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Driving to ValD 6 April - do i need winter tyres?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
As per the title really - any thoughts?
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Well, if there's lots of snow, as you hope there will be, you might be glad of them. But it's not that likely - chains would do, just in case.
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It's an odd answer but, you'd hope it's stacking it down with snow so that you'd need them when you got there.

But in reality unlikely to be required.

But if you do, and it's covering the roads, chains maybe the only way to move.

If you've ever got stuck without them and immobile, then you'll know the feeling. Especially if you've got a car full of family and safety starts to rise more prominently in your thinking.

Also you could be turned away if conditions dictate the legal position of needing chains to comply with route signage.

Do you have suitable tires for winter driving? That will definitely influence the decision.

Generally people look at getting stuck ascending, but it's the going down that really gets scary if yo need to use them.

Another thread of the same question recently debated this and may be of help.
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Currently there is no legal requirement to have winter tyres in France at any time so the basic answer is no you don't need them.

You may need chains however. I have used chains a couple times to get up to les arcs at Easter.
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Thanks for the replies, however, I worded my original question poorly!

I own 2 sets of wheels, one set with a full winter set of tyres and another set with summer tyres. I also have a set of wheel chains and a four wheel drive car.

I guess I should have asked whether anybody thought it was likely that the conditions over the entire journey (from London and back) would merit using my summer tyres and having the chains as contingency (in the case of an early April snowfall?

Or use the winter tyres?

I guess what prompted the question was that I have just driven back from Megeve today, where the lion’s share of the journey was at motorway speeds with an ambient temperature in excess of 10 degrees Celsius.

Obviously speculating on specific future weather conditions is a fool’s game, but on the balance of probability and personal experiences what do people think?

Sorry my original question seemed to indicate I was unaware of the merits and use cases of winter tyres!
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Why would you use summer tyres if you have winters?? No brainer.
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@sasha320, as above, it might well be snowy and much of your journey could well be at less that 7C ambient.

Why would you do anything else? Puzzled
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endoman wrote:
Why would you use summer tyres if you have winters?? No brainer.


Because the winters wear faster in ambient temperatures above c10 degrees.

From an economic perspective no great shakes on a single return trip, however the tread depth you need to enjoy the full effect of winters when you really need them is >4mm. They come with 8mm brand new so actually preserving tread is precious from this perspective.

I think that is what this thread is about; trading off wearing the tread on the trip down vs. the likelihood of needing a winter tread to get up / down the mountain!
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under a new name wrote:
@sasha320, as above, it might well be snowy and much of your journey could well be at less that 7C ambient.

Why would you do anything else? Puzzled


Not trying to be smart, but the evidence today suggests that most of the journey is unlikely to be at less than 7C.

However I think I have the solution, I will measure the tread depth of my tyres that were spanking new a month ago. If the wear is inconsequential - including this recent trip - then winters it is.

Another thought, the tread pattern is apparently better at evacuating water from under the tyre; now I bet there’ll be plenty of rain at some point on the journey!

So subject to the wear being inconsequential, winters it is - for the wet weather properties.

Now, does anyone know how much rain will fall in April? Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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If you have both winter and ordinary tyres personally I'd have thought it a no brainer to take the winters to an area where snow is common and there are significant gradients on the road at a time of the year when black ice formation overnight is common.
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@sasha320, I do kind of understand why you ask the question.

Fact of the matter is winter tyres by their very nature run in non-optimal conditions... it's the weather....

Question is when would you swap out your winters if you weren't going to the mountains. It's not unusual for the weather to be pretty cold and nasty in the UK in April.

Add in a trip to the Alps it becomes a no brainer... for me at least.
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@sasha320, we have used winters on the cars for going to the Alps, since 2002. Last Easter (admittedly a few weeks earlier than this Easter) we needed winters at 1100m because of snow on the roads, and gained benefit from the 30pc better braking performance in cold rain lower down. The snow was wet and thin on the roads, icy on corners, winters made it safe and chains would have been a pain - probably damaged since they were not running on deep enough snow. Re wear on the journey - make sure the pressures are high for load and speed and this reduces wear a lot.
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@sasha320, we have a large SUV and typically get 4-5 winters from our tyres, fitted mid-Oct to mid-April (usually longer as we forget).

Probs 5-6kms a winter.

I don’t think one trip to the mountains is material.
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 You know it makes sense.
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Use the winters. We are at only 1100m here, and two cars have crashed off the road on summer tyres within a kilometre of us in the last three days.
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Take both summer and winter and only change as and when you need too.

Simples.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

Take both summer and winter and only change as and when you need too.


Toofy Grin
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I've not bothered taking the winters off our wagon yet, but they'll be off sharpish after the trip to VT at Easter, but temp and wear were very much in my mind as we were on the autoroute in 25deg. temps last month, high temperature does winter tyres zero favours.
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My winters are on year round. Easily get 25k miles from a set
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Surely this is a difficult call as at higher temperatures (e.g. spring in the UK) the performance of winter tyres in terms of braking is significantly worse than summer tyres). Keeping winter tyres on all year means you're accepting lower safety margins in warmer weather.

Personally I'd focus on choosing the right tyres to optimise safety rather than eke out tyre life. It's not just that winter tyres wear more quickly at higher temperatures, their performance is also not so good.
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No evidence presented to support the sweeping statement re tyre performance means this opinion is more myth than use
Shows why you should not rely on forums for fact but enjoy the assumptions and guesswork to nothing if the prejudice instead
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I wear my winter tyres on my UK car well into the Spring mainly because they're so much better at water dispersal than summer tyres. And these are common conditions in the Spring. Yes, winter tyres wear more at high speed/temps and braking is comparatively not as good, but we're talking about this being an issue in the middle of the summer, not this time of year. The guideline 7ºC temperature is not some magic point above which winters suddenly start to shred and skid. And if it's credentials you're after - I used to work for a major tyre manufacturer.

There are a lot of other factors too: many summer tyres degrade their braking distance disproportionately below 3mm, even 'though the legal minimum is 1.6mm. The difference on many performance tyres between 3mm and 2mm can be very significant. For winter tyres, this point is usually more like 4mm. This can make the switch-over point hard to judge if, say, you have relatively new winters versus worn summers. Also, individual brands of winters vary as much as do brands of summers, and if yours is a performance model, you'll find some winters/summers work better than others - so another variable. And with both types, there's a trade-off in terms of wear vs adhesion vs handling.


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Fri 15-03-19 10:06; edited 1 time in total
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under a new name wrote:
Take both summer and winter and only change as and when you need too.

Simples.


This is actually the right answer!

It is clear that the journey down to the Alps (‘000 of kms) in April favours summer tyres and the last few kms favour a winter tyre.

However it is impractical to carry both (yes I got the sarcasm and irony in the post above Very Happy ), so what’s the compromise position?

Autobild say...

Summers are best in dry, wet and ‘warm’ conditions.

Winters lag 10% in performance in these conditions.

In winter conditions, which i read as cold (<7.5C), snow, icy(ish) and / or slush, then summers offer 50% less performance.

So, winters it is. They may wear quicker, but they are within grasp of matching the summer tyre’s performance on the Autoroute and potentially come into their own going up / down the mountain.

Thanks for the opinions guys and apologies for dragging some of the original ‘no brainer’ responders through the logic that they were clearly on top off from the start of the thead!
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LaForet wrote:
mainly because they're so much better at water dispersal than summer tyres


Thanks for this, see my next thread!
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@sasha320, Apologies if you have already read the numerous tyre threads but the potential alternative (perhaps when the time comes to change tyres) is to use an all season tyre, optimised for winter use which wears well.

I have used the Michelin Cross Climate tyres (Goodyear also have an equivalent) on two 4x4's (there is SUV version for heavier vehicles) and a couple of front wheel drive cars and have been really impressed by both their wet weather handling all year round and their ability in the snow. They may not give the dry weather racetrack handling of some tyres, but I don't need that in a 4x4 personally.

I keep the same tyres on all year round and they cope with wet slipways, muddy fields, snow and all the UK, France and Swiss driving that I do each year. I do have snow chains in case of nastier weather but have very rarely needed to use them so far.
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@oui4ski makes an excellent point. I now have Michelin CrossClimates on our other local run-around car and I'd endorse that the all-seasons have come on by leaps and bounds in the last few years. To the extent I'd say that all UK SUVs and non-performance cars should come with them as standard. If you have a performance car, the case for separate summers and winters is still there, as a performance car amplifies the benefits of the right tyre for the season.
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I like to keep to tyres that are homologated by the manufacturer.

Unfortunately there isn’t an All Season R01 tyre in the size I need Sad
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
sasha320 wrote:
I like to keep to tyres that are homologated by the manufacturer.(

Had to google "homologated".

Didn't know manufacturers have an approved list Puzzled Puzzled

Reading up it seems to be for high end tyres/cars
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sasha320 wrote:
I like to keep to tyres that are homologated by the manufacturer.

Unfortunately there isn’t an All Season R01 tyre in the size I need Sad

I can't argue with that - although I personally found that the Cross Climates left the OEM (R01) Continentals for dust when driving in the wet or snow (in an Audi Quattro)!
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You know it makes sense.
LaForet wrote:
@oui4ski makes an excellent point. I now have Michelin CrossClimates on our other local run-around car and I'd endorse that the all-seasons have come on by leaps and bounds in the last few years. To the extent I'd say that all UK SUVs and non-performance cars should come with them as standard. If you have a performance car, the case for separate summers and winters is still there, as a performance car amplifies the benefits of the right tyre for the season.


My daughter drives all year round in Verbier using the Cross Climates and loves them - although she does tend to take the Swiss approach of waiting for a day after a snowfall for the snowploughs to clear the worst away (which also means that you rarely need to faff around with snow chains too).
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snowornever wrote:
No evidence presented to support the sweeping statement re tyre performance means this opinion is more myth than use
Shows why you should not rely on forums for fact but enjoy the assumptions and guesswork to nothing if the prejudice instead

Was that directed at me? Are you suggesting that there isn't a degradation in safety from using winter tyres in summer? I could explain the reasons and data, but a quick Google find several sites that do it better than I could, such as https://www.oponeo.co.uk/tyre-article/winter-tyres-in-summer and https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/new-and-used-cars/article/winter-tyres-and-snow-socks/should-i-buy-winter-tyres

It's a tricky call when as in the OP's case they're making a journey that may be mostly in conditions where summer tyres are favoured, but where there is a fine chance that there may be a real safety benefit to winter tyres for part of the journey.
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@sugarmoma666, although I would argue that the average temps for that time of year across much of the route (assuming UK departure) won't be all that much above 7C much of the time. ...

As two sets of tyres are not practical, winters are the least compromised. And most likely to be of value if needed...
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under a new name wrote:
@sugarmoma666, although I would argue that the average temps for that time of year across much of the route (assuming UK departure) won't be all that much above 7C much of the time. ...

As two sets of tyres are not practical, winters are the least compromised. And most likely to be of value if needed...

Agreed.
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Loads of times when I have has winter tyres on in warmer temps and have not noticed a discernasble difference in my cars braking or handling. but I have definitely noticed a difference many times driving on snow with regular tyres that performance is dramatically less.
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im driving out there(tignes)then and will have my winter tyres on. i dont feel its worth thr risk not having them on
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