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Snow tyres or chains will be mandatory in Haute-Savoie next winter

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
My car has nasty cheap plastic pretend alloys; completely impervious to salt and have survived many miles with chains, too. wink
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And just to remind people - snow tyres are NOT a substitute for chains - on busy, snowy, days that you might be required to put chains on regardless of how spiffing your winter tyres are. Most people who just drive to the Alps for a week or two once a year will never meet those conditions but when they happen (and it's often on a Saturday...…), you'll be glad of chains on your snow tyres, when you're forced off the carriageway onto a snowy verge to get past a truck slewed across the road or some numpty who doesn't know how to put chains on or left it too late. 4WDs are generally OK if they have good snow tyres (ie plenty of tread left) but might be required to put chains on summer tyres. They can be a complete menace on downhill bends.
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johnE wrote:
I just changed the tyres on my 4x4 (an Audi TT) and went for the tyres with the best wet braking performance (A) but while I was at it I had a look on the web for winter tyres for my wife's car. I was expecting them to be poor for noise and fuel consumption but rather suprised to be unable to find any with wet weather braking performancce better than C (this is about 5m longer from 50mph). Can someone reccomend a winter or winter orientated all season tyre with the best braking performance?


Unless you are looking at an unusual size or something there are plenty of all season tyres with B rating for wet, even the odd A. The ratings do vary for the same tyre with a different size, presumably because of aquaplaning effect but I don't know. I suspect those ratings are a very, very dumbed down thing and, a bit like the emissions stuff, you can make the tyre fit the test but whether it's really any good you only find out after you have bought it.
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Quote:

Unless you are looking at an unusual size or something there are plenty of all season tyres with B rating for wet, even the odd A.

235/45/18 Y. Could you tell me which ones.

Quote:

but whether it's really any good you only find out after you have bought it.

At £200 each I'd like some advice before buying
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johnE wrote:
Quote:

Unless you are looking at an unusual size or something there are plenty of all season tyres with B rating for wet, even the odd A.

235/45/18 Y. Could you tell me which ones.

Quote:

but whether it's really any good you only find out after you have bought it.

At £200 each I'd like some advice before buying


Maybe I am misinterpreting something but there are loads here :-

https://www.tyreleader.co.uk/car-tyres-235-45-18/?s=G&orderby=prixD

Including an A in the wet from Bridgestone at £126
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@skitow, Thank you. I was looking at the winter tyres and was terrified to see some graded E.
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I wouldn't focus on just one characteristic. For example, you can get a tyre with the best wet braking distance - in a straight line - but relatively poor resistance to aquaplaning when turning. Or one with excellent dry handling, but at the price of moving from an being 'A' on snow to a 'B'. And so on. As mentioned, the letter classifications are a useful guideline but not the be-all and end-all. It does get complicated, because different brands have different strengths/weaknesses - often deliberately and unavoidably so. You can't make a tyre that's The Best across all the desirable characteristics.

In addition, the process for measuring wet grip for this classification is not perfect: "the reproducibility of the test is not in line with the initial evaluations. In other words, when different set of testing conditions (within the allowed ranges) are adopted to test the same tyre, the same wet grid index might not be always granted." ETRTO 2019 Basically, reading the review, it's obvious that the tests are useful in broadly categorising tyres, but the overlap between each category boundary (C-B, B-A) is fairly broad.
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johnE wrote:
@skitow, Thank you. I was looking at the winter tyres and was terrified to see some graded E.


Yes well to be fair they might be what they call nordic tyres, great on ice and snow but don't work on water. Plenty of B's in winter tyres too and an A for a Bridgestone again.

https://www.tyreleader.co.uk/car-tyres-235-45-18/?s=W&orderby=prixD

Actually there is a Michelin with an F wet rating in there and that's described as a nordic tyre.
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Gordyjh wrote:
I have a 4wd. When it gets slippery my fuel consumption almost doubles as the 4wd automatically kicks in. On winter tyres it goes back to normal. Both sets of tyres last twice as long and it costs about £60 a year to change and store them. I think economic arguments are overblown and the security of having winter tyres more than makes up for them.


Wondering what vehicle would do that Very Happy

Taking a common ( VW Haldex) type 4x4 system as typical, all of the 4 wheel drive components still rotate during normal use, just decoupled with a hydraulic clutch immediately in front of the rear differential. All it does is take the surplus torque that the front wheels are unable to transmit to the road surface and distribute it to the other two. It just divides the applied torque into the four tyres to reduce chance of slip while the detection reports uneven wheel speeds at the front. It doesn't use any more energy to achieve that.

Interesting as to how you'd know the transfer is operating and also how you'd calculate fuel consumption for that.
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when it snows, my rwd bmw also uses significantly more fuel, because stability control magically turns off and car starts sliding in every other corner, doing donuts, reving 6000+ rpm Laughing


jokes aside, when it's cold cars uses more fuel. And if he's constantly spinning summer wheels on snow also makes the car less efficient covering distance.
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kosmoz wrote:
jokes aside, when it's cold cars uses more fuel. And if he's constantly spinning summer wheels on snow also makes the car less efficient covering distance.


Doesn't that illustrate the opposite of "his" statement though, if front wheels are spinning and 4 wheel drive "kicks in" then that would provide more traction and less rpm, so less consumption?

I took it that it meant 4x4 gives a fuel penalty from inefficiency, in other words, running in 2wheel drive it was economic and running in 4 wheel drive it uses twice as much fuel.
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@johnE, I thought the Michelin Crossclimate had an (A) rating. There are a number of winter tyre with a (B).
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ski3 wrote:
kosmoz wrote:
jokes aside, when it's cold cars uses more fuel. And if he's constantly spinning summer wheels on snow also makes the car less efficient covering distance.


Doesn't that illustrate the opposite of "his" statement though, if front wheels are spinning and 4 wheel drive "kicks in" then that would provide more traction and less rpm, so less consumption?

I took it that it meant 4x4 gives a fuel penalty from inefficiency, in other words, running in 2wheel drive it was economic and running in 4 wheel drive it uses twice as much fuel.


problem with higher fuel consumption is not because 4wd kicks in, it is why 4wd kicks in - wheels are slipping, and even when 4wd kicks in - they are still slipping considerably compared to winter tires on fwd. Driving slow on slippery summers is also not helping with fuel consumption, since you don't reach most efficient speeds to operate in, instead of 50-60 mph on top gear one is driving slower in lower gear.
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johnE wrote:
Quote:

Unless you are looking at an unusual size or something there are plenty of all season tyres with B rating for wet, even the odd A.

235/45/18 Y. Could you tell me which ones.

I count 20; https://www.mytyres.co.uk/cgi-bin/rshop.pl?dsco=110&cart_id=JLcETPe77pktxosX.110.399917991&Breite=235&Felge=18&kategorie=6&Quer=45&rsmFahrzeugart=ALL&sowigan=Wi&suchen=Search+for+tyres&sort_by=Lable_2nass&Ang_pro_Seite=
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@tarrantd, I see it does. I had assumed it was a normal all season tyre and not a winter tyre. I'll look into them. Thank you
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tarrantd wrote:
@johnE, I thought the Michelin Crossclimate had an (A) rating. There are a number of winter tyre with a (B).


It seems illustrative of the design as to how they perform in effectively "non slippery" conditions. The Crossclimate type, arrowhead driven into the surface to gain traction, and opposite to that it will retain snow under braking as the V orientation collects and traps surface debris, making a more effective retardation possible, is achieved with a more stable rubber compound. This would appear to make stability under more plain tarmac interaction more consistent in producing decent performance.

The differing choice of winter tire, going to softest rubber, many small cuts etc, all gets the rubber itself flexing to gain acceptable grip in a very contrasting way. This type of tire will suffer more on pure tarmac interface as the rubber deformation is much greater and will yeald more easily when subjected to very high loading, either longitudinal (braking) or lateral (cornering) so they have a significantly different way in going about their job.

Some types are going to be more suitable to your prevailing conditions as these two methods are differently delivered by competing manufacturer.

These qualities area going to present differences in the varios ratings used to categorise the tires, which is what you see in those letter ratings. It doesn't necessarily mean the tire is poor, more that it may have a bias toward or away from what you need / desire.
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@johnE, after looking at various reviews I've recently fitted my car with the fairly recently launched Continental AllSeason Contact tyres As regards the EU wet braking rating it's classed as 'B'.
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@kosmoz & ski3, I know 4/5 of f*ck all about cars so it is just my assumption about why the fuel consumption went up so dramatically. It was solved by getting winter tyres.
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@Gordyjh, my car's fule consumption goes up in the wet. I suppose caused by the need to pump x litres/hour of water off the road and onto pedestrians
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Natch I've gone and went and bought a car that can only use mahoosively expensive chains that front-fit. (2018 Volvo V60). Can anyone confirm that snow socks will be acceptable please? Ta,

CG
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People will debate on here whether socks are any cop or not for days and hours. The French recognise some socks as the equivalent to chains so depending upon which ones you buy they will be sufficient to meet the French regulations. Just make sure when you buy them that they say they are the equivalent ones and buy from somewhere reputable.
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Given all the above, and for the benefit of a drive-down virgin...

Who on the ground decides WHEN on a given day, chains must be fitted? You're leaving Moutiers in shall I shan't I conditions.(I understand there are snowchain signs- do they just mandate the carriage of chains; or are they 'uncovered' when the gendarmes want them fitted?)

Or do the cops stop you well down the hill and tell you to chain up?

CG
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Charliegolf wrote:
Given all the above, and for the benefit of a drive-down virgin...

Who on the ground decides WHEN on a given day, chains must be fitted? You're leaving Moutiers in shall I shan't I conditions.(I understand there are snowchain signs- do they just mandate the carriage of chains; or are they 'uncovered' when the gendarmes want them fitted?)

Or do the cops stop you well down the hill and tell you to chain up?

CG


Charlie, it is France, worse, it is the Savoie, it is all totally random there is no real central "brain" controlling things with a master plan. Where a snowmaggedon event is predicted the prefect may give some advice, may ask for some police overtime if there is the money, but in practise the police and gendarmes pretty much do what they want given their limited resources. There may be someone at the bottom of a hill telling you to chain up, or there may not. Signs are uncovered from 1 November to end of March, or not, as Pam has reported for the Savoie on a number of occasions. There may be electronic signs giving more up-to-date information, or not. The Blue B.26 sign means you need winter equipment on the road, if appropriate.

Really it is up to you to be a grown up and make your own call on things and fit chains before you get stuck in the middle of the road halfway up a hill. If you are driving up a 15km road to a ski resort and snow is settling pull over at the next parking and fit chains, it is only going to get worse later.
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Best thing to do is to fit them before you absolutely have to. By 'have to', I mean before you get stuck and block the road, or worse still have an accident. Better to be the person in a layby putting on chains/socks than the person that drives past then gets stuck 500 metres further on and adds hours to everyone else journey, or worse end up in a ditch with a damaged car.
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Put some winter tyres on the XC60, it will benefit you in the UK as well. Summer gone is the first time in many years I've put summer tyres back on my car , last winters had done 30K miles and seemed a bit silly putting new winters on in April. I shall be getting new winters on it late Nov when it's in for MOT. ( eclass estate) I do have chains also, but even the rear wheel drive thing has managed fine on winters in the alps, and it doesn't half help in The Peak where I live.
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Go ugly early. As soon as you tell yourself "I might need chains later". Just stop as soon as you can and do it.
Anywhere vaguely flat, off the main road and with lighting ( if dark ) should be fine. Do not drive and drive waiting to come across a chaining up zone, as often the snow comes down onto the plains and is challenging before you get to where the chaining zones start. The idea that no B26 sign means you're fine is misguided.
The downsides of having fitted your chains too early are that you have to go slowly for longer, and may even at some point find that as the road flattens, or you come to a point where it is ploughed, you have to stop for another 5 minutes to take them off again.
The downsides of not fitting your chains are far worse.
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@davidof, @wills_h, thanks for that. @endoman, defo going to get winters, that decision is already made. Cheers.

CG
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And on a practical note, research your car's traction settings for the right one to use on snow, before you go. My BMW Owner's Manual takes about 400 words to tell me to press a button with a car-with-wriggly-lines icon (WTF?) when going onto snow, and again when back on tarmac. My previous Audi manual was more succinct, but ambiguous. Messages displayed on the instrument panel and/or LED that should be on/off can often be confusing, too e.g. when 'TRACTION' comes up on my panel, does that mean I have extra traction? Or there's a problem with the traction? Or I need to press some other button marked traction? (turns out that when it comes up and I'm on snow, it's a Good Thing. But when it comes up on tarmac, it means the anti-oversteer limiter is disabled, which really isn't.)
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Charliegolf wrote:
@davidof, @wills_h, thanks for that. @endoman, defo going to get winters, that decision is already made. Cheers.

CG


Many of us use the latest generation certified all season tyres which are excellent and no need to worry and swapping tyres over (cost /storage). Also great in U.K. winter. I have a e-class estate with 4matic and I’ve had no issues. I carry chains just in case but never used.
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Ozboy wrote:
Charliegolf wrote:
@davidof, @wills_h, thanks for that. @endoman, defo going to get winters, that decision is already made. Cheers.

CG


Many of us use the latest generation certified all season tyres which are excellent and no need to worry and swapping tyres over (cost /storage). Also great in U.K. winter. I have a e-class estate with 4matic and I’ve had no issues. I carry chains just in case but never used.


I would go for all seasons rather than winters if I lived in the UK, and maybe where I am now too when the time comes.
In 20 years living and driving in the Alps I've never fitted chains once on any car with winter tires and I've only twice not been able to get up a road - basically road covered in a layer of ice and not the kind of thing you'd get into a ski resort. A guy with a quattro went across the ice but I wouldn't have wanted to drive down - my car just slid on the camber when I drove onto it and I had to beat a very hasty and slippy retreat.
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US owner's forums are replete with seasonal 'winters or all-seasons?' threads, as the all-season trend started earlier over there. No surprise that this is a divisive question, reinforced by confirmation bias. I've had summers in winter, winters year 'round, winters in winter and all-seasons year 'round. My conclusion is that in the UK, for all SUVs and non-performance cars, all-seasons should be the default fitting, ex-factory. Really, they're now that good I can't see why they're not the standard fitment, outside of performance cars.

Winters are better in a UK winter than all-seasons. But the issue is just how much better, and is this difference worth it? It's also complicated by the usual difference between brands that make generalisations tricky. If you have a performance car, the decision seems clear - get winter wheels and tyres even if you're confined to the UK. The differences are amplified in a higher-performance model. If you go to the Alps regularly, then get the right tyres for the potential conditions whatever type of vehicle you have, and you'll still enjoy the benefit of winters back home.

But I appreciate that for many there are problems of storage, convenience and cost/benefit. And their answer to the 'Is the difference worth it? is "No.". Which is fair enough. But if you can afford winters, use you car extensively in winter, go to the Alps, and are OK with the cost and inconvenience, then I think they're worth it.
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@kosmoz, @ski3, I also never noticed the increase in fuel consumption in a 2wd car.
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@Ozboy, given that we've strayed into talking about all season tyres are these https://www.justtyres.co.uk/t1110237/supervalue-275-30-r20-w
as good quality as the price suggests that will be?
My new car takes rather large tyres and trying to find all seasons for it is proving a bit difficult


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Mon 14-10-19 16:53; edited 1 time in total
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These are pretty much the only other option for all seasons I can find:
https://www.camskill.co.uk/m217b0s11768p0/All_Season_-_Four_Season_-_All_Weather_-_Car_MPV_Tyres_-_20_inch_R20_inch_-_275_30_20_275_30R20
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Dope question: what's the downside of winters all year round?
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wills_h wrote:
These are pretty much the only other option for all seasons I can find:
https://www.camskill.co.uk/m217b0s11768p0/All_Season_-_Four_Season_-_All_Weather_-_Car_MPV_Tyres_-_20_inch_R20_inch_-_275_30_20_275_30R20


Think you are quite limited with your tyre size. The Vredestein Quadrac Pro should do the job as they have been pioneers selling true ‘all seasons’ and these tyres carry the snowflake symbol. There will be other SH’s on here who have used them.
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Charliegolf wrote:
Dope question: what's the downside of winters all year round?


Not a stupid question at all. [I know, big groan from everyone who's heard this from me before] Main downsides are tread compound and tread pattern. Winters have compounds that make them more supple at lower (below 7°) temperatures. In summer heat, however, this means they wear excessively. The winter tread has lots of small grooves called sipes which make the tread squirm more and heat up quicker. But in summer, this degrades traction and they can get too hot (and thus wear even morer).

I used to keep winter tyres on our other car, which is just a small local run-around. It never goes far in the summer, so the downsides weren't that significant and outweighed the hassle of switching twice a year. But when it came to change, I opted to for all-seasons instead, which I think are a better compromise.


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Mon 14-10-19 16:49; edited 1 time in total
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Every day's a school day on SH! Thank you.

That answer suggests that there is a 'loss of winteryness' if I go for all-seasons then?
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@Charliegolf, @wills_h, This is a good video making the case for all seasons and explains the differences. There are also a few other good videos on winter va summer in this YouTube channel


http://youtube.com/v/pe-gkTCOs7E
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Here's a chart I did earlier [cue 'not laforet's chart again! from regulars]



Only meant to be a guideline and not exact. It tries to summarise the 'what's the best tyre for ..?' answer across the range from warm and dry (left) through cold and wet to slush and snow (right). Everyone's going to argue about where, exactly ,to place the 'edge' of each tyre type.

Note: I'd adjust the chart a bit for performance vehicles and say that for them, the all-seasons bar is much shorter. So summers are much better in summer (than all-seasons) and winters are much better in winter (than all-seasons). By 'performance' I mean something with, say, a power-to-weight ratio of more than around 175BHP/tonne (this is very rough).

*In many ways, the most challenging conditions for a UK owner on summer tyres is the tarmac/slush/snow/slush/tarmac cycle. Like in the video I posted earlier of us driving over the Jura. In that video, we'd already gone through some slush/snow then back to tarmac before the sequence shown. It got more solid snow a bit higher up then the other side of the pass, did a bit of alternating before getting back to continuous tarmac lower down. If you're on summers, what can you do? When we hit the first slushy snow there was nowhere to pull off. Chains would have been unusable for all but the summit section. Socks? Well, where would you fit them? There wasn't a lay-by for ages. Note I had to move over to let the snowplough pass and that put my right wheels well into deep piled snow at the side of the road. On summers, that would have been it, I'd have got stuck.


Last edited by Ski the Net with snowHeads on Mon 14-10-19 17:20; edited 1 time in total
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