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11 questions and answers about winter tyres

Each year, winter tyres raise a lot of questions. Find all the answers to your questions and learn more about winter tyres: the right tyre pressure, driving on snow, winter tyre regulations, environmental impact, 3PMSF marking, M+S tyres, all season tyres.

Winter tyres questions and answers: pressure, legislation, snow chains, price, ecology, 3PMSF, etc

11 questions on winter tyres: do you know all the answers? © Adobe Photo

What is the difference between a winter tyre, a snow tyre and a cold weather tyre?

There is no difference between these three types of tyres: they all refer to winter tyres. Snow tyre is the common name for an alpine or winter tyre. Cold weather tyre is another name also given to winter tyres. As its name suggests, it offers a better response at low temperatures in winter.

What winter tyres should you choose?

Why fit winter tyres?

Winter tyres are essential in regions where temperatures drop in winter and where bad weather such as snow or ice can cause dangerous driving conditions. They deliver shorter braking distances and high grip on wet, icy and snow covered roads.

2 or 4 winter tyres?

When should you fit winter tyres?

It’s simple, winter tyres should be fitted as soon as temperatures reach 7°C or lower. If you are not sure, when the clocks change at the end of October is a good reminder to fit winter tyres. Indeed, winter tyres are efficient when the cold weather sets in and are more efficient in terms of braking performance and grip. Note that in the UK, there is no legislation on winter tyres and no mandatory date to fit them. Nevertheless, a vehicle well equipped to drive in winter conditions can guarantee your safety on the road.

When to fit winter tyres?

What’s the difference between a summer tyre and a winter tyre?

The main difference between a summer and winter tyre is its design: they each have a specific rubber compound and structure to withstand variations in temperature. A summer tyre uses a rubber compound which adapts to mild temperatures. Its tread is designed to deliver good grip in dry conditions, with enough sipes to drain water on wet roads. The rubber compound and tread pattern of winter tyres are designed to drive on roads covered with snow, freezing rain, water or ice in low or even negative temperatures: deep grooves to clear away water and snow, and numerous sipes to increase traction forces. As such, they do not lose their respective performances.

What is the difference between summer tyres and winter tyres?

Is a winter tyre more expensive than a summer tyre?

Yes, winter tyres are logically more expensive than summer tyres. Why? They are made from more sophisticated materials and are therefore more expensive. A winter tyre has a special tread pattern to be able to drive on snow, for example, compared with a summer tyre which has less notched sipes. Factory production moulds are more complex than those used for summer tyres. The price difference can vary between and 10 and 20% depending on the brand for the same speed rating.

Tip: you can equip your vehicle with winter tyres in a smaller size, or buy winter tyres before prices rise as the cold season sets in.

How much does a tyre really cost?

What is the environmental impact of a winter tyre?

A winter tyre has an impact on the environment at different levels. As with all types of tyres, they are made from petroleum products and chemical compounds. Tyre wear is therefore still a fundamental problem. Winter tyres generally have a softer rubber compound. If they are used in warmer temperatures or even in summer, the rolling resistance increases. More rolling resistance means higher fuel consumption.

Green tyre: consume less, pollute less

How to recognise a winter tyre?

The 3PMSF (3 Peak Mountain Snow Flake) marking allows a winter tyre to be recognised in the legal sense of the term. This logo, symbolised by a snow flake and a mountain, is used to identify a winter tyre and guarantee its performances for use on snow. Indeed, the 3PMSF marking is a guarantee when buying winter tyres since they are put through a series of tests to obtain this label.

What performances for M+S and 3PMSF winter tyres?

Winter or all season tyre: what to choose?

Choose tyres according to your driving environment and the weather conditions in which you will drive this winter. It is recommended to equip your vehicle with winter tyres if temperatures drop below zero in your region, whether you live in the mountains or not. An all season tyre is a versatile tyre which is less efficient than a winter tyre, especially on snow and ice.

What is an all season tyre worth in winter?

Are winter tyres mandatory in the UK?

Winter tyres are not mandatory in the UK during winter.

And what about the tread depth? As in many countries the minimum tyre tread depth in the UK is 1.6 mm. This legal requirement also refers to winter tyres. However experts often state that this 1.6 mm is too low, specially for winter tyres. For safety reasons we recommend a minimum of 4 mm for winter tyres.

3 simple techniques to measure tread depth in under a minute

How to inflate tyres in winter?

Here is how to inflate tyres in winter:

  • First of all, check the pressure recommended by your car’s manufacturer. It is usually indicated in your vehicle’s handbook, on the sticker placed on the fuel tank flap or inside the driver’s door. You can also find it in our vehicle directory.
  • Add 0.2 bar to this reference pressure.
  • Always inflate tyres when they are cold, i.e. when they have not been used for at least 2 hours and before driving more than 3 km (at reduced speed).

What pressure for tyres in winter?

How to drive in winter? Advice for driving on snow and ice in winter

In a few words, anticipate and adapt your driving in winter, especially on roads covered in snow or freezing rain or when driving on ice:

  • Adopt a smooth and calm driving approach
  • Reduce your speed and keep a safe distance from other vehicles
  • Slow down as you approach corners and gradually accelerate to keep grip
  • Move up a gear when tyres slip or when driving up a slope
  • Switch on dipped headlights as soon as there is less visibility
  • If you lose control of your vehicle when braking, release the brake pedal

3 errors to avoid when driving on snow or ice

What you need to know about winter tyres

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