A few simple hints for extending the service life of studded tyres

As the autumn weather gets colder, it is time to inspect the condition of the studded tyres that have spent the summer lying in the shed. Regular inspections and taking the right actions now could have a great impact on your safety on the roads, and other motorists’ safety, and they may extend the studded tyres’ service life by many winters.

The studded tyres should be compared with each other and inspected for any significant differences between the front and rear, before you commence the change of tyres. The tyres on the driveshaft always wear more than the free-rolling tyres do, since they transmit the driving torque from the engine to the road. Because of the air resistance, the rolling resistance, acceleration of the car, and driving on hills, the driving tyres slip a little on each revolution, so their tread is under heavier load and wear than that of the free-rolling tyres. In contrast, the studs usually wear evenly between driving and free-rolling tyres. This is why the protruding part of the hard metal tip of each stud may become significantly larger in driving tyres and smaller in free-rolling tyres in relation to the tread. When the protruding part of the hard metal tip grows too large, there is increased risk of the studs detaching. A car-owner can easily increase the driving distance of the tyres and improve safety by moving tyres between the driving and free-rolling shaft at regular intervals.

Driving style, among other things, has a great impact on the service life and wear of studded tyres as well as on when it is time to discard the tyres that have served faithfully for so many winters. You can drive to Lapland and back a few times without an inspection, but you should have a look at the tyres and the protrusion length of the hard metal tips, changing their places as necessary at 5,000‑kilometre intervals. This way, the tyres wear more evenly and the car-owner saves money.

This time of year brings with it the winter holiday season, which can include long family journeys to spend the holidays with relatives or engage in other activities. A drive to Lapland, for example, in these conditions involves a heavier load than normal, as the whole family and luggage too are packed into the car. This is a good reason to check the tyre pressure. In addition to changing the places of the tyres, using the correct tyre pressure is a good way to increase the distance those tyres will take you. The contact surface of a low-pressure tyre on the road is larger, and the rolling slip is greater than with a tyre that is inflated to the right pressure, which increases wear. In cold weather, tyre pressures decrease, typically by about 0.1 bar per 10 degrees centigrade, and they should be checked and, as necessary, increased at one-month intervals at service station. A good rule of thumb for winter is to inflate the tyres for winter to 0.2 bar more than the reading produced in inspection at indoor temperatures. Unfortunately, tyre-pressure meters at service stations often undergo heavy use and can give faulty readings. It may be wise to purchase a tyre-pressure meter of one’s own.

Studded tyres are an expensive investment. One can increase the useful life of this investment by avoiding sudden acceleration and braking, as well as high speeds. However, the fact is that many people drive at the highest allowed speed on motorways when on long journeys home from work, so that they can reach the sofa as quickly as possible after a busy work day. With a heavy load and high air resistance, the engine must work harder, which directly influences the wear of the tyres. The goal of the development staff of Nokian Tyres is to create the best possible solutions, producing a safe and durable winter tyre. The tyres that keep earning top marks in tests have been created by the world’s best product-development team, who use modern design tools, the latest laboratory technology, and many kinds of vehicle equipment on test tracks around the world – not least the Nokian Tyres winter-test centre in the wilderness of Lapland.

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