Winter Tyres vs Snow Chains
Winter Tyres vs Snow Chains
05/02/2015

Winter inevitably means temperature drops and dangerous driving conditions; it's that time of the year when we need to choose the best and safest solution for our vehicle. Assocatene (Association of Italian manufacturers of vehicles mobility chains) and TÜV Italy have carried out comparative tests between snow chains and winter tyres, showing which solution is the best in different weather conditions.

Comporative tests have been performed on Audi A3 Sportback (front-wheel drive) under the following conditions:

  • Braking on icy road starting from a speed of 30 Km/h (with ABS);
  • Braking on snow-covered road starting from a speed of 30 Km/h (with ABS);
  • Traction with first start (with 3.7 tonnes of load on the vehicle);
  • Start at the bottom of a hill with maximum slope;
  • Braking on a wet road surface, starting from a speed of 80 Km/h with the outside temperature between 17 and 21°.

The following table summarizes the results.
Premium winter tyres Economy winter tyres All Season Summer tyres
Braking on ice 25,3 m 27,8 m 26,8 m 33 m
Braking on snow-covered road 12,4 m 13,5 m 14,5 m 16,3 m
12mm Snow Chains 9mm Snow Chains
Braking on ice 15,7 m 16,7 m
Braking on snow-covered road 14,7 m 15 m
Premium winter tyres All Season Summer tyres Snow chains
Traction 394,5 kg 358,3 kg 194,9 kg 536,8 kg
Start at bottom of a hill
with maximum slope
9,80%     21,40%
Braking on a wet road 30,2 m 30,74 m 26,26 m  

What is, then, the best choice?

Results have shown that the winner cannot be established, as a lot still depends on weather conditions and driving style, to choose which system to use.

Snow chains are the most efficient and reliable solution on icy roads or/and uphill roads, but putting them on your vehicle is not the most simple task, as well as their removing when road conditions are not ideal.

As widely discussed in other articles on our web site, if the choice falls on winter tyres, they should be correctly chosen according to weather conditions. It is dangerous to use summer tyres in winter, as well as winter tyres in summer. All-Season tyres are a compromise, do not require replacement when season changes during the year, and can help save money. But you should expect a bigger wear-out rate (and therefore more frequent purchases of this type of tyres), higher fuel consumption and less safety.

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