Sporty car maker SEAT may be synonymous with its sunny Spanish homeland but here in the UK, as another potentially tough winter approaches, the Brand is supporting TyreSafe’s campaign to highlight the major safety benefits of winter tyres.
October is Tyre Safety Month and SEAT is backing the not-for-profit TyreSafe’s campaign to make drivers aware of the significant benefits of fitting winter tyres to their vehicle.
After a number of hard winters in the UK in recent years, with temperatures plummeting and roads grinding to a halt as motorists struggled to cope with the ice and snow, the case for using winter tyres here is clear.
SEAT’s network of more than 120 dealers nationwide is launching an extensive campaign to highlight both the benefits of these specialist tyres, and the ease with which they can be swapped for summer tyres.
Manufacturers explain that winter tyres really come into their own when the air temperature drops below seven degrees Celsius – not just when there’s ice and snow lying on the road surface.
No matter what you drive, temperature is crucial to tyre performance. When the thermometer drops below 7°C the tread compound in standard tyres begins to harden and gives progressively less grip.
Winter tyres are made with a higher natural rubber content that keeps them softer and more flexible in cold weather conditions. They also have a different tread pattern which maintains their highly effective contact with the road for greater traction.
A squarer shoulder profile with defined shoulder-blocks helps winter tyres pull through tough conditions like ice and snow. The addition of sipes gives winter tyres extra ‘edges’ to grip, too, even on the most slippery surfaces.
Finally, the special tread pattern is particularly effective on snow, ice and slush. Snow sticks to itself better than rubber – narrow channels between the blocks trap snow in the tread, where it can ‘stick’ to the snow on the road to aid grip.
SEAT is supporting the campaign with a brief demonstration video in which near-identical SEAT Ibizas – one equipped with summer tyres and the other sporting winter rubber – are driven on an ice rink. It’s available to view at: www.seat.co.uk/content/uk/brand/en/service/accessories/winter-tyres.html
When carrying out an emergency stop at just 15 mph the car with summer tyres took four metres longer to stop – almost a full vehicle length.
Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe, said: ‘For any driver concerned about their safety on the road during the winter, our advice is simple: winter weather tyres are the safest option.
He added: ‘Take a look at the SEAT demonstration movie and then you can make an informed choice about whether to fit them or not, but I’m sure most will agree that the results are very convincing – and the potential outcome is frightening.’
Nigel Griggs, Head of Aftersales at SEAT UK explained: ‘The value of winter tyres really cannot be overestimated.
‘Research from one tyre manufacturer1 suggests drivers may be as much as six times more likely to have an accident in the winter than the summer, so waiting for the first snowfall before making the switch could be a major false economy.
‘The time to act is now, and SEAT dealers are fully prepared to help owners choose not only exactly the right winter tyre for their vehicle but also to handle the fitting process and even suggest transport options for their summer tyres.’
SEAT dealers can also offer handy winter accessories such as SEAT-approved spare bulb and fuse kits, windscreen washer concentrate, de-icer and incident safety kits.
For full details of SEAT’s winter accessories and services pop into your nearest SEAT dealership or, for more information on winter tyres, visit www.tyresafe.org/wintertyres/