How to prepare winter tyres for the winter season?

  • Author: OPONEO.CO.UK

Winter tyres, properly selected and checked before the winter season, can significantly improve your driving safety. Are you wondering whether the tyres you own are still in good condition? Check if you need a new set and stay safe.

CChecking the condition of your winter tyres before the season starts is a must. Only properly selected winter tyres can guarantee the optimum level of road safety. Their condition is best checked before the start of the winter season, so they can be replaced or repaired in time, if need be. When winter starts, everyone will start queuing at the garages, so it may take longer to find and mount the right model. It’s better to avoid it.

Before the winter season, it may turn out that your winter tires are damaged.

When winter comes, it may turn out that your winter tyres are damaged.

Winter tyres – checking their condition

The easiest way to check if our winter tyres are still good is to examine them carefully. Careful inspection will only take a few minutes and it will allow you to fully assess the condition of your tyres.

How to examine your winter tyres quickly and effectively? Here are our tips:

  • Clean the tyre from sand, dust and pebbles stuck in-between the tyre treads; you can also wash the tyres. Use products that will not damage the tyre. Some detergents may accelerate the aging process of the rubber; therefore it is best to use dedicated cleaning agents.

  • Inspect visually the condition of the tyre and check the tread depth in several places. Winter tyres may wear unevenly, so check them in several places.

  • If you find bulges, cuts or ripped blocks, then go to a professional service centre to check the problem. Damaged or rotten tyres can be particularly dangerous in winter.

How deep is the tread in a new winter tyre?

The tread depth in new winter tyres differs depending on the model, but most often it is between 8 and 10 mm. So when is it best to replace your old winter tyres? Experts suggest buying a new set of tyres when the tread depth is around 4-4.5 mm, and 2 mm – for summer tyres. In most European countries, the minimum permissible tread depth is 1.6 mm.

The tyre tread is critical to ensuring driving safety in winter. Unfortunately, tyres get worn out in everyday use. The tread should be checked regularly, because good condition of the tyre tread is the best guarantee of the tyre’s wet grip capacity and effective prevention of aquaplaning.


The tread depth of the new tire measures approximately 8-10 mm.

The tread depth of a new tyre is approximately 8-10 mm.

How much tread for winter tyres?

The right tread depth is particularly important for winter tyres which work in much more extreme conditions than summer tyres. As the tread wears down, winter tyres lose their properties, which impedes driving safety. Taking into account the latest tests, the optimum operational limit of tyre tread is 4.5 mm. Winter tyres with less tread lose their traction and can be dangerous in difficult conditions.

To check the tread depth, you can use a caliper, ballpoint pen, pencil or matches. The easiest way to do it is to insert a match into your tyre’s tread groove and mark the tread depth on the match with a pen, then measure the distance marked on the match with a ruler.

DIY: Tread check.

DIY: Tread check.

Measuring the tread depth using a match, ballpoint pen and vernier caliper.

Measuring the tread depth using a match, ballpoint pen and a caliper.

How many years do winter tires last?

The tread depth is not the only aspect that should be taken into account when checking tyres. Rotten or damaged tyres also need replacing. In particular, cheap winter tyres from unverified manufacturers tend to have less durability. Not all cheap winter tyres are of low quality, but it is worth to think carefully before purchase and it is best to choose reputable winter tyre brands.

Another important aspect is the age of the tyre. Models more than three years old may no longer be manufactured. If you damage such a tyre, it may be difficult to find an identical model on the market. Then you will need to replace two tyres, not one.

Old winter tyres increase the risk of an accident while driving. Rubber materials tend to undergo an aging process: it is assumed that the maximum service life for tyres is 5 years.

After this period, the tyre no longer provides optimal grip, even if the tyre tread is deep enough. To ensure your safety while driving, it is also important to have the right pressure in your winter tyres. If they are still in good condition, the pressure in the wheels should remain within normal values for a long time.

What pressure in winter tyres?

Do you find it hard to choose the optimum tyre pressure for your car? Read our article to find out what pressure is right for your winter tyres and learn about the current standards for seasonal tyres.

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