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Winter tyres are manufactured specifically for the colder climates and wet, slippery terrains. Specifically speaking these perform the best when the average all-around temperature is below 7 degree Celsius and the roads are covered in ice or snow. These prevent the car from slipping and swerving out of control while cornering and driving on slopes.
Winter tyres are constructed using a unique design technology which is devised to provide improved traction, the reduced distance required for braking as well as much higher grip and ability to dissipate snow and water as compared to summer or all-weather types. These are recommended by most dealers not only for their safety functionality but also to improve your vehicle’s efficiency during the winter months.
Winter tyres work on mainly two principles:
1. The polymer used for construction contains a higher ratio of a more yielding rubber making it softer than the summer or all-weather models. Hence during cold months, the softer composition retains their pliability and consequently offers better driver control during cornering as well as superior durability.
2. The second design aspect is the introduction of sipes (small uneven jagged slits) on the surface and deeper indentations along the thread. This helps in snow collection and dissipation of water and is responsible for the enhanced traction and shorter braking distances.
No, winter tyres are not the same as snow tyres. For better visualization of the snow model, recall the image of a football boot. The snow tyre is similarly fitted with stud-like hardware all along the surface. These should be used only on a surface covered in ice or snow.
The requirement to buy Snow tyres depends purely on whether you are planning on traveling to states which have high snowfall like Jammu and Kashmir, parts of Northeast, Uttrakhand etc. While for some, it may seem like a needless expense, for other drivers it can actually improve their driving experience and even go as far as saving lives. But the manufacturer's guide for this model clearly defines that this is only meant to be used on the surface of thick snow and ice. Using these non-snow zones can cause damage to the roads as well as your vehicle.
Winter tyres must be fitted on your vehicle only in the cold season of the yearly cycle. The prescribed temperature for use of this model is 7 deg C or below. In certain states of India, winter commences in the month of October and reaches temperatures below 10 deg C in November. So generally the use of this tyre can be planned from the months of November to February.
No, putting winter tyres only in the front will inadvertently disproportionate the vehicle’s balance. If you plan to install them, you must also plan to buy four simultaneously. These can be rotated the next time you fit them, hence elongating their life.
No, due to Winter Tyre’s more supple material composition and correspondingly boosted traction, driving with it in the summer would deter your vehicle’s performance. And to add to it, the tyres will wear out at a much faster rate if used in summer conditions
On normal tar roads, they have proved to show a greater amount of noise and much lesser cornering performance and braking distance. The stability of the vehicle is also severely affected. The vehicle’s fuel efficiency will drastically decrease and it can even be unsafe in certain cases.
To maintain the integrity of these during the warmer months of the year appropriate storage is very important. Winter tyres must be stored safely in a cool dry place protected from sunlight and other external elements. There are also special bags available which can be purchased to completely eliminate the chances of early wear and deterioration of these tyres.
In India, according to customer and dealer reviews, best winter tyres are discussed here. For Bikes, The Anlas Winter grip plus (Available for front and rear) are “3-peak Mountain” approved products are proved to be the best winter tyre for the bike. For cars, the Blizzak series from Bridgestone features good performance in cold weather and with hundreds of sipes detailed, this product provides very good traction on in rain and on the frozen surface. The Iceguard IG series from Yokohama offers advanced grip so as make cornering in winter a piece of cake. Braking lengths have also been reported to be vastly improved.
The Goodyear ultra grip WRT series specializes in thread designs which provide excellent driving command on wet and frozen surfaces. The Michelin Pilot Alpin and Micheli X-Ice products have extremely favorable reviews for their quick response and flexibility. Manufactured by a special compound, it retains its characteristics in freezing temperatures. This Company’s Conti Winter Contact are actively promoted to provide much safer and smoother rides on ice and snow. These also are known for their durability and long shelf life. Other popular options include Japanese branded Dunlop Graspic HS3 and the Falken Espia. These are designated by a three peak mountain symbol and M+S. It is also known as 3PMSF (three peak mountain snowflake).
The prices vary based on brand, size and vehicle type. For Bikes, The Anlas winter grip series is available at prices starting from Rs 8000. Michelin specificities for motorcycle sells at approximately Rs 7000 for a single piece and has good reviews. For Cars, The most popular brand Bridgestone Blizzak sells for a price of around Rs 7000-9000 each. If you are looking for a slightly less expensive option, Yokohama, the Japanese brand will save you probably a grand per piece. Brands like Pirelli sell at almost Rs 10000 -12000 per product.
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