ERJ staff report (TP)
Kent, UK − Winter tires: when the temperature drops, the big debate starts, so when should you fit them? Reported Auto Express.
From a safety point of view, it’s a no-brainer. Winter tires have up to three times the grip of ‘normal’ summer tires on snow, and work better in the wet when temperatures dip below around seven degrees. Despite two relatively mild winters, demand for cold weather tires remains strong.
The doubters, however, point to the lack of snow in much of the UK, plus the extra cost of storing summer tires when not in use. With producers better able to meet demand than ever before, and ‘hotels’ to store tires while off your car readily available, it’s never been easier to give yourself an edge in the most demanding conditions of the year.
But which to buy? Winter tire development has stepped up in recent years, with speed ratings climbing and a steady stream of new designs hitting the market. To find out which is now the one for your car, Auto Express headed for the sub-zero temperatures of Nokian’s test centre in Ivalo, close to the Russian border in northern Finland.
For the tarmac tests Auto Express used Nokian’s proving ground in Tampere, Finland, using a Skoda Octavia. Eight tires in the highly popular 225/45R17 size – as found on big-selling hatchbacks and family saloons – were put through their paces. Auto Express also used test-winning summer tires in this size as a comparison to see the advantage winter rubber has in slippery conditions.
The results were incredibly revealing and Auto Express did a number of tests to try to ensure all have the same influence on the overall result. So, for easy comparison, Auto Express rated the winner of each test at 100 percent and scored the others relative to that. First, Auto Express add up the percentage scores for each test. Then, apply a weighting to ensure that tests with a large performance gap between best and worst– such as aquaplaning – count the same as those with a small gap. Price is only a minor consideration.
The following factors were tested: snow braking, snow traction, snow circle, snow handling, slushplaning, straight aquaplaning, curved aquaplaning, wet handling, wet braking, dry handling, dry braking, cabin noise, rolling resistance and price.
The results were as follows:
1st place - Nokian WR D3
2nd place - Continental ContiWinterContact TS 850
3rd place - Goodyear UltraGrip 8 Performance
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Full story from Auto Express