What are the main criteria that should be taken into account when choosing winter tires?
Four palm-sized squares are all that keep the car on the road. These are the four tire contact points. The more effective these grip points are, the safer it will be to drive the car. This applies to all seasons, especially autumn, winter and spring.
Jānis Vanks, director of the Safe Driving School, states: "It is important to switch to tires appropriate for this period in time, as well as to use the best tires possible. Each of us has our own opportunities, wishes and needs, so of course there is no one specific recommendation by which criteria to choose winter tires. But the main thing to take into account is that the more effective these grip points are, the safer you will drive. Therefore, ask tire experts for recommendations, balance your financial possibilities and choose the most suitable solution for your case. Driving a car is a responsible process, preparing the equipment is part of the process. We are responsible!"
An expert from Riepas.com, the official representative of Safe Driving School cooperation partner Kumho Tires in Latvia, comments: "When choosing winter tires, your driving habits should be taken as a basis. First of all, the need must be defined and only then it is possible to find a solution that will really work for you. Tires are clearly not a product that can be bought "on the fly" or according to the principle - the more expensive, the better. Remember that the tires are what provide your car's point of contact with the ground, so regardless of the make, model or type of car, traction with the road starts and ends with the tires. Once the driving habits have been clarified, it is possible to receive recommendations from tire experts on the most suitable model."
"Tires and their manufacturers are divided into Premium, Medium and Budget segment tires. Most tires in the Premium segment will not perform much differently from the Mid-range, but most often there will be some small additional extras, for example, these tires may be quieter, with better fuel economy, with a special design for its tread and sidewall. Mid-segment tires will also be safe and you can trust their performance. You should be more careful in cases where your wallet forces you to choose the Budget class, because among these manufacturers there are mostly Chinese factories, where you can come across both high-quality and safe products, as well as very low-quality and untested imitations of popular brands. When choosing a Budget segment, you must definitely consult with specialists, basing your choice on real-life facts and real reviews."
The expert draws attention to the most popular driving habits and tire selection combinations characteristic of Latvia: "Big city - a typical resident of Riga or another big city moves by car from early morning to late evening, driving on asphalted and cleaned, sprinkled streets. If you really rarely drive outside the city, you can consider choosing all-season or European winter tires. However, such a choice would not be recommended for drivers with less experience or those who do not feel comfortable with driving, because the roads in the city tend to be slippery and heavy snow or sleet can suddenly surprise you. In order to spend the winter with confidence and a sense of security, regardless of the weather, we recommend choosing soft winter tires."
"Inhabitants of suburbs and small towns often have to measure longer distances on the highway and often drive off cleaned asphalt onto minor gravel roads. In such cases, it would not be wise to use all-season tires, which will not be able to provide the necessary traction in deeper snow, and will also be very dangerous when dealing with icing on the highways.”
"Inhabitants of rural areas may face a situation in their everyday life when the roads are completely unwashed. In this case, you should choose winter tires with a more aggressive tread, which will provide enough traction to drive through deep snow. Such tires usually provide the best cornering grip as well as shorter braking distances on packed snow. In this case, the depth of the tire tread will also be an important factor, and it would be advisable to install new winter tires more often."
"You should also not forget about small everyday road nuances, for example, the driveway near the house - If it is a steep slope, there is a possibility of encountering a major disappointment when it is impossible to drive up this slope in winter, because the tires do not provide enough traction. Or don't underestimate small and remote city streets, which in the early morning may not have street sprinklers at the top of the route and may have to navigate on pure ice.”
"If you plan to travel often by car, you should make sure that it is allowed to travel with studs in the countries you are going to. Studs are not allowed in all European Union countries."
"In case you don't want to take on the choice of tires, feel free to contact the experts at Riepas.com, who will help you make the best decision for your needs."
It is mandatory to have winter tires between December 1st and March 1st. But for safety, it is recommended to replace winter tires sooner when the average daily temperature drops below +7°C.
The minimum tread depth of passenger car winter tires must be at least 4mm and attention must also be paid to the age of the tires. It is recommended not to use tires that are older than five years, because the tread wears out while driving, and the rubber of the tires loses its properties over time.
Have a safe journey!