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Rent all weather or snow tyres on route to alps ?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Might drive to italian alps this season from uk.
Wondered if there is anywhere on route to italy where i could rent all weather or snow tyres. Any suggestions ?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
My local independent tyre retailer near Heathrow does a winter tyre rental service, at 10p per mile (per set, not per tyre).
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Firstly, make sure that the wheels on your car can actually take chains. Because you'll still need to carry these anyway, winter tyres or not. A lot of SUVs and performance models have wheels which won't take conventional chains, because there's not enough space left for them to rotate without fouling the suspension/steering/brake pipes. Take a look in your Owners Manual and check against what is actually on the car. If you're uncertain, ask your garage.

Second, check that there are winter tyres in a size that fits your car. Again, for some SUVs and performance models, there are none available.

If you can fit winter tyres to your wheels and can fit chains to them, then I'd ask why not just get winter tyres anyway? The snow thing is icing on the cake, so to speak, as the compound chemistry and tread design is good for a cold, wet British winter in any case. Winter tyres are going to be less prone to aquaplaning and that's a nice thing to have in a typical British winter, too. Since your summer tyres will be off the car, in effect, it doesn't cost you any more than the price of the swap every spring and autumn. (I appreciate that if you lease your car and change every 3-4 years, then having a 5-6 year lifetime to the two sets isn't so useful).

If your setup can't take chains -

option#1: get new wheels - usually they will be less diameter and narrower. See what your Owners Manual or garage says. Then fit the winter tyres to these. Obviously, you'll have to store the unused set. On the upside, you're not mounting and unmounting your winter/summer tyres twice a year, which can cause tyre/wheel damage.

option#2: there are front-fitting (front of the main driven wheels, not front wheels) chains which will fit wheels that would otherwise be too wide. Such as the Spike Spider Alpines. They are expensive at £300+ but most are more adjustable than cheap conventional chains and will fit a wider range of sizes if you change your car. This means you can use existing wheels.

Another option is to replace your current tyres with all-seasons that are winter-biased (with the 3 Peaks and Snowflake designation). A lot of SUV owners are doing this as the all-seasons (such as the Michelin CrossClimate) are 80% as good* in summer as standard summers and 80% as good in winter as 'proper' winters. But for performance model owners, all-seasons fall much further short of being as good as summers in summer (i.e. why buy a performance model and then fit inferior-handling tyres?). [*this is just a rough measure - if your SUV isn't a performance model then you may not even notice the difference.]


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Wed 20-10-21 15:42; edited 3 times in total
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
FWIW it's not only "performance" models that have problems fitting chains.
I had an ordinary Peugeot 306 with the standard alloy wheels and there wasn't enough room between the tyre and the suspension strut for me to fit chains. Fortunately the Nokian snow tyres that were fitted worked even better when REVERSING up the hill.
If not being able to fit chains had been a major problem I'd have bought some slim wheel spacers from a performance shop which would have increased the gap sufficiently.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I've never heard of anyone doing this but I see from Rob's link there is at least one provider in the UK. If I google winter tyre rental it mostly comes up with car rentals. It would be interesting to know if anyone knows of this concept/providers on the continent.

At 10p a mile if I did this from home to La Plagne it would cost me £220 to rent by my calculations. I guess as a one off it may be justifiable but perhaps makes more sense to put the money towards a second set of wheels/tyres for your car.
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Or just buy snowsocks for £50-70 which are a perfectly legal alternative and don't foul the back of the wheel.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Take a look on eBay for rims for your car. Depending on the model, and assuming it's not some 800BHP fire breathing monster, you can often pick up a set of alloys for between £100 and £300. Doesn't matter if they're curbed or scabby - they're for winter use so are going to get dirty anyway.

Look in your owners manual, and look at the tyre sizes that are approved for your car. You might find that whilst your car has 17,18 or 19 inch rims from the factory, that 16 inch rims were an option on some of the poverty spec trim levels. If these rims fit your car (they might not if the brakes are bigger on 'sports' models) then the tyres to go on 16 inch rims will almost certainly be cheaper than 19 inch rubber bands.

I've just bought a set of 7Jx16 rims for my car for £250. Goodyear 205/55/R16's winter tyres are about £80 each fitted. So £570 all in for a winter setup. £50 more for a set of snow chains and you're as bullet proof as can reasonably be expected. Plus you can often junk the useless spacesaver spare/tyre goo and take one of your 'summer' tyres as a spare for the trip (better if they're non rotational).

Store the wheels properly from March to December, and you should easily get 3 or 4 trips out of them. And when you're worried the racing slicks are marginal for an MOT....
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
buy a set of chains or rent a car locally.
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
I got a brand new set of alloys, and relatively new set of Winter tyres off ebay last November for£226. Its worth looking into that. I changed them over in anticipation that I would be able to travel over, of course in the end we never. But Ill be swapping them over again in a couple of weeks, and driving over for xmas. So will get the benefit of them at least once this year. (unless we are again stopped!!)
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
I am in this pickle having bought tyres for my contract hire car via my friendly tyre man who fitted them for £20. Fine. Then no travel, then car returned. So, a one trip wonder. Bought (ostensibly) the exact same car, but now has bigger wheels. Sold the old tyres and hope to get 3 seasons out of the next ones.

Quick add up says at least £550 for rental tyres or £350 for new. I'll get the new.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Remember also that winter tyres lose a lot of their snow traction benefit below 4mm. If I was hiring, I'd want at least 5mm on them to make the cost and effort worth it. You'll still get a benefit in terms of being better in lower temperatures and more resistant to aquaplaning, but below 4mm, you might be surprised when they turn out to be a bit disappointing in snow. And the snow performance is sort of why you're doing the whole exercise.
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