Summer tires and winter tires – an overview of the differences

A rule of thumb says: from O (like october) to O (like easter) is winter tire season, by law at least from 1. November to 15. April. But why is that, how do you recognize a winter tire and how does it differ from a summer tire?? This and more is what we want to cover in this article.

What is the difference between summer and winter tires??

Summer and winter tires differ essentially in two characteristics: the rubber compound and the tread pattern.

Summer tires have a harder rubber compound because they are exposed to extreme temperatures in summer. They have a coarser tread, more longitudinal grooves and are designed to displace as much water from the road as possible. Summer tires are therefore suitable for wet as well as dry roads. The legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm, however, for safety reasons it is recommended to replace the tire before reaching the minimum tread depth.

Winter tires are made of a soft rubber compound. A high proportion of rubber or. Silicia gives the tire a very good thermoelastic property at low temperatures.

In addition, the tread is characterized by sipes – i.e. many small tread incisions that ensure interlocking with ice and snow. the legal minimum tread depth is 4mm.

With winter tires you are safer on the road with snow, ice and hail. Due to their finer tread, deeper tread depth and softer rubber compound, winter tires adhere better to the road surface during braking, starting and cornering. However, it should be noted that anyone who drives winter tires in the summer accepts much higher abrasion and longer braking distances due to the softer rubber compound.

How to recognize a winter tire?

Winter tires are marked with symbols such as z.B. The M+S symbol (abbreviation for mud and snow) marked. However, more and more summer tires also meet the rather low requirements, which is why it is no longer considered a unique seal for identifying winter tires.

In addition to the M+S symbol, there is also the alpine symbol, also known as the snowflake symbol. This ensures that the tire has optimum performance in winter conditions after passing the test.

While an M+S label for winter tires has been in force in germany since 1 January 2008, it is not required. While winter tires are no longer sufficient as of January 1, 2018, but must be marked with the alpine symbol, Austria has a different rule: 4mm minimum tread depth and an M+S marking.

What are the advantages of summer vs. Winter tires and the role of all-season tires?

Tires adapted to weather conditions have several advantages – first and foremost, they offer greater safety through shorter braking distances. In addition to higher mileage, fuel consumption and wear are also reduced.

All-season tires are a compromise between summer and winter tires. With a medium tread depth, the tread pattern includes characteristics of both summer and winter tires (e.g., a snowflake symbol).B. sipes in the middle part of the tire). The all-season tire may save costs and time (no 2. tire set, no tire change and no storage costs), but it does not match the performance of either summer or winter tires. Especially for frequent drivers and in areas with long, hard winter spells, an all-season tire is not very suitable.

Our tip: invest in summer and winter tires! use winter tires with the additional snowflake symbol – this way you will get through the winter safely with the appropriate tread depth and young tire age!

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