Winter tires an important safety factor

In your own interest, you should make sure to drive in temperatures below 7 degrees Celsius and when it is icy or. Snow to be on the road only with approved winter tires. Not only can fines be imposed for spot checks, but motor vehicle insurance can also cause problems in the event of an accident. What you should look for in winter tires and all tips and tricks on the subject can be found here with us.

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Tires differ basically in the degree of hardness and in the profile. Due to the high temperature differences in summer and winter, tires appropriate for the season are a good idea. Summer tires have a higher rubber compound, winter tires are softer. A mixture of both types of tires is called all-weather tires.

In cooperation with the campaign "Tire quality – I drive on the safe side!In the "Winter Tire Guide" of the German Road Safety Council (DVR) and its partners, we show you how every motorist can actively contribute to his or her own safety when choosing winter tires.

Mandatory winter tires in Germany: What you need to know!

That there is an obligation for winter tires in Germany is certainly known. In Germany, however, there is no general, but a situational winter tire obligation: In snow, black ice, slush, ice or frost slippery roads must be driven with winter tires. If you are caught with summer tires in these weather conditions, a fine of at least 60 euros is due.

M+S symbol is important

Since 2010, the term winter tires is more precisely defined by the designation M+S tires (mud and snow). The M+S symbol is stamped on winter tires and all-weather tires and means that the tire should provide better grip on the road even in snow and slush.

Snow chains are only compulsory in Germany on routes signposted for them. This can be higher mountainous regions or places with heavy snowfall.

Comparison of winter, all-season, off-road and summer tires

Clarify the legal situation before the winter vacation

If you want to go abroad for winter vacation, it is best to find out the laws there before you start your trip.

In Sweden or Finland there is a seasonal winter tire obligation. Appropriate tires are prescribed from December to March.

France does not require winter tires. In higher elevation regions, traffic signs indicate the need for winter tires.

If you are caught driving abroad without winter tires despite legal requirements, you could face significant fines for driving with summer tires.

What are the differences between winter and summer tires??

Winter tires offer advantages in low temperatures and winter road conditions such as slippery frost, snow, slush and ice. Summer tires are better suited for higher temperatures on dry and wet roads. The two types of tires differ mainly in tread and rubber compound. The soft rubber compound of winter tires remains flexible at low temperatures and interlocks optimally with the road surface. The tread of winter tires also has fine sipes, which provide optimal grip on snowy and icy roads and short braking distances. In winter, a car with summer tires runs the risk of skidding and going off the road more quickly. Short braking distances due to winter tires can save lives in case of emergency.

Profile comparison winter tires and summer tires

Do all-season tires come into question in winter?

For people who drive primarily in the city and have less than 15.If you drive more than 000 kilometers per year, all-season tires can be an alternative. But to remember: All-season tires are a mixture of two types of tires and therefore not as winterized and safe as a winter tire. And: Due to the year-round driving, the wear is higher.

What to look for when buying winter tires?

Motorists should buy new tires at a specialist garage or tire shop, where they can get personal and expert advice. And savings should not be made at the wrong end: High-quality brand-name tires from renowned manufacturers usually have very good winter properties and are always the first choice. Current tire tests and the tire experts in the specialized trade can offer orientation with the tire purchase.

Change winter tires: the right way

The tire change should always be carried out by the tire experts in the specialist workshop. Drivers can be sure that the specialists will carry out the installation professionally and will detect and eliminate safety defects in the tire in time.

A tip: After about 50 km to 100 km you should have the wheel nuts retightened. In the event that you buy both new rims and new tires, it is advisable to have the wheels balanced – usually a garage will do this automatically. During balancing, the wheel is optimally balanced with weights and ensures a smooth ride and lower fuel consumption afterwards.

Unlike summer tires, winter tires have a speed limit. If the tire change is carried out in a workshop, the speed limit is usually indicated by a sticker on the speedometer. You should adhere to this for the safety of all road users and do not exceed the speed limit.

When do I have to change to winter tires?

From temperatures below 7 degrees Celsius, it is recommended to change from summer to winter tires. This is due to the different rubber compound of the tires. Staying safe on the road ensures you have the shortest possible braking distance, which can save lives – keeping to the road in all seasons is therefore so particularly important.

There is also a mnemonic for changing tires: O to O. You drive safely with winter tires from October to Easter.

Attention in case of too high temperatures

If you drive winter tires when the outside temperatures are too high, this has a negative effect on the driving behavior. Lower road grip can lead to longer braking distances.

Tread depth and age of the tires: You must pay attention to this

If you still have winter tires from last year, pay attention to safety-relevant points such as tread depth, visible damage and age of the tires.

How much tread should winter tires have?

A tread depth of 1.6 millimeters is regulated by law via the road traffic regulations. However, some automobile clubs recommend a minimum depth of 4 millimeters. With smaller profile depth your tires should already lose the optimal adhesion to the road.

Find damage to the tires, such as cracks, porous spots, or even tires worn on one side, then have the tire inspected by a professional. In addition, driving behavior and tire pressure have an influence on the durability of the tire.

Reading the age of the tire correctly

In addition, the age of the tires plays an important role; you should change your winter tires after six years at the latest. The reason for this is that the rubber becomes too hard in the course of time.

Pay attention with the purchase of a new tire – both with the stationary dealer and in the Internet – to the manufacturing date. By the DOT number on the outer wall of the tire, you can tell how old the tire already is. This is a 4-digit number indicating the month and year of manufacture.

The age of tires is especially important when buying used rubber. Pay attention to mileage here as well, if possible. Often the rims give information about how carefully a tire has been handled.

Store winter tires correctly


There are also some things to consider when storing tires. Before storing, you should increase the air pressure by 0.5 bar compared to the manufacturer's specification. In addition, a marking of the tire is helpful, for example VR for "front right". Tires with rims should be stacked and stored in cool, dry, dark areas. However, most garages offer storage for a small fee and sometimes for free.

Help for the inexperienced: which tires fit my car?

If you are not a real car expert, you may ask yourself: what size fits my car?? Here, on the one hand, it is advisable to talk to a tire dealer who can quickly tell which winter tire fits. With Internet dealers one adjusted oneself in the meantime to it and can select in the order process the model and only those tires are indicated, which fit. If you still want to know exactly which tires fit on the car, you can find in the registration certificate or. the vehicle registration document a key, about which one finds all information in the Internet.

What do the abbreviations stand for?

Finally, the question remains with many, what actually the abbreviations or. Numbers on the winter or summer tires stand? For example 185 / 60 R15 – we ran you here the answer:

  • 185 = 185 mm tire width
  • 60 = height-width ratio in percent
  • R = tire design (R = radical or D = diagonal)
  • 15 = Rim diameter in inches
  • 85 = in some cases the load index is included (85 = 515 kg)

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