football games, and why not, do you get what you pay for?

Well, yes and no. They make great tyres but are sometimes a little expensive.

However, as one of the original suppliers of winter van tyres, they have led the way and this is why.

A superb tread pattern with directional sipes gives an assured performance in colder conditions.

Grip is constant and the tyre moves slush, snow and water from the tread quickly to ensure traction and braking is effective.

It is a genuine winter tyre and its ratings are, Fuel E, Wet Grip C and Noise 73db.

Due to it’s cost, we rate 8/10

For more information on tyre ratings, click here.

For more information, or to check the suitability for your vehicle, take a look at our partner, Tyremen’s website here, or call 08456 807808

Have you used winter van tyres? Please leave a comment or ask a question below, we always respond!

Thanks

The Winter Tyre Reviews Team

SUV and 4X4 Winter Tyres, Which are Best?

Audi Q7 Winter Wheels

 

Here at Winter Tyre Reviews, with our partner Tyremen we are going to look at the top three most popular winter tyres for SUV and 4X4 vehicles.

So lets start with the Vredestein Wintrac 4 Xtreme.

vredestein-wintrac-4-xtreme

This tyre is gaining in popularity in the UK which mirrors sales in Europe. Designed with performance in mind, this is a robust SUV tyre with saloon car characteristics.

A prominent ‘W’ directional design tread pattern gives a robust appearance which is demanded by owners, but just because it looks good, is it?

Well, the tread design makes the clearance of water, slush and snow a quick and effective process. Stopping distances are good when compared to summer tyres and handling improved for greater stability in cold weather.

Tyre wear is good and we have had reports comparing mileage with summer tyres.

Basic off road use is good, enabling great traction in mud and gravel tracks and driveways.

Fuel economy is rated between C and E dependant on size, Wet Grip is rated E and noise levels at 71db see here for a full explanation.

All in all, a great choice for winter safety giving confidence for all day to day use!

We rate 8/10

Next on our list is the Goodyear Wrangler Ultragrip

Goodyear Wrangle Ultragrip

 

As you can see from the image, the Goodyear is a traditional SUV/4X4 tyre, big, chunky with a defined tread pattern, so can you use it for normal every day use? Well, yes you can, and here’s why.

As it’s name suggests, the Ultragrip does just that! It gives exceptional traction and pull in most winter conditions. Unlike the Vredestein, this is a tyre designed with ‘off road’ in mind, but that then balances off against ‘on road’ qualities.

Don’t get us wrong, it is more than adequate plodding around town, but with its more aggressive tread pattern, the ratings are compromised, here’s how:

Fuel economy is E to F ,Wet grip is C to E, Noise levels between 68db to 75db.

Removal of snow, slush and water from the tread is very good. Off road performance is one of the best in snow, but every day use isn’t as good as other tyres available, therefore:

We rate 7/10

Our last tyre we are going to review is the Dunlop Grandtrek SJ6

Dunlop Grandtrek

 

Wow, just look at that tread pattern! Six wide circumferential grooves provide one of the best water drainage  tyres around and helps to reduce the risk of aquaplaning in some of the worst conditions.

It is designed with multiple blades and its compound is made up with Silica-Plus and microscopic studs which gives superb traction and wet performance.

The tread pattern is directional, with wide grooves that cuts through water, slush and snow. Dry weather grip is good on the majority of surfaces with a firm grip on ice.

Fuel economy is rated at E, Wet Grip is rated at F and noise levels at 74db to 76db dependant on tyre size.

So based on its slant towards off road capabilities and high noise levels:

We rate 7/10

There are other SUV tyres out there, but as they come in large sizes and don’t make up the biggest percentage of cars on the road, they can be hard to come by.

That is why we looked at these three. If you have another preference or want further information and availability, call the guys at Tyremen on 08456 807808

Thanks for reading and leave your thoughts or comments below.

The Winter Tyre Reviews Team

 

 

The BMW 2 Series, Coupe, Convertible and Active Tourer

BMW 2 Series

UPDATED JULY 2015

Since the post was written, the availability of wheels and tyres has come into the tyre world. Not a lot of difference between the the 1 and the 2 Series.

There is an OE (original equipment) BMW wheel in 16″ or for those who just must have something a bit bigger, the X10 from Uniwheel. A great looking, sporty wheel that’s easy to keep clean during wet winter months.

Coming with a recommendation of Continental or Hankook winter tyres, this will keep your 2 Series firmly on the road for winter, whatever the weather.

The BMW 2 Series, new for 2014 and comes in Coupe, Convertible and Touring versions.

So this is a new model for 2014 from BMW, but is it? Well, yes and no. It’s based on the 1 series and as BMW have been doing so lately, they have moved some of their models under a specific model number, hence this little beauty.

As it’s so new, this will be its first winter, so what about winter tyres? Well, that’s where the good news starts, as it’s based on the 1 series there are lots of options out there.

Usually based on the tyre size 205/55R16, this fits in perfectly with the 1 series winter tyre options. So your new BMW can perform safely this winter without the worry.

Our partner, Tyremen, haven’t got the details up on their website yet, it’s that new, but can advise you on the best packages for your car.

If you have a comment, leave it on the blog below and we’ll come back to you or alternatively, speak to the friendly team at Tyremen on 08456 807808

Thanks

The Winter Tyre Review Team

Audi A4 Winter Tyres, Are They A Great Investment?

Audi A4 Snow

Here at Winter Tyre Reviews, we asked the question, are winter tyres worth buying for the Audi A4? Simple answer, yes, yes, yes! But why do we think so? Well, we’re going to look at the options with our partner Tyremen.

The Audi A4 has been a fantastic car for over 20 years, starting life as the Audi 80 to its present models. All versions of this car, whether its cabriolet, saloon or estate version, the avant look great, drive with assuredness and have fantastic build quality.

But when the temperature drops then owners are increasingly looking for a winter wheel and tyre solution in order to keep their A4 moving safely. Luckily with an Audi, making such an investment will really pay off as an A4 fitted with winter tyres will be an incredibly safe vehicle come the cold weather. Unlike its German counterparts such as BMW & Mercedes the Audi is either front or all-wheel drive, so while your neighbours rear wheels are spinning away on his 3 series you will be confidently pulling away from the drive whatever the weather. Maybe you can be neighbourly and smugly offer him a ride to work?

Front wheel drive vehicles work really well in the winter when fitted with a cold weather tyre, and if you’re lucky enough to have an A4 Quattro system then when combined with winter tyres then you will literally be able to get anywhere even when there is thick snow on the ground. One of our team has an A4 and fitted it with Vredestein Wintrac tyres, and whilst his wife’s Mercedes stayed in the garage, the A4 performed as though it was summer.

So what’s the difference between summer and winter tyres? The difference is the make up of the rubber compounds, Summer tyres are flexible and have lots of grip in the warmer weather, however, when the temperature  drops below 7 degrees, they become harder and don’t grip the road as well, the handling becomes less responsive and stopping distances increase!

Winter tyres are designed to flex in colder conditions and as such, give increased grip, traction, handling and give much shorter braking distances over summer tyres.

So if you’re considering a winter driving solution for your A4 then what should you go for?

There are two options open to you, you can get a set of winter tyres and have them rotated twice a year with your summer tyres.  With the 16″ standard wheel, for a set of mid-range tyres prices are around £350 and for the 17″ £530. You then have to factor in the cost of around £120 per year to have them swapped.

The second option is a set of wheels to fit your winter tyres onto has a few benefits. First is price again, even though you have the additional cost of the wheels initially you have dramatically reduced fitting costs. Your Audi winter wheels should come with the tyres fitted (they certainly are when we supply them) therefore they will just need bolting onto the vehicle. This can be done yourself, at any garage at a minimal cost, or as part of the package price when bought though our partner Tyremen. The wheels don’t have to be that expensive either, a cheap set of steel winter wheels starts at around £230, so the alternate £120 a year tyre swapping cost makes the wheel option look like pretty good value for money.

Also fitting a wheel & tyre package allows you to (generally) fit a smaller wheel and a narrower tyre. This really helps when it comes to winter traction as it’s a case of the narrower the better for winter tyres. Those super large and wide alloys put on by Audi may look great for the summer but act like big snow boards in the snow, whereas a narrow tyre will dig into the snow much more effectively and improve winter traction. Smaller winter tyres are cheaper too so you would probably find that for the price of say 18” winter tyres you could get a set of 16” wheels & tyres. Essentially smaller wheels & tyres are cheaper and more effective, this is certainly the most practical and convenient option for winter.

When reducing wheel size you are trying to re-create what Audi offer on the base model A4’s and quite often this is using a 16” wheel & tyre. There are certain models that such a reduction is not possible though, examples of this would be S4, 2.7 & 3.0 engines and versions with over 170bhp. On these a larger brake is fitted which a 16” wheel would catch on so you would need to go for a 17” package.

Audi OE Wheel

In 16” you have the most options wheel wise, you can go for steel, aftermarket alloys and even ‘take off’ genuine Audi alloys. The genuine Audi A4 winter alloys are perfect for winter; they have just done factory mileage and are a fraction of the price of those from Audi. However there is nothing wrong with any of these options it purely comes down to cosmetics. If your A4 is listed above and will not take a 16” wheel then in 17” you are going to have to look at alloys as steel are not made in anything over 16”.

Which winter tyres to choose?

The answer to this could be a number of blog posts in its own right, however here are a few of my thoughts and opinions:
Budget winter tyres – AVOID, I don’t see the point in them! If you’re trying to make your vehicle safer for the winter then these just don’t cut the mustard.
Mid-range – Uniroyal are totally decent, they come out of the same factory as Continental and perform really well in their own right. Hankook also make a good winter product that will serve you well.
The best winter tyres – there are a few really good tyres on the market but current test winning tyres Continental winter TS850 or TS830P are great products. Our retail company, Tyremen are still really big fans of Vredestein winter tyres, the Snowtrac 3 offers about the best pure snow performance and the Wintrac Xtreme is a great all-round winter tyre that offers incredible longevity.

Any questions? Feel free to leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can or call the friendly team at Tyremen, 08456 807808

Thanks

The Winter Tyre Reviews Team