The 5 most common questions about winter tires – a guide for the driver

See that your neighbor has already put on winter tires and you are wondering if you should follow his example? Or maybe you have doubts whether your old tires can still cope with slush and black ice? Drivers all over Poland face similar dilemmas – our climate has proven many times over the years that even in large cities you can fall prey to falling mercury levels and unpredictable anomalies. Therefore, just before the upcoming season, we have prepared a short guide for you, in which you will learn when to install winter tires and how to choose the best model. Here are the 5 most common questions Polish drivers ask on the Internet.

When to buy new tires?

By law, you may run on tires with a tread depth of at least 1.6 mm. However, according to experts, the permissible tread depth should be at least 4 mm, and for summer tires – 3 mm. A shallower groove significantly worsens the car’s driving characteristics, i.e. increases susceptibility to skidding and lengthens the braking distance. Worn winter tires are not able to “bite” into the snow-covered surface, so driving out of a snowdrift or climbing hills in winter will be very difficult. In addition, the tires are not suitable for further use if the tread fragments have become detached from the body, you can see protruding wires, the surface has been deformed (e.g. bulged), worn or cut.

When to use winter tires?

This question comes up most often just before November 1. However, according to the manufacturers, every driver should put on winter tires when the mercury drops below 7 degrees Celsius. Drivers have a slightly different opinion on this – most postpone tire replacement until the first frost for fear of excessive abrasion of the soft tread. Then when is the right time? If your own safety and the safety of other road users is your priority, change your tires at the beginning of October – by the way, you will avoid long queues and seasonal hikes at the vulcanizer.

Which winter tires are better: narrower or wider?

Until recently, drivers were convinced that the narrowest possible tread (approved by the manufacturer) should be fitted before the winter season. Such a belief results from the fact that a narrow tire exerts more pressure on the ground than a wider one, and thus it “bites” into the snow better and thus enables it to overcome snowdrifts or drive on a snow-free road. Currently, experts are of the opinion that it is best to use winter tires of the same size as in the spring and summer period. Wider tires perform better when cornering and provide shorter braking distances on wet and dry roads. Taking into account the fact that winters in Poland are milder each year, and the road services are getting better prepared, changing the size of tires seems unnecessary.Then  when to use winter tires  with a narrower tread? Well, this solution works best for those drivers who use difficult routes on a daily basis and complain about the slowness of road workers.

What winter tires to buy – new or used?

When it comes to the safety of using older winter tires, specialists agree – it is better to buy new tires from a lower price range than used premium tires. The point is that the buyer is never sure about the real condition of the tires – even if the tread is flawless, the carcass may be in terrible condition. The problem is that “almost new” tires often come from accident cars, and thus their internal structure could be seriously damaged. Moreover, you can never be sure that the tires have not lost their quality due to unfavorable storage conditions.

Unfortunately, many drivers cannot afford to buy freshly produced winter tires. The question then arises when to use second-hand winter tires? Well, it’s best to buy them from a reliable source, such as in a trusted workshop or from a close friend. Secondly, you should carefully inspect each tire in the kit and check the production dates. It is assumed that winter tires should not be used for more than six seasons.

Where to buy winter tires?

Of course, you will find the cheapest tires in online stores. Currently, many sellers base their activities on the dropshipping model, in which the goods are sent to the customer directly from the warehouse, and the store acts as an intermediary in sales. As a result, the seller does not incur costs related to renting warehouse space, thanks to which he can offer customers lower prices than brick-and-mortar stores. On the other hand, if you intend to put on used [b] winter tires [/ b], then it is better to resign from online purchases – in this situation you cannot see the tires “live” and private sellers do not accept returns. There are also dishonest people who sell rotten tires with a worn tread, which are completely unsuitable for further use.