How important are your tyres?

'Very' is the answer

38w ago

A few years ago I received an interesting phone call. I was using a borrowed office and drinking cheap coffee when a guy I hadn't heard from in ages called to ask if I wanted to go to Lapland to drive on ice. "It's not about cars, it's about tyres", he said. I knew nothing about tyres except that they're usually made of rubber but I like cold weather, and I'd never seen the Aurora Borealis, so I said yes.

I landed in the blistering cold, in the middle of nowhere, made my way to the bus that would take me to the hotel and noticed that the driver, he was Finnish, was doing a million miles an hour on icy roads. No wonder Finnish drivers are so successful. It's because they've been practicing literally all their lives without even realizing it. I still had to address the elephant in the room because physics is physics, and ice is ice, but the PR guy saw it coming, he was Finnish, and said "it's the tyres". I must've looked puzzled because he said it again. "It's the tyres. You can do anything as long as you're driving on the right tyres".

Twenty-four hours later, on a frozen lake, I was given the opportunity to drive five identical cars (FWD Golf) on five different sets of tyres - summer, all-season, Central European winter, Scandinavian winter and winter with studs - and the result was outstanding.

The Golf on summer tyres simply wouldn't move, the Golf on all-season tyres was struggling, the one on CE winter tyres was doing okay-ish, the one on Scandi winter tyres was doing great and the Golf on studded winter tyres felt like driving on wet tarmac. I'm not an off-road expert but I can tell you that when the going gets tough, it's better to be in the wrong car with the right tyres than in the the right car with the wrong tyres.

Nokian Tyres basically invented the winter tyre and after spending the last 80-odd years developing their winter tyres they're now taking all-season and summer tyres very seriously.

They call this the Seasonproof tyres and it's designed to meet the needs of Central European drivers, which means it can take anything from hot tarmac to slushy winter days. It's a big ask but hey, they're Finnish, they know what they're doing. Bwoah. The new tread pattern is designed to be versatile and offer low rolling resistance to ensure the tyre lasts longer than a few years.

They've also made a Seasonproof SUV version. SUVs are selling like hot cakes but the truth is the vast majority of CUV/SUV owners hardly ever take their vehicle off-road. The SUV tyre is made to favour durability over one-off performance.

The night before leaving, I drove to the nearest hill - it was probably around minus 30° and the road was covered with a thick layer of frozen snow - but I never got to see the Aurora Borealis. They say it's a relatively rare phenomenon. I'm not sure what they meant. Is it rare to see the Aurora Borealis in Lapland? Or is it rare that you go to Lapland and you're so unlucky you don't get to see it?

I was a bit disappointed at first but then I remembered I was in Finland, so I did what every good Finn would do. I went back to the hotel, had a thousand drinks and when the bartender asked about the Aurora Borealis, I said 'Bwoah'. And then I went to sleep.

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Comments (29)

  • Tires to me are the most important part of a vehicle along with brakes!

    I believe one should purchase the very best tires and brakes you can afford, your life is riding on it!

    Great article Alessandro!!!

      8 months ago
  • Without tyres,a car is standstill.It is like a man not having legs.BTW,nice article.....

      8 months ago
    • thank you! much appreciated. Yeah, having the wrong tyres on the right car is like running a marathon in running gear while wearing Brogues

        8 months ago
  • Tires How important they are, whell: they are important like condom when you go in night club to have some fun.

      8 months ago
  • I wish we had a Tyre Recycle System like in Germany were used Tyres get Reprofiled and are basically like brand new...One saves tonnes of raw Material which is good for the Enviroment,lots of Money which is good for Ones Wallet..Also Tyre Companies inflated the Price of New Tyres by

    280 to 350 % over the last 10 years yet the Cautschuck Collectors in the Jungle cannot even afford Cost and Logis on the Slave Wages Tyre Companies are willing to Pay.....

      8 months ago
    • tyres can be recycled endlessly. You can use them as quirky pieces of furniture or you can use them to make rubber straps for watches, for example

        8 months ago
  • You're saying that you wouldn't got drunk if you had seen the Aurora?

      8 months ago