I fitted all-terrain tyres to my Honda CR-V for use in snow, with excellent results.

I live in a remote Cornish village with many bends and steep slopes, and following a year or so of icy driving conditions in which my two wheel drive Honda Civic was frequently unable to negotiate our sloping drive, let alone the route out to our nearest town, in August 2010 I decided to trade it in for a three year old Honda CR-V EX with automatic four-wheel-drive. At the worst period of this new “ice age” in December last year, with our local un-gritted rural roads covered in sheet ice, I thought that I would now have good traction and safe control of the car. Not so.

Attempting to drive to our local town for some essential groceries and collect the mail several weeks before Christmas (our local postman was unable to get in or out of the village for 10 days), and despite deft working of brakes and steering, I found the car beginning to slide alarmingly down the first hill, totally out of control on the ice. After managing to steer into some granite walls and thus avoid a line of parked cars outside some cottages just ahead with likely more serious damage, I decided that was enough and tried to return home. Only with the assistance of some locals who came out with sand, shovels, old blankets and much pushing, was I able to turn round and get back home. My original Dunlop 225/60s on the 18 wheels proved about as useless as a chocolate teapot on this 4WD.

A few days later I was able to drive cautiously into town to enquire about winter tyres at my local tyre depot. The proprietor informed me that unfortunately the UK was virtually out of stock at that time and he was then taking orders for next year (2011). However, he said an ideal alternative solution would be to purchase a set of smaller Fox 16-inch alloy wheels, onto which he could then fit larger Goodrich all-terrain tyres. Expensive though this was at £740, I decided to go ahead.

You may be interested to know that this remedy worked wonders, and following further periods of snow and glazed ice, my car remained fully controllable, and stuck to the road like glue, though the scrapes and dents to the paintwork and bumpers took me some weeks to repair later on. It is quite extraordinary what performance the right tyres will achieve in harsh winter conditions. The tyre depot has agreed to swap the wheels over twice a year, without charge, a most generous service in my opinion.

Asked on 14 January 2012 by BB, Liskeard

Answered by Honest John
That's right. Last September to November I saw far greater interest in winter tyres than there has been in the past.
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