Welcome to my final instalment of my winter tyre blog. As we are now (allegedly) in Summer I thought it time to take my Winter Tyres off and replace them with my standard tyres. Winter Tyres can be used all year round but in dry conditions tyre wear is increased. By swapping over the tyres I’ll be able to use the same set of tyres for next year as the tread depth is still well within the UK limit.
You may recall from my earlier entries in this blog that I placed my standard tyres in Kwik Fit’s ‘tyre hotel’. Swapping the tyres over is simply a case of calling Kwik Fit, who stored my tyres, and agreeing a date for me to visit my local branch a few days later with my vehicle. This is how easy the process should be, however when I contacted Kwik Fit they were unable to locate my tyres and they said that they will look into this and call me back. A week later, after no response I called again and ultimately Kwik fit admitted that they were unable to locate my stored standard tyres. It was accepted that errors will occur so, Ogilvie and Kwik Fit came to an agreement with regards to replacing them. The new tyres duly arrived at my local Kwik Fit and I was contacted to pop in to have them fitted. However, upon arrival they had just re-painted the workshop floor and thus couldn’t use the jack to lift my car. Therefore I had to re-book it for the following day, which was an additional inconvenience to say the least.
At the start of this blog I ultimately wanted to measure the performance of the Winter Tyres and their value for money. In terms of performance, the tyres were outstanding. Not only did they provide the ability to drive on snow that would have previously stopped my BMW in its tracks, they also provided confidence when driving on uncertain frosty mornings. However driver confidence needs to be controlled as I experienced that in icy conditions the tyres will not provide significant additional benefit.
In terms of value for money, at nearly £1000 for a set of four winter run flat tyres and with only 4/5 days of any significant snow, the value has been limited this year. This equates to approximately £200 per day for mobility, although I did experience on many occasions where the conditions were less hazardous than snow but the tyres did make a noticeable positive difference. In 2011 Sheffield experienced snow that lasted for almost 3 weeks but even then winter tyres are a high price to pay for mobility. In addition to this the snow in 2011 was exceptional and measured 10-20cm in places, even winter tyres may not have added ANY benefit.
Winter tyres impressed me but my honest advice is to stick with standard tyres unless the cost of winter alternatives drop. My car is perhaps an extreme as I have 18” wheels with run flat tyre technology, from what I understand standard profile 17” wheels would cost considerably less. With advances in technology, many employees have the ability to work from home when the worst of the weather hits the UK. Unless you have a Fleet of engineers that are essential to have on the road at all times I’d suggest the best equipment to buy if you’re expecting a bad winter is a laptop to allow your staff to work from home. Alternatively you could opt for a significantly cheaper option of a winter tyre sock, which provides great grip in snowy conditions at a snip of the cost of winter tyres – visit www.autosock.co.uk for further information.