Monday 3 November 2014

Do you need winter tyres on your BMW?


Winter is almost here for most regions of the world so the question is: Do you need to put the winter tire on your BMW?...

Most people believe in the misnomer that winter tires are needed for snow and ice, however since they live in a part of the country where there is little precipitation and only cold temperatures, they would not  benefit form winter tyres. This is a fallacy, the chemistry of winter tires has been perfected to suit the unique driving environment of winter roads. When all-season or summer performance tires start to lose grip, hardening under cold temperatures -

Winter tires are just coming into their peak operating temperature range, soft and pliable, ready to grip the asphalt. The transition temperature

We could break the science of the winter tyres into two categories: Mechanical grip and Molecular adhesion.

Mechanical grip refers to the physical mating of the tread to the road surface. However the malleability of the rubber compound allows it to "interlock" with the undulations of the road surface (the rough rock/sand/tar or concrete surface). Therefore once again, temperature affects the malleability of the rubber compound, so pliable rubber compounds allow better traction. The trend pattern's ability to evacuate slush or water is also  essential to mating the tread to the road surface. Therefore adding another facet to the tread pattern, winter tires contain thousands of tire "slipes" that act as separate biting edges in the snow. These slipes also add flexibility to the tread surface, which in turn, adds more grip on ice and snow. One interesting technology in particular has negated any need for studded tires (winter tires with small metal spikes screwed into the surface); this technology gains traction at a microscopic level using millions of "bite particles" to spike into the ice or snow.

A matter of money...

While most motorists sliding out of control will tell you that winter tires are too expensive for them to justify, I believe in a simple truth that completely contradicts this claim. Winter tires are cheaper than insurance hikes and bodywork. And you can’t put a price on your safety. Most quality winter tires will offer a tread-life of three to four years before replacement is necessary, so divide the purchase cost over three to four years when you budget for them. Since you never drive your winter tyres through the summer you can effectively cut down on their wear and this allows you to enjoy both winter traction, and an entertaining, fun-filled summer with a set a performance summer tires.
A common absurdity is the notion that somehow a really talented driver can drive through snow without winter tires. Well yes, it’s true – I have even driven a shopping cart through snow. This does not reflect on driver talent, but rather shows a lack of understanding. It is even possible to drive through snow with summer performance tires, but this simply displays a wonton lack of respect for the physics at play, your personal safety and a gross disregard for others on the road.

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