As the cold months approach, it’s worth considering changing to a set of winter tyres for more grip. They’re not a legal requirement in the UK, but do provide more grip as temperatures approach zero - especially if you’re regularly driving a performance car. However, is it also worth changing to a narrower wheel and tyre combo?
Some theories suggest narrower tyre provides higher surface pressure against the road which is exactly what you want if you’re driving through snow and slush fairly regularly. By having that higher pressure, the idea is that you can push through to the grippy surface underneath a lot easier - it’s one reason rally cars use ultra-thin sets on snow stages.
That said, a narrower tyre also has a smaller footprint, and there’s a counterargument that having a wider set works by the brute force of having more rubber on the ground plus a wider tread pattern to hook in more snow.
Which theory is the most convincing? Well, Tyre Reviews’ latest answer has put both to the test. Lining up four sets of Hankooks in varying widths and on various rim sizes, host Johnathan Benson equips each set to a G20 BMW 3 Series, of course, rear-driven.
Working from smallest to largest, Benson’s tests are carried out on a large plane of snow and he starts out with a handling test on a fairly simple handling test. Following that is a braking and traction test across both snow and ice which he describes as “quite interesting” before drawing final conclusions on which approach is best.
We’ll leave it to the Tyre Reviews video to give you the final verdict, and it’s certainly worth a watch.