Van winter tyres – which some call snow tyres – can make a huge difference if you regularly drive through the ice and snow.
But winter tyres can be expensive – you’re looking at around £300 for a full set. And unless you live in Germany, Sweden or Austria, you have no legal requirement to get them.
Whether or not you choose to get winter tyres for your van is completely up to you. So let’s take a look at what winter tyres are and how they work, to help you decide whether they’re right for you.
What Is The Difference Between Winter and Summer Tyres?
Compared to a standard tyre – which me might call a summer tyre – a winter tyre has a greater tread depth. On a summer tyre, the tread depth is between 7mm and 8mm. On a winter tyre, it’s between 8mm and 9mm.
Winter tyres also have wider and deeper grooves. This is to form a wider groove for snow to pass through, which is why some refer to winter tyres as “snow tyres”.
Finally, winter tyres are made out of a different type of rubber. It’s a compound that features a greater proportion of natural rubber and silica when compared to summer tyres.
Thanks to these differences, winter tyres offer extra grip, better handling and a reduced stopping distance on ice and snow. Meanwhile, that special rubber compound mix means that the tyres don’t harden so much in low temperatures. This can further improve your grip on icy and treacherous roads.
Do I Need Winter Tyres?
It’s completely up to you. As we said, you have no legal obligation to get them.
But here’s a few things that might help you make your decision:
- Winter in the UK can be unpredictable. Some years are significantly colder than others. If your van is your livelihood, winter tyres could give you extra peace of mind that you’ll be able to drive safely, no matter what happens.
- Winter tyres can be expensive. But they can also prevent skidding and help you stay in control. So even if they cost a lot upfront, winter tyres could help you save money on repairs in the long-term.
- Another way winter tyres can help you save money: You’ll get less wear and tear on your standard tyres in the winter months, so they’ll last you much longer than they would if you used them all year round.
- It’s no guarantee, but some insurers might lower the price of your policy if you fit winter tyres, as they can help prevent accidents. But even if winter tyres make no difference to insurance, they do make it less likely that you’ll make a claim on your policy. So winter tyres could help you save on insurance through enabling you to protect your no-claims discount.
Can You Mix Winter and Summer Tyres?
No! If you mix summer and winter tyres, you’re going to get different traction, and different levels of wear and tear, on each of your tyres. This could cause you to skid, and you might even risk a puncture or a blowout.
In fact, this is the key thing to remember: If you do get winter tyres for your van, remember to switch back to standard tyres once the winter passes.
Winter tyres are only really effective in temperatures below 7°C. Due to their wider treads, winter tyres can actually worsen your grip and stopping distance in warmer weather.
Where to Get Van Winter Tyres Fitted
There are many places to get van winter tyres fitted, an example of some are listed below but there are many more:
You can also contact your local garage for advice.
Is Your Van Ready for Winter?
We also have an essential guide to keeping your van secure.
And whether you’re a new driver or an experienced driver, it’s worth reading our guide to driving in snow and ice.
Finally, consider adding breakdown cover to your van insurance policy. That way, even if you do break down, you can rest-assured that help will be on the way before long.