Is there anything better than working a season in the beautiful Australian snowfields (or even just driving up for an extended holiday?)
Whether you’re heading to Falls Creek, Mount Buller or Mount Hotham in Victoria, or if you’re hitting up Perisher and Thredbo in New South Wales – our snowfields down here in the Southern Hemisphere are worthy rivals of our friends in the north.
When driving in snowy and slippery conditions, having winter tyres fitted is absolutely vital for the safety of yourself, your passengers and your car. At below seven degrees celsius and in wet conditions, the gripping ability of your tyres dramatically decreases, meaning it’s harder to brake and you’re more likely to slip and slide.
Winter tyres (or snow tyres as they’re sometimes called) should be fitted during the cold seasons to protect yourself, your passengers and your car from being involved in nasty accidents. In fact, they’re as necessary as beanies and umbrellas!
If you’re working a season in a snowy region or are heading to the snowfields for an extended holiday, Mobile Tyre Shop can conveniently come to you to fit your winter tyres, as well as store your summer tyres for you!
How do winter tyres work?
Roads become naturally wet and icy in winter time, and unfortunately these are conditions that standard road tyres just aren’t effectively equipped to deal with. Regular tyres are manufactured to operate at certain temperatures for optimum performance, with the temperature affecting the stiffness of the rubber and giving it the flexibility needed to maintain friction between the rubber surface and the road.
Winter tyres (or snow tyres) are made up of a softer rubber compound than standard tyres, by using rubber that is more ‘natural’. This enables the rubber to stay malleable and flexible in cold temperatures (below seven degrees centigrade) rather than becoming rigid, ensuring it can keep excellent contact with the road and create vital friction. Winter tyres also work by decreasing braking distances in cold, slippery and wet conditions, as they have increased grip strength compared to standard all year round tyres.
How else do winter tyres work? Well, they have many, many more grooves and crevices than regular tyres. When there’s water or snow on the ground, regular tyres have a tough time getting water away from the tyre contact areas, which can lead to tyre friction quickly decreasing and leaving you likely to have an accident. Snow clogs the grooves and crevices on regular tyres quickly, meaning your tyres effectively become smooth-textured (and extremely dangerous).
The extra grooves and crevices in snow tyres are called ‘sipes’, and are much more efficient at driving away large amounts of water and snow as you drive than regular tyres are. The sipes channel fluid away from the contact surface of the tyre by utilising the centripetal force caused by the spinning of the wheel. Sipes also offer extra grip strength by functioning as tyre ‘teeth’, gripping onto tricky surfaces like a road covered with compacted snow much more easily than regular tyres.
How are winter tyres different?
Snow tyres are different to regular tyres in a number of ways, designed to keep your car and the people inside it safe in wet, icy, snowy winter conditions.
The main difference between snow tyres and regular tyres is the depth of the tread (otherwise known as the ‘sipes’, as we’ve mentioned previously). On a winter tyre, tread starts between 8 and 9mm, whether the tread on a regular tyre will start between 7 and 8mm.
The grooves on the snow tyre are also wider and deeper than regular tyres, forming a larger channel for snow and water to move through, enabling the car to have a firmer grip on the road.
As we’ve also mentioned before, the rubber that’s used to make snow tyres if different to the rubber used to make regular tyres. Snow tyres contain a larger percentage of natural rubber and silica within their compound than regular tyres, which prevents them from becoming rigid and essentially ‘frozen’ on the road in cold weather, improving the tyre’s grip.
Reasons why you should fit winter tyres
There are many reasons why it’s important to have a set of winter tyres instead of summer tyres if you’re heading to a cold and snowy region of Australia.
- Snow tyres provide optimal handling in conditions colder than seven degrees centigrade
- They offer the best grip possible in snowy and wet conditions
- On cold roads they improve your braking ability, therefore improving your safety – a car travelling at 50km/h will take 62 metres to stop on snow using summer tyres, 42 metres using all-season tyres, but just 31 metres when fitted with winter tyres
- Due to the more natural material they’re made of, they remain flexible in snowy conditions and won’t get dangerously rigid
- If you live in a colder area where snow and ice are common occurrences, you’ll be less likely to get stranded when leaving home
- Also, if you’re heading to a hilly or mountainous area, the extra grip strength of snow tyres will make it easier for you to navigate inclines and declines
Unfortunately, winter tyres are designed to only be used in cold conditions, as the rubber compounds only work well at low temperatures. If you use winter tyres in a warmer season like spring or summer, they won’t work optimally as the rubber will become too soft and will heat up due to the friction with the tarmac. The sidewalls will begin to lose rigidity, meaning your car’s handling will ultimately suffer (which can be dangerous within itself).
Where to store your tyres
As well as coming to you to fit and balance your snow tyres at Mobile Tyre Shop, we’ll store your summer tyres for you for free! No more tyres taking up precious garage space at your home – we’ll store your summer tyres for free through the winter season while you’re up in the mountains having the time of your life with friends and family. We’ll also store your winter tyres for you during the summer, so we’ve got you covered the whole year round!
Keeping your car safe with winter tyres
When it comes down to it, the most important element for safety in your car isn’t the transmission, power, weight, clearance or braking – it’s your tyres! Make sure you have winter tyres fitted to your car when heading to the snow to ensure you avoid any trouble or nasty accidents, and always drive appropriately according to the conditions.
So, if you’re heading to Victoria or New South Wales to work a snow season, or you’re just heading to the mountains for an extended holiday, be sure to contact the team at Mobile Tyre Shop. We can come to your home or work to fit and balance your snow tyres for just $165, as well as providing FREE summer tyre storage for you! We’ll also store your winter tyres for you in summer for no extra cost, meaning you never have to worry about tyre storage again.