Not sold in great quantities in the UK until now, winter tyres provide numerous safety and peace-of-mind benefits compared with standard-fit tyres which work optimally in warmer temperatures. Thanks to the specific cold-weather tyre compound and tread pattern, the adhesion on dangerous, wet, snowy and icy surfaces is maximised.
Summer tyres, which are fitted as standard on all passenger vehicles in the UK, including the full Ford range, have a harder tread compound, engineered to ensure grip in normal seasonal temperatures. The molecules in the tread rubber freeze and harden as temperatures fall, thereby raising the risk of aquaplaning and increasing braking distance.
Latest construction techniques and high-tech materials mean that winter tyres perform superbly in all conditions - even warm, dry weather - but excel when temperatures fall. These cold weather tyres use a higher proportion of natural rubber in the tread, minimising the hardening effect at low temperatures and giving improved traction performance in temperatures below 7 deg C.
Paul Muers, marketing manager for Ford Customer Service Division, said: “The snowy and icy conditions we're experiencing right now and the severity of last winter really bring the benefits of these tyres into sharp focus. Until recently, British drivers haven’t had the option of cold weather tyres – something which is the norm in other European countries. With Pirelli, we’re changing that and giving drivers the chance to fit cold weather tyres – and we’re so confident of the benefits, we will refund them half the cost if the winter stays warm!”
Ford and Pirelli reckon that there will be more than 30 days where the average daily temperature will be less than 7 deg C, between 1st January and 28th February (59 days). Any customer buying four Pirelli cold weather tyres, between 1st October and 31st December 2010, will be able to register their details and receive a 50 per cent refund on their purchase price if the weather proves warmer.