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How To Slow Down Winter Tyre Wear

You should pay attention to tyre wear, since uneven wear will adversely affect safety and may cause unnecessary extra costs. Nokian Tyres determined the difference in the wear rate between the front and rear tyres.

Field tests conducted by Nokian Tyres show that driving tyres may wear down up to four times faster in the winter than free-rolling tyres. Therefore, you should rotate your tyres between the axles, even mid-season.

“There is a major difference in wear between the front and rear axles, which means you should rotate your tyres. Major differences in grip between the front and rear will negatively affect driving safety. Rotating tyres can also save money, as you can use the same set for longer,” says Matti Morri, Technical Customer Service Manager for Nokian Tyres.

Tests conducted by Nokian Tyres showed that, when driving with winter tyres, the front tyres on a front-wheel drive vehicle can wear down up to four times faster than the rear tyres. On summer tyres, the wear rate of the front tyres can be about double compared to the rear.

Drive calmly and proactively

Careful and proactive driving will reduce tyre wear. You should avoid heavy braking, acceleration, and sharp steering inputs.

“This is not a marginal issue. Aggressive driving and high-powered vehicles subject tyres to more stress than usual, which may cause uneven wear on winter tyres,” Matti Morri says.

Using the correct tyre pressure for the load will reduce tyre wear, lower rolling resistance, and improve driving stability. Pressure will drop in the cold, so you should inflate your winter tyres 0.2 bar (20 kPa) higher than the manufacturer’s recommendation. The tyre pressure recommendation is available in the vehicle’s manual, for example. You should adjust your tyre pressure when the tyres are cold, that is, before setting off on a long drive.

When fitting winter tyres, you should check the amount of tread remaining on the main grooves. Nokian Tyres´ winter tyres have a Driving Safety Indicator to assist the drivers: when the snowflake symbol on the tyre tread has worn out, it is time to go shopping for winter tyres.

You should also check the tyre’s manufacturing date, marked on the side of the tyre. The sequence of four numbers tells you the age of the tyre: the first two digits give you the week of manufacture, while the last two indicate the year. You should only use a single set for a maximum of six winters.

Older vehicles need good tyres

The effects of tyre wear can be seen in acceleration, braking, and lateral grip.

“Modern cars have stability control systems to assist the driver, but not even they can overturn the laws of physics. The system can only help you when the tyres can provide grip,” says Martin Dražík, an expert and Product Manager for Central Europe in Nokian Tyres.

Many drivers think that almost any tyre is good enough for an old car or the family’s second vehicle. The rationale might be that buying expensive tyres for a cheap car does not make sense, or that the second vehicle is only rarely used. From a safety perspective, the opposite is true.

When a car lacks modern state-of-the-art technology, good tyres may be even more important than on a new vehicle. The family’s second or third car may be used by the least experienced driver in the family. A good tyre is an essential part of driving safety.

“All-season tyres are often used for a second family car. They are an ideal choice when used in areas with a milder climate. This year, Nokian Tyres launched a new line of premium all-season tyres – the Nokian Seasonproof and Nokian Seasonproof SUV. These new tyres are developed to meet the needs of Central European drivers and designed to be flexible and adaptable to both winter and summer weather conditions,” Dražík notes.

Premium tyres are a sensible choice, as their product development focuses on keeping the tyre as safe as possible, even as it wears down.

Tips for slowing down tyre wear

  • Rotate your tyres from front to back and back to front every now and then. This should be done every 10,000 kilometers at the latest.
  • Avoid heavy braking or acceleration and sharp steering.
  • Ensure that your tyres have the correct inflation pressure. Add 0.2 bar on top of the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation in the winter. Always measure the inflation pressure when the tyres are cold.
  • Do not store your tyres outside in the sunshine; use a tyre hotel or another location that is dark and temperature-controlled.
  • Having your tyres fitted by a specialist will allow them to give you insight into their condition.