It all depends on the individual and what you actually use your car for, there isn’t a simple yes or no answer.
To put it simply, if you’ll be driving a lot over the colder months and need to travel on wheels out of necessity and can’t use public transport or other means of getting from A-B, then winter tyres will be a good investment. A decent set of winter tyres will cost upwards of €300, this is a cost many of us could do without but the key word is investment. If you spend the money now, you could avoid spending much more through repair costs or insurance premiums if you lose control and end up with even the most minor repair or respray. Not forgetting to mention your safety and health. You can plan to buy tyres, you can’t really plan for what could happen without them.
I’ve actually had this blog post saved as a draft since last year. I decided to give the tyres a proper test and then publish it when the time came around again to be considering the purchase.
My personal experience is that even though in Ireland, we may not get the extremes of Nordic countries, the tyres themselves make a huge difference. I regularly do runs which cover the length and breadth of the country taking me on a full circle of Ireland in 2 days. When faced with road conditions like we’ve had in recent winters, although the roads themselves may not be so bad, the combination of the weather, with the inexperience of Irish drivers in such conditions, with not having adequate tyres can only lead to delays and this was certainly the case in the last 2 years with huge traffic jams throughout the country. I was able to make much better progress feeling safe in the knowledge my winters would allow me to use the snow covered, untreated overtaking lanes and even overtake safely and efficiently on clear stretches of single lane traffic and I believe I shaved at least a couple of hours off my journey. I could also feel the difference on the untreated roads and was able to get to destinations my wheels were preventing me from reaching the previous times without the winters.
This is a video taken with a dash-cam on one of the vans. The first half was taken just before getting a new set of All-Season tyres fitted, the tyres on the van at the time were summer tyres that were near the end of their life anyway and the difference between the two can be seen best in the stopping distance and control at the start and end of the video:
Bearing in mind the new tyres were all seasons as opposed to winters, winters would even out perform the all seasons and you’d see an even bigger difference.
So why did I get all seasons on this van? I knew this van wouldn’t be getting the same use over winter as the one I fitted winters too and it also wouldn’t be getting much use over the summer so there was no real reason to have either winter or summer tyres fitted and opted for All Seasons instead. I believe this is definitely the best choice for a vehicle with similar usage, the all seasons did a great job on the snow and ice and handle well in the wetter conditions too and because of their compound, they won’t wear out quickly in summer months like the winters would.
So in conclusion, it really just comes down to the mileage you’ll be doing over the year and the winter in particular.
Currently have a set of Summer tyres fitted and predict high mileage and necessary journeys over winter and summer? Get Winter Tyres!
Currently have a set of Summer tyres fitted and predict necessary journeys and average use spread over the entire year? Get All seasons!
Currently have a set of Summer tyres fitted and predict average mileage over the winter and journeys you can do without? Leave the car at home!
Currently have All Seasons fitted and predict high mileage and necessary journeys over the winter and summer? I think this depends on the type of journey you need to take, will you be in a rush, travelling on untreated roads etc, then it’s probably best to get a set of winter tyres and keep the all seasons for the warmer months!
If your current tyres need replacing soon anyway then it will be a simpler choice, high mileage over summer and winter, get winter, average use, just go with all seasons.
Points to note:
We don’t generally have summer’s hot enough that will wear a set of winters or all seasons as much as they would wear in hotter countries so in a lot of cases, all seasons would do the job fine. Any type of high mileage and journeys planned that will take you off the main roads then a set of winter tyres would definitely be a wise investment!
If you think you’ll have the same vehicle as you do now for the next few years, then it’s definitely a wise move to get a set of winters. Having a set of each is the optimum choice and rather than wearing down your current set and buying a similar set and wearing them down and then buying another set, it would make a lot more sense to get a set of each as they will last longer in their specific seasons, create a safer driving experience and if you’re changing back and forth as the weather demands, you’ll be encourage to rotate the front to back where you might neglect to do so otherwise. Rotation is advised to prolong the life of tyres with the tyres with the most thread depth going at the back for better handling.
Winter tyres should be used in temperatures 7 degrees Celsius and below, once the temperature picks up again in Spring, it’s time to put the summer tyres back on and keep the winter tyres in suitable storage.
Last month after helping a customer relocate to London, my “Ethic Ranger” friend and some times helper, decided to make the most of the empty van space back to Dublin and in the interest of promoting the use of electric cars in Ireland, put his mind at winning an auction on Ebay for a G-Wiz Reva electric car, his bid was the winner so off he went to the UK in a regular Long Wheel Base, High Roof Transit 350, with two ramps which I usually use for Piano transport and straps in tow.
The same night he won the auction, the car was already posted for sale on some popular Irish classified sites and he had a buyer lined up before he even disembarked back in Dublin. It was probably the best value in its class available in Ireland, after all, this wasn’t a venture for profit, but more for the good of the Earth! To give you an idea, this is the same guy who’s currently on day 15 of a 21 (at least) water fast, that means he’s had nothing for the past 15 days but water! He’s also eaten 70 bananas in one day before and can do a very respectable amount of chin-ups, only using the middle finger of each hand. He can also easily win in a 3 on 1 basketball game with a banana in one hand while dribbling the ball in the other, amongst other things from this Lithuanian farmers son!
The buyer kindly recorded the unloading upon delivery and we got footage of the loading process too. It was a bit low on battery so needed a bit of a push to get up the ramps 🙂
A funny looking car and turns a few heads when driving around, makes people smile and in terms of economy and depending on your usage of course, could be a wise choice of transport for some. Here’s some info pulled from the original advert if any of you are interested in getting your hands on one!
Tax cost 31Eur/year
No need NCT ;
Reva G-WIZ 2006 Automatic Electric Vehicle ( AEV )
it’s quadricycle ( L7E ) category vehicle ;
CO2 emission 7.2g/km (if Airtricity is provider) ;
Distance central lock w keypad ;
You can Turn on heating from distance with same keypad ;
4seats (2adults + 2kids till 12years);
Black-Grey Leather seats (95% it’s not a real leather, so suits for Vegans);
Weight 665kg (395kg car and 270kg batteries )
Load capacity including passangers is 270kg also ;
Length: 2640mm (Smart For Two is 2500mm), Width 1320mm
In UK, they are very popular, in London some places exempt from parking, exempt from taxes and can be charged for free;
This is best selling electric car in the world so far;
REVA has a safety record second to none, with over 80 million miles driven by customers globally and over 4,000 years of ownership with one reported serious injury (As on January 2011) ;
Cost 1.85Eur of electricity/100 km to drive
(or cheaper at home… Depending on your electricity rate it can be as cheap as 1p a mile to run. At todays petrol prices thats the equivalent of nearly 600mpg, yes you did read that right! ) ;
If you driving an average 1000 miles/month with ~6.5L/100km, it can save you 130Eur/month ; So it pays out very quickly.
Also imagine 110Litre (22pcs of 5L canisters) in your room, that’s amount of petrol will be burnt EVERY MONTH.
Crazy on what we voting our money!
Plus another 20-40Eur/month saving for cheaper Taxes, No NCT needed and cheaper insurance
( All REVA’s are Group 1, the lowest price insurance group. Ask me for advice, where to insure, i called 15 companies in May’2011 ) ;
So easy 150Eur/month saving.
Need 8 hours charging to full ;
Since the REVA does not have an engine, clutch or gears, or a carburator, radiator, exhaust etc, the maintenance cost is low. Estimates show that the maintenance costs of REVA are 40 % lower than that of a small car over a 3-year ownership period.
Speed is up to 67km/h (did myself…manufacturer says up to 70) ;
This can be charged from any normal 13Amp mains socket, charge lead included (standard industrial socket plug in to the car).
It never needs petrol, just a little distilled water to top the batteries up now and again, it is great just driving straight past petrol stations ;
This is as close to free motoring as you can get, its cheaper than the bus or train and definitely cheaper than any car or motorbike ;
For more information: http://www.goingreen.co.uk/
Also Ireland planning to install 3500 charging stations by December 2011