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Michelin’s snow test: Summer tyres versus winter tyres

Did you know that a summer tyre travelling at 25 mph needs more than twice the distance to stop on snow than a winter tyre? Rezulteo has checked this out by participating in tests organised by Michelin on the Val d'Isere track in Savoie (France).

Michelin’s snow test: Summer tyres versus winter tyres

Michelin’s snow test: Summer tyres versus winter tyres © Michelin

For starters, here are a few reminders:

  • Snow tyres or winter tyres? Even if the term “winter tyre” is becoming more familiar, many people still talk about “snow tyres”. Yet, winter tyres are not only useful when it starts to snow.  In reality, they improve our safety as soon as temperatures drop. 
  • What’s the difference between a summer and a winter tyre? A winter tyre is designed to deliver performance below 7°C. It differs from a summer tyre by the flexibility of its rubber at low temperature and the highly sipped tread pattern. 

 

The qualities that winter tyres offer are more visible on snow-covered roads. This has been proven beyond doubt in tests conducted by Michelin on the Val d'Isere track in Savoie.

Braking test

  • Vehicles used : Renault Mégane 3
  • Tyres used: Michelin Alpin 4 (winter tyre) and Michelin Primacy 3 (summer tyre)
  • Dimensions : 195 65R15
  • Surface : packed snow
  • Test conditions : A low speed rolling start in first gear and gradually accelerate to drive up a slight slope.

Result: The braking distance of the car fitted with summer tyres is twice as long as the vehicle fitted with winter tyres. The Primacy 3 offers virtually no snow traction, the car is unable to maintain directional stability and active safety is greatly affected. With the Alpin 4, you enter another universe. The car is balanced, efficient and safe.

Traction test

  • Vehicules used : BMW 1-Series
  • Tyres used : Michelin Alpin 4 and Michelin Primacy 3
  • Dimensions : 205 55R16
  • Surface : packed snow
  • Test conditions : A low speed rolling start in first gear and gradually accelerate to drive up a slight slope.

Result: On a rear wheel drive vehicle, such as the BMW 1-Series, there is a significant lack of grip. Fitted with summer tyres, it is almost impossible to move the BMW. Each start implies just the right amount of pressure applied to the accelerator. However, this is not a problem for the Alpin 4. In this exercise, the Alpin 4 has a clear advantage over the Primacy 3.

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