Do I need to fit winter tyres to my car now it is getting colder?

Because of the UK's traditionally mild winters and temperatures often staying above freezing at peak daylight driving times, summer tyres have been considered the standard-fit solution for Britons for years.

Of all different tyre options available to motorists, these tyres have the stiffest and stickiest compounds and the shallowest tread patterns.

The harder rubber operates best between temperatures of 7 degrees and up to 40 degrees, which is why they've always been popular in the UK.

They offer excellent grip in the dry and wet at these warmer temperatures, meaning precise handling and stability when cornering and the shortest braking distances.

Thanks to their shallow tread patterns, summer tyres also have the lowest rolling resistance of any tyre option, which means your car's engine will have to do the least amount of work and should save you some costs when it comes to fuel bills. They'll also be the quietest, limiting road rumble that can sometimes be heard in the cabin.

And another benefit of summer tyres' harder compounds is that they are by far the most durable and will wear out much slower than winter and all-season equivalents.

They should last around 20,000 miles, though should always be replaced by the time they reach 10 years old.

Should I use summer tyres all year round? If you predominantly drive at times in the winter when the temperature is above 7 degrees, summer tyres should be suitable.

Winter tyres 

If you live in a part of the UK where winter temperatures rarely go over 7 degrees in the coldest months of the year - such as the Scottish Highlands - then summer tyres might not be the best option for you when it starts to turn colder. 

That means considering winter tyres instead.

They feature a distinctive and deeper tread pattern than summer equivalents with more numerous notches.

Winter tyres have large shoulder blocks and wider circumferential grooves that reduce the risk of aquaplaning by channelling water and slush away from the contact patch to improve grip. 

They are also made from a softer rubber compound that heats up quicker than that of summer tyres but also will not freeze and remains flexible when temperatures drop below zero.

They ultimately provide better grip than summer tyres when temperatures are below 7 degrees, but will be less grippy and wear out much quicker if a motorists is regularly driving when temperatures are above this and the tarmac is warmer. 

Therefore, it is important for drivers to use weather apps and thermostats in their vehicles to understand if the majority of their driving in winter months is undertaken when temperatures are below 7 degrees before purchasing a set.

Edmund King, AA president, said: ' Winter tyres make perfect sense in the UK if you live in a remote or more mountainous area of the country where more extreme weather conditions tend to last longer. 

'They work incredibly well to give you far better grip on snow or icy roads. 

'However, many regions only rarely experience the sort of weather conditions that would justify the extra cost and many drivers choose not to use the car when snow or ice are around.'

Motorists also need to consider the additional cost of switching between seasonal tyres each year, which - unless you have the facilities to swap them at home - can mount up. 

Alternatively, it's recommended to have winter tyres fitted to a spare set of wheels that can be stored somewhere at home and can then be transferred to your car and the summer tyres and wheels put into a garage. This will be the least time consuming option and - granted you can get an affordable set of second wheels - could work out cheaper in the long run.

For those who like to take a winter holiday in Europe, there are some countries on the continent where winter tyres are a legal requirement at specific times of the year or when the weather conditions dictate. Therefore, drivers should always check if they are mandatory in the country or countries they are driving through and to.

Should I consider buying winter tyres? If you are often driving at times in the winter months when the temperature doesn't rise above 7 degrees, winter tyres will perform better and be safer than using summer tyres.