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Which tyres for Scottish Highlands?


GSmk3
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Hi everyone,

 

I'm driving to Scottish Highlands this December. Incidentally, the tyres need replacing as well, so I'm looking at budget to medium range tyres with this trip in mind. From what I have read, winter tyres are not really necessary. Would I benefit from all season tyres (they are quite a bit more expensive), and which budget - medium brand do you recommend? The car is 15 years old, and I'm only driving 5k a year, so not looking to invest heavily. 

Many thanks.

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On 11/25/2021 at 12:36 AM, GSmk3 said:

 

Hi everyone,

 

I'm driving to Scottish Highlands this December. Incidentally, the tyres need replacing as well, so I'm looking at budget to medium range tyres with this trip in mind. From what I have read, winter tyres are not really necessary. Would I benefit from all season tyres (they are quite a bit more expensive), and which budget - medium brand do you recommend? The car is 15 years old, and I'm only driving 5k a year, so not looking to invest heavily. 

Many thanks.

My take (I'm not knowledgeable, just spent a good number of hours mulling it over): 

- It's not worth going for 'value' tyres, you save probably 100 quid in total for what will define the way the car drives, including your confidence in the car, ride quality, noise, mileage etc. You're spending a grand on fuel a year at 5k, plus insurance, servicing etc. 

- Go for all season. Summers can hold up in the dry even when cold, but once there is moisture in the mix (water, black ice, snow), they drop off. For winters, not even Scotland is cold enough, and summers in the UK are mild with only a few hot summer days every year, so all season compounds work out well.

- The only reason I'm likely keeping summer OE Yokohamas, is because if I'll drive to Southern Europe time to time, and in scorching temperatures I rather have summer compounds on for wear when driving a couple of thousand miles on melting tarmac.

- Looking through many tyre tests, Michelin CrossClimate 2, Pirelli Cinturato SF2, Continental AllSeasonContact, and Goodyear Vector 4Seasons are all excellent. I'm going for the Pirellis for noise/mileage, and what I expect to be somewhat better characteristics in Alpine conditions than the all-round best all-season Michelins. At Lexus Hedge end, I've got a quote for 384, fully fitted, incl. VAT. 

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13 hours ago, DBIZO said:

not even Scotland is cold enough

you sure about this .... TV weather lady today saying there's plenty of snow in parts of Scotland ...  how cold is NOT cold enough I'm wondering :unsure:

Malc 

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8 minutes ago, Malc said:

you sure about this .... TV weather lady today saying there's plenty of snow in parts of Scotland ...  how cold is NOT cold enough I'm wondering :unsure:

Malc 

It's cold for you, I see. But your skin is not a rubber compound I suspect.

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When you say Scottish Highlands, how far North are we talking?

In my experience the roads up proper North (the touristy ones at least) are often in far better nick than those around the Central Belt. That aside, just factor in it being a few degress colder the majority of the time. Particularly snowed under roads which are busy, are likely to either be cleared or temporarily shut for clearing.

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On 11/26/2021 at 2:33 PM, EP80 said:

When you say Scottish Highlands, how far North are we talking?

In my experience the roads up proper North (the touristy ones at least) are often in far better nick than those around the Central Belt. That aside, just factor in it being a few degress colder the majority of the time. Particularly snowed under roads which are busy, are likely to either be cleared or temporarily shut for clearing.

 

So I'm going as far north as Skye, but most of the time will be in the West Highlands around Fort William. I'm slightly worried because my car is RWD. How difficult it is to drive at night through the area?

 

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On 11/26/2021 at 1:00 AM, DBIZO said:

My take (I'm not knowledgeable, just spent a good number of hours mulling it over): 

- It's not worth going for 'value' tyres, you save probably 100 quid in total for what will define the way car drives, including your confidence in the car, ride quality, noise, mileage etc. You're spending a grand on fuel a year at 5k, plus insurance, servicing etc. 

- Go for all season. Summers can hold up in the dry even when cold, but once there is moisture in the mix (water, black ice, snow), they drop off. For winters, not even Scotland is cold enough, and summers in the UK are mild with only a few hot summer days every year, so all season compounds work out well.

- The only reason I'm likely keeping summer OE Yokohamas, is because if I'll drive to Southern Europe time to time, and in scorching temperatures I rather have summer compounds on for wear when driving a couple of thousand miles on melting tarmac.

- Looking through many tyre tests, Michelin CrossClimate 2, Pirelli Cinturato SF2, Continental AllSeasonContact, and Goodyear Vector 4Seasons are all excellent. I'm going for the Pirellis for noise/mileage, and what I expect to be somewhat better characteristics in Alpine conditions than the all-round best all-season Michelins. At Lexus Hedge end, I've got a quote for 384, fully fitted, incl. VAT. 

 

All solid advice. I will go for a premium brand, even though I'm not sure the car will see them out. I have found some Vredestein Quatrac Pro that is slightly cheaper and also highly rated. 

 

 

 

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In that case from my experience, I wouldn't worry about the road condition at all. You will get motorway/dual carriageway consistently until Tarbet, with patches in various places after that. Being at night, I wouldn't have said it's much more difficult than driving around rural parts of Cumbria or Yorkshire, however if there is heavy snow forecast I would strongly suggest checking if the A82 after Tyndrum is open or not. I have seen the snow gate just north of Tyndrum shut a couple of times, the view around Glencoe shouldn't be missed if possible.

Unless you plan to go off the well beaten track, the only place you are likely to come across single track roads will be on Skye. From memory Skye itself has normal single carriageway (contraflow 1 lane per side) around most of the Island, it's just the more remote parts that go down to single track. There is a lovely twisty bit by the Quiraing viewpoint which I would definitely check out. 

Enjoy

 

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Or snow chains, but often then hindered by others on the road without them. Been on ski holidays when our chalet was above the snow line and the supermarket below so became pretty slick at fitting them. On a ski trip to Lake Tahoe state troopers stopped all two wheel drive cars without chains but allowed our 4WD Blazer through on winter tyres. Used to be part of the excitement arriving at the huge roadside area designated for snow chain installation to find hundreds of cars there with help for hire, and snow chain sales.

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