A brief guide to winter tyres

Aug 21 2019

A silver vehicle equipped with Blizzak LM005 tyres turning a corner on a snowy road near a forest with a sunset in the background.

There are three main types of tyres: all season, winter and summer. But what are the features that differentiate a winter tyre from its counterparts and what makes it more capable of handling snow and ice? We answer the most common questions about winter tyres and why they’re worth the investment.

What is a snow or winter tyre?

A “snow tyre” is another name for a winter tyre, and winter/snow tyres are different from all season and summer tyres because they’re specifically designed to handle the various conditions that arise during the coldest months of the year. The difference between winter and other types of tyres comes down to how it’s made—including the optimisation of the rubber compound, tread pattern and tread depth. 

A Bridgestone winter tyre is optimised to handle the harshest conditions.

Do I need winter tyres?

The best time to mount your winter tyres will depend on your location. While October tends to be the primary month most people switch their tyres, it could be earlier or later depending on when the winter season begins in your country. Keep in mind: if your country is part of the European Union (EU), there may be winter tyre regulations that specify a deadline to mount winter tyres for your region.

Do I need a winter tyre if I have an all season tyre?

All season tyres are designed to handle both summer and winter conditions, but when it comes down to choosing one or the other, drivers should make a choice based on their location and the weather conditions they often face.  Drivers living in Europe who experience milder year-round climates may be best suited to choose all season tyres, while drivers living with moderate to extreme winter seasons should opt for winter tyres.

Can you use winter tyres all year?

When the weather warms up, the performance advancements of winter tyres, such as the rubber compound and tread pattern, no longer perform at their best and can decrease the tyre's wear life. Switching out winter tyres is also a cost-effective choice because keeping them year-round is more expensive than mounting them every season.

Do I need a full set of winter tyres?

Both tyre and vehicle makers recommend mounting four winter tyres on a vehicle for maximum performance in grip, braking and cornering.

Tyre and vehicle makers recommend mounting four winter tyres on a vehicle for maximum performance.

When is the best time to mount winter tyres?

When and where to mount your tyres will depend on your location. While October tends to be the primary month most people switch their tyres, it could be earlier or later depending on when the winter season begins in your country. Always be sure to switch your tyres well in advance.

What is the ideal tyre pressure for winter tyres?

It's essential to check your tyre pressure at the beginning of the winter because tyres tend to deflate whenever the temperature drops. To avoid under-inflated tyres, check the tyre pressure regularly either with the help of an expert or a tyre gauge. Also, refer to your vehicle owner's manual or manufacturer to see what the recommended pressure is for your tyres.

Find a winter tyre that fits your car

As the largest tyre and rubber company, we have an extensive tyre winter tyre portfolio to help everyone master their journey, all winter long.

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