Here is a summary of the comments I’ve had sent in
(note – we’re not talking studded tyres, just the ones with the rubber that stays softer in cold weather, and has a better tread pattern for snow and ice)
Reasons in favour
– they could save your life!
– they are great in snow, and pretty good though not a magic solution to ice
– the cost of the tyres is almost zero since you are not wearing out your other tyres
– they perform worse in warmer weather – which we do get a lot of in this country even in winter
– the hassle of storing them in the summer and swapping them over. Either you have to have the tyres changed over, or you need a set of five extra wheels, probably steel ones, and get them changed. Some garages store them for you, if you have a friendly local one. Changing five wheels yourself at home would indeed be a total hassle, and even transporting them to the garage would be quite a pain.
– insurance may be invalidated by anything non-standard, including winter tyres (in Germany they are the law, but int he UK they are still regarded as not normal)
– they still won’t protect you from other drivers sliding into you while you are stopped (I have had this!) and from getting trapped in traffic that is stopped
– after three years when you change your car you are stuck with five wheels which may not fit your next car
– will the steel rims look awful? If one has a lovely A5, for example, this may be a factor. Or will the steel rims look kind of cool in a rough tough winter sort of a way? But remember the winter tyres and wheels might be narrower than your normal low profiilers, so they will bite into the snow better but will look thin.
– if the winter turns out to be mild you’ll be really irritated that you went through all the hassle!
Hmm, overall I’m thinking it’s not worth it….