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Old 03.01.2017, 09:41
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Winter tyres

I need advice please EF'ers

I've had our 4WD in other EU countries extensively over the last couple of months. Subsequently its still on summer tyres.

We finally drove back home to Switzerland last night, and wound up colliding with a tree on the mountain. The nice farm lads came and towed us the balance of the way home with their tractor and luckily no one was seriously hurt.

We're berating ourselves enough for attempting a snowy mountain road with summer tyres, so I don't need more jabs on that please EF'ers. Believe me, we've given ourselves enough criticism on this matter.

What I would hugely appreciate advice on is this: Is the TCS likely to change out our summer for winter tyres on site at the house? My Deutsch isn't up to reading through the T&C's.

There is no way the vehicle will get back down the mountain to a tyre shop, or a garage, or a carrosserie on its current tyres in the continuing road conditions. We don't really have any flat areas (and certainly not snow free at the moment) to attempt changing the summer to winter tyres here at the house ourselves. Without an air compressor I'm not sure we'll be able to loosen the wheel nuts anyway. I suspect that no tilt tray or tow truck is likely to come up the mountain right now. The vehicle otherwise operates perfectly fine, however due to panel damage it isn't an option to leave the vehicle in its current state out in the open until the roads finally clear again.

Thanks in advance for advice regarding the TCS or other helpful suggestions.

Last edited by smileygreebins; 03.01.2017 at 09:52.
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Old 03.01.2017, 09:49
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Re: Winter tyres

I doubt that TCS would do it as it is regular maintenance. Why not call a local garage? I assume that if they have the equipment and you pay for their driving time, they'll be happy to do it.
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Old 03.01.2017, 09:58
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Re: Winter tyres

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Thanks in advance for advice regarding the TCS or other helpful suggestions.
You're going to have the collision damage fixed anyways, right? Does your insurance cover the cost of towing the car to the carrosserie shop? Give the carrosserie a call, they will probably come and pick the car up for about what it would cost to buy a set of chains to get it to them.
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Old 03.01.2017, 10:04
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Re: Winter tyres

Chains?
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Old 03.01.2017, 10:07
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Re: Winter tyres

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You're going to have the collision damage fixed anyways, right? Does your insurance cover the cost of towing the car to the carrosserie shop? Give the carrosserie a call, they will probably come and pick the car up for about what it would cost to buy a set of chains to get it to them.
I wasn't even going to go down the insurance route - I didn't think we'd be covered for our foolishness and even though we're on a private road, I'm spooked at the thought that Mr Plods will come and yell (and charge) my OH for driving on summer tyres at this time of year (despite the fact that we re-entered the country from warmer climes on a Swiss public holiday).

I'll take a calming cup of tea, and check out the carrosserie pick up option though. Of course their vehicles should be equipped for all conditions here.... (duh - we're both struggling to think straight this morning)!
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Old 03.01.2017, 10:10
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Re: Winter tyres

you shouldn't need air tools to get the nuts off, just an extending wheel bolt remover, a few CHF from any diy store here, even coop home and hobby have them, can't remember the last time I couldn't get a wheel nut off, probably my wreckers in my student days.
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Old 03.01.2017, 10:26
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Re: Winter tyres

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Old 03.01.2017, 10:36
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Re: Winter tyres

If you have the tires on a spare set of wheels, one wheel at a time is possible with the tools the car has (if it has a spare).

Block the wheels, loosen the bolts, jack the car, change wheel, bring car down, tighten wheels.

If the car doesn't have an iron and a jack, you can get cheapo jacks for 20Fr at a Jumbo, and a tire iron for similar price.
Walk to the store, order it online, whatever.


If you need to put the winter tires on your existing wheels, go get chains and good luck.
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Old 03.01.2017, 10:44
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Re: Winter tyres

Also be aware that you may get a visit from the police for the accident - even if they only damage was to your own vehicle.

You may then also be charged - and yes, I know people this has happened to.
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Old 03.01.2017, 10:58
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Re: Winter tyres

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Also be aware that you may get a visit from the police for the accident - even if they only damage was to your own vehicle.

You may then also be charged - and yes, I know people this has happened to.
The OP should not speak to the Police as unless you confirm the tyres were summer tyres they won't have any evidence to say they were. They won't caution you but will indeed use the info against you.
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Old 03.01.2017, 10:58
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Re: Winter tyres

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Also be aware that you may get a visit from the police for the accident - even if they only damage was to your own vehicle.

You may then also be charged - and yes, I know people this has happened to.
That's the bit that really has us both twitchy as we're usually law-abiding little do-gooders. If it happens I'll post an update as a courtesy for other EF'ers. The lads with the tractor were very busy taking photos of the tires, vehicle damage and whole accident scene (well, as best you can when down a mountain incline and way off the road!). When we quizzed them about it they said it was for their own protection - some nutter had attempted a similar drive historically with a trailer, and the whole rig jack-knifed off the road. Apparently when the farmers "rescued" it the punter tried to claim they'd caused excessive damage and wanted to sue them....so they were gathering proof in case we ever decided the same thing. Irony of course is that we were so grateful to be alive and to have our vehicle back on the road and to have their help in the late hours of a horribly cold and snowy evening.
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Old 03.01.2017, 11:56
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Re: Winter tyres

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What I would hugely appreciate advice on is this: Is the TCS likely to change out our summer for winter tyres on site at the house? My Deutsch isn't up to reading through the T&C's.
It doesn't make much sense to get the tyres changed just for that, it would be easier to tow/transport the car to a garage. Most likely they will object to change the tires, but it doesn't hurt to ask over the phone when you call them - try to get a friendly english speaking operator.
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I suspect that no tilt tray or tow truck is likely to come up the mountain right now.
Not necessarily - you won't be the first one to get into a sticky situation with the car on a snowy mountain road. This is your best solution - TCS or other local car assistance companies should be able to get your car down the mountain.
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Old 03.01.2017, 12:00
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Re: Winter tyres

The TCS subcontracts out to local garages anyway if you need something towing so contact the local garage.
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Old 03.01.2017, 12:42
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Re: Winter tyres

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Chains?
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go get chains and good luck.
This.

Even with 4WD and winter tyres I carry my chains through the winter, not least to satisfy any plod that might be making a fuss (happens sometimes in France), but also to deal with the possibility of dealing with conditions extreme enough to warrant them as well.

For those not experienced in such conditions, it's worth noting that the additional control decent chains can bring, even compared with winter tyres, can be even greater than winter vs. summer tyres.

Mine just clip onto the wheel nuts for ease of use and compatibility with low clearance wheel arches, so aren't difficult or messy to fit, but even so I can count on the fingers of one hand how many times I've needed to use them - but I'd still consider it foolhardy to travel mountain roads without them in the car.
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Old 03.01.2017, 12:47
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Re: Winter tyres

Congratulations on finding the only road with snow on it in the whole of Switzerland -- at least, that would have been the case prior to last night. Looks like you timed your journey one day too late.

Sorry for your misfortune. Hope it all gets sorted out quickly and with minimal pain.
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Old 03.01.2017, 13:08
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Re: Winter tyres

<<The nice farm lads came and towed us>>
They might do it once more?
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Old 03.01.2017, 13:27
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Re: Winter tyres

What Don Molina says. Chock the 3 wheels and try it.
Usually I remove 3 bolts from 5 before jacking and ensure the last 2 are loosened so the swapping time is less than a couple of minutes.
Alternatively call the local garage, explain you want them to come onsite and change the wheels for you. Including travel should be less than 2 hours cost.

Last edited by Fish Paste; 03.01.2017 at 13:30. Reason: more
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Old 03.01.2017, 13:30
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Re: Winter tyres

If the vehicle is otherwise drivable and the incident was on private property, no need to report to the police or the insurance company. Just take your lumps financially as you have stated.


BTW, it's refreshing to hear someone asking for suggestions without the intent to scam the insurance by having the tires changed and then claiming...good on you.


As others have stated, you can likely call a tire service to come out to you and swap out the summer for winter tires, assuming you have them there.
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Old 03.01.2017, 13:34
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Re: Winter tyres

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This.

Even with 4WD and winter tyres I carry my chains through the winter, not least to satisfy any plod that might be making a fuss (happens sometimes in France), but also to deal with the possibility of dealing with conditions extreme enough to warrant them as well.

For those not experienced in such conditions, it's worth noting that the additional control decent chains can bring, even compared with winter tyres, can be even greater than winter vs. summer tyres.

Mine just clip onto the wheel nuts for ease of use and compatibility with low clearance wheel arches, so aren't difficult or messy to fit, but even so I can count on the fingers of one hand how many times I've needed to use them - but I'd still consider it foolhardy to travel mountain roads without them in the car.

Yes, chains make a world of difference, especially as it becomes dark and the melting snow begins to freeze.


As a side note, carrying chains does nothing if you haven't learned how to put them on properly and take from me, waiting until you are sideways on a snowy mountain road as the sun sets is not recommended. Learn to fit them when you buy them.
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Old 03.01.2017, 13:39
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Re: Winter tyres

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Also be aware that you may get a visit from the police for the accident - even if they only damage was to your own vehicle.

You may then also be charged - and yes, I know people this has happened to.


Also, if the police do come knocking, make sure the stated driver was the registered owner or you may get fined twice. What I mean is that if the car is registered in your partners name and you were driving, they can fine your partner as well for letting you drive a vehicle with summer tires in the mountains in winter with snow in the forecast. One fine will sting enough.
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