As you might know, there are winter and summer tyres. The lack of awareness of this fact in the UK is quite surprising. Winter tyres behave better than summer tyres when the temperature is below 7 degrees centigrade - the difference can be seen on slush, ice, frost and even wet roads. That is because summer tyres harden at lower temperatures and they lose their characteristics, such as grip on the road and ability to stop. It is caused by the rubber compound - winter tyres are made of softer compound, so they don't harden when the temperature is bellow 7 degrees centigrade, therefore they are more flexible. It works both ways - in summer, winter tyres wear out more quickly, so it's probably a good idea to change tyres twice a year. One can argue that this is very expensive - well, it isn't, simply because two sets of tyres wear out two times slower than one set of tyres. The only extra cost you have is for changing tyres. And if you have two sets of wheels, you can change it at home.
As I said, winter tyres provide much more grip in cold conditions, even for Volvo S80 . Breaking from 30 mph on snow can také extra 26 feet, which is the length of two vehicles. The difference is even bigger when breaking on ice - when breaking from approximately 20 mph, the car with summer tyres stops 36 feet after the one with winter tyres. From a different angle of view, you can safe a lot of money on repair costs with winter tyres simply by not crashing your car in winter on summer tyres. In UK, you should switch to winter tyres in October and switch back in April. If you are reluctant to change tyres, we recommend using all season tyres.
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As we stated, we are not fans of using summer tyres in winter conditions. But when it comes to choosing summer tyres for Volvo S80 , you should choose very wisely. That's why we provide you ADAC tyre tests, which are in our opinion the best tyre tests in Europe. They cover a wide range of critieria, including wet handling, dry handling, noise, fuel saving etc. As we said earlier, summer tyres are made of harder compound and they work best when the temperature is higher than 7 degrees centigrade.
A common argument against winter tyres is four-wheel drive (4x4) - lot of people think that AWD cars don't need winter tyres. Well, they do - on snow, without winter tyres, even 4x4 can't help you not to get stuck.