Winter tyre grip/handling

Discussion in 'Motoring' started by Jules Winfield, Nov 14, 2016.

  1. Jules Winfield

    Jules Winfield
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    I run winter tyres on my car each year, having done so since the car was new in 2010. The winter tyres (bought new in December 2010) have entered their sixth spell on the car and still have a decent amount of tread left (around 4mm). They are Continental TS830Ps.

    I swapped over the weekend before last, but due to illness have only driven the car a few times since then. I am finding it a very different kettle of fish compared to when it was on its summer set. The steering is very light at all speeds and the car seems a bit wayward. It had a bit of a wobble this morning (damp) and did a sideways slide around a corner on black ice last week (never happened before).

    The car runs a different configuration in winter compared to summer:

    * Summer - 225/45 R17 on 7Jx17 wheels.
    * Winter - 205/55 R16 on 6Jx17 wheels.

    These are the manufacturer (VW) recommended sizes for both seasons; both sets of wheels are genuine OEM ones.

    I do not remember the car being so different when on winter tyres in previous years. Is the different handling I'm experiencing likely to be because of the different width of wheel and tyre, or is it time to buy a new set of tyres? I'd prefer not to do the latter, as the car is being replaced in March.
     
  2. AMc

    AMc
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    FWIW I had a moment or two last week. Picked up the car from its MOT and drove off down an unfamiliar country lane - damp leaves and cold tyres gave me a bit of a scare when a Range Rover came around a blind bend in the middle of the road!
    I stopped and checked the fronts and all appeared normal - just not what I've been used to over the warmer months.

    I assume you've checked the pressures are set correctly?
    What's the ambient temperature - is it still a bit warm for winter tyres?
     
  3. redaprilia

    redaprilia
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    Sounds like the 2010 rubber is going hard , 4mm is getting low for winter tyres but obviously still legal and better than summer tyres .
     
  4. noiseboy72

    noiseboy72
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    Take 5 psi out of the tyres and see if that helps.

    Normal tyres will probably still give better grip until it gets a bit colder and icier., but it depends what you are running.
     
  5. Epicurus

    Epicurus
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    4mm is getting towards the end for winters but still ok. Pressure is the first thing you should check, age could well be a factor though. Tyres do have a limited lifespan beyond tread wear and at 6 years you are probably close to it if not there already as the rubber will degrade over time. To be honest you should be bloody pleased to get 6 years out of them and buy a new set. If your car still slides about you need to stop drinking!

    Edit: Having just noticed you're changing the car you might be better off putting the summers back on and being careful until you sell it.
     
  6. Jules Winfield

    Jules Winfield
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    Thanks for all the replies. I did think about putting the summer set back on, but I don't want to risk damaging them. The salesman for my new car noticed that they were in near-perfect condition and repeated this to the used car guy when getting a P/X valuation, and also mentioned that there was plenty of tread left.

    I checked the pressures last week: they were low (1.8 bar all around), so I increased to 2.4 bar, which is the figure on the inside of the fuel cap. This hasn't made any noticeable difference.

    I have ordered a set of Goodyear Ultragrip 9s from Blackcircles. Total price including fitting is £300, which isn't too bad.
     
  7. un1eash

    un1eash
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    For 4 months I would of stuck the summers back on, increasing tyre pressure would make things worse if anything.
     
  8. AMc

    AMc
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    FWIW I would check the manufacturer of the tyres for their pressure recommendation - I'd be surprised if the number in the filler cap was for winters in the UK but as I've never needed to run them I'm no expert.
     
  9. DOBLY

    DOBLY
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    I would guess that the rubber compound in the winter tyres has gone off. How were they stored this summer? If they got direct sunlight and abnormal heat this may have finished them off.
    All* tyres will slip on black ice - it's basic physics - especially if the tyres are old / worn / not up to operating temperature.
    Those Contis are great winter tyres - the TS830P has now been superceded by the TS850(P)

    * except those with spikes
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2016
  10. Matt_C

    Matt_C
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    I put my winter tyres back on on Thursday. Didn't run them last year as it was very mild, but noticed the temperature has dropped a fair bit recently and also we've had a lot of rain - leading to a bit of a bum-clenching aquaplane moment on the M11 a couple weeks ago at half 4 in the morning! The Audi that went past me in the middle lane at about 75 (I was doing a touch under 70 myself, in lane 1) crossed all three lanes, twice, sideways before getting it back in a straight line. He was lucky not to hit anyone else or a barrier. I hit the same standing water at probably 65 and went from lane 1 to lane 2 a bit skittish. My winter tyres are Uniroyal's and handle standing water like it's barely there, so with the rain we've had it's good to have them back on. Both my sets of wheels are the same size (7x17) but tyres are different sizes : summer tyres (Hankook V12's) are 215/45 and the Uniroyal winter tyres are 205/50. If anything, I prefer the ride on the winters, seems softer and smoother, but still grippy and controlled, and the Hankooks are a little harder, but corner faster (especially in the high temp summer heat).

    I've had mine about 4 years now, in between uses they're stored in an outside "cupboard", out of sunlight and dry, but standing up leaning against each other - no room for a tyre rack unfortunately. They're usually pretty much empty by the time I get them out (as in, 5psi or so in them) but they don't sit "flat", because there's no weight on them, so the side walls aren't compromised. Minimum 5mm tread left, more like 6 I'd say.
     

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