Getting ready to meet winter challenges? Snow, icy roads, slush, and total unpredictability… Getting through the winter unscathed is really worth some upgrades, and you are looking for some real tyres. You must have heard that winter tyres can be studded and studless, and now you wonder what would work best in your situation. Let’s find out the differences between the two and help you stop on your perfect set of tyres.
Studded tyres: pros and cons
Studs are tiny strong pieces of metal embedded into the tread. Their task is to claw hold of ice or packed snow and provide a reliable traction this way. So pros are obvious and so desired. However, studded tyres have some frustrating cons as well. Firstly, metal parts are able to damage pavement, and for this reason, studded tyres are illegal in most European countries. Only countries complying with the white road standards (when roads aren’t cleaned of snow entirely) allow using studded tyres, but only for a limited period of time and on a limited territory. Such countries are Austria, Italy, Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Switzerland. But if you are travelling, keep in mind that access to some cities in these countries is prohibited for cars on studded tyres. Due to a mild climate, countries like the UK comply with the black road standards (roads get cleaned of snow completely). So the use of winter tyres with studs isn’t justified and is considered illegal.
Another trade-off is that studded tyres are very noisy.
Studless tyres: pros and cons
Winter tyres with studs have been the classics for winter in many countries for a long time, but now the demand for them decreases because due to advancements in tyre technologies, studless tyres boast the same effectiveness with less inconvenience. Modern studless tyres utilise advanced rubber compound and a well thought-out tread pattern that are able to provide the grip similar to that of studded tyres and sometimes even better. Their main advantage over other types of seasonal tyres is a unique compound that remains soft and grippy at near- and below-freezing temperatures. The superior flexibility is achieved thanks to numerous tiny sipes that enable the outer layer of the tread to ‘move’ during the ride (working like biting edges) and maintain a stable traction on any terrain be it snow, ice or roads covered with slush. In comparison with summer and all-season tyres, winter rubber has deeper grooves that allow to effectively disperse water/snow/slush from under the tyre. When grooves get packed with snow, it works even better for the snow-on-snow grip. Snow sticks to snow providing a reliable traction.