Fleet News

Cold weather tyres battle to grip fleets

Fleets remain to be convinced that fitting cold weather tyres is a worthwhile investment, according to a Fleet News poll.

More than three-quarters of respondents (78%) said they were not considering cold weather tyres, while over one-in-five (22%) said they were.

However, ATS Euromaster told Fleet News it was experiencing strong demand from fleets for the cold weather option.

“We’ve invested in £3 million worth of cold weather tyres for the UK market this year and our centres are actively fitting them for a number of major operators in the run-up to winter,” said Peter Fairlie, group sales director.

“Home delivery and blue light fleets are amongst the early adopters, plus we’re experiencing significant interest from smaller businesses and the retail market too - particularly in regions which have been heavily affected by bad winter weather in recent years.”

There is no shortage of providers either, with Kwik Fit, BMW and Mercedes-Benz amongst those offering a similar service, while the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) is recommending their use in the wake of a Government report, which recommends industry needs to be better prepared for the winter months.

“Many European drivers routinely switch to winter tyres in the cooler and wetter months and in some countries it’s a legal requirement,” said RoadSafe director Adrian Walsh. “Given the recent harsh winters here and the forecast for this year, it is wise for UK drivers to swap their tyres now.”

The tyres can be used all year round, but their performance is notably better when temperatures fall below 7C.

In these conditions ‘standard’ tyres begin to harden and lose their ability to grip the road surface properly. Cold weather tyres contain more natural rubber and advanced silica compounds to reduce the hardening process and improve grip.

Tests conducted by the British Tyre Manufacturers Association found that a car braking at 60mph on a wet road at 5C stopped five metres shorter, equivalent to more than one car length, when fitted with cold weather tyres.

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