Winter tires are a science in themselves. Depending on the type of vehicle (e.g. small car, sports car, SUV/off-road vehicle, van/transporter, etc.), winter tires are recommended.), the type of drive (front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive) and, last but not least, the geographical conditions and the individual type of use, the choice of the optimum winter tires can become an intensive task. The specialists at reifen24 or the workshop you trust will be happy to help you make the right choice.
important are not only the grip properties on wet, leaf-covered, icy and snow-covered roads, but also the much softer rubber compound compared to summer tires, which always provides optimum grip even at the lowest temperatures. That is why the use of winter tires is recommended above a certain temperature limit, even if weather conditions are not yet severe. A rough guide value for this is around 7 degrees celsius. If the thermometer falls below this value, summer tires can quickly reach their limits, as the comparatively hard rubber compound no longer provides sufficient grip. However, as outside temperatures can still fluctuate greatly in autumn and spring, it is simply advisable to adhere to the O to O rule.
Winter tires: workshop or change and store yourself?
every car driver should know it: the O to O rule. It states that winter tires should be fitted to the vehicle from october to easter. An easy-to-remember rule of thumb that can be used as a guide in germany. When the first leaves on the trees turn from lush green to the typical autumn colors, it’s time to take your vehicle to the workshop you trust. Many drivers also change their tires themselves, which is time-consuming and labor-intensive, but of course also results in a certain cost saving. The cost of a wheel change in the workshop can vary greatly. This already starts at the point, whether you go to an independent workshop or a contract workshop. Depending on the scope of the additional services booked (e.g. wheel balancing, tire pressure check, measurement of tread depth, storage of summer tires etc.) the price can rise quickly. Who has the necessary space to change his winter wheels or. summer tires themselves, and the necessary capacity to change the wheels themselves twice a year, should still pay attention to some important details. So the use of a torque wrench is strongly advised. Here you can find out in advance what torque you need for your steel or aluminum rims. Both too tight and too loose wheel bolts pose a high safety risk. At best, they only endanger the material. The correct storage of unused wheels is also relevant to safety and protects the material.
Winter tires vs. All-season tires
If you are interested in all-season tires, you donüt have much to do with all this. Once mounted on the vehicle, they can be driven throughout the year with occasional testing and adjustment of the air pressure. All-season tires are particularly suitable if a vehicle is not usually moved very much or is used almost exclusively in city traffic. Because here, snow is normally cleared on a regular basis or does not remain on the ground at all. However, if you are considering a winter vacation or live in rural areas, you will hardly be able to avoid winter-only tires.
“Mud and snow" – winter tires, whose rubber compound remains elastic even at low temperatures, are designed for this purpose. Suitably they are by the marking "M+S" or "M&S to be found. According to the EU regulation, M+S tires are those whose tread pattern and tread compound are primarily designed to achieve better driving and traction properties on snow than is possible with normal tires. This should be ensured by larger tread grooves and/or lugs, which are also separated from each other by larger gaps.
In addition, winter tires are also equipped with sipes that open up when the tire is rolling, thus enabling interlocking on loose surfaces such as snow.
But by no means all tires marked as M+S offer the above-mentioned properties. Since the label is not protected, it can also be applied to tires that are not suitable for winter use; this is particularly common among American or Chinese manufacturers. To counteract any problems that may arise from this, the tire industry has also introduced the snowflake symbol, which is awarded by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to tires that achieve a certain minimum traction on snow and ice in tests.
Here’s how to do it right..
As meticulous as the search for the right tire usually is, one should also adhere to the given guidelines and instructions, especially and even more so in winter, when seemingly every car ride can mutate into a farce. Even during the cold months, it makes sense not to rely solely on good test results and expensive quality – depending on the weather conditions, every driver must also take action to influence the situation. Thus, in low temperatures but dry weather, tires should generally be driven with 0.2 to 0.3 bar more tire pressure than specified by the manufacturer, since the calculated pressure increase in the tire is lower than in summer temperatures. In the case of slush and ice, on the other hand, a lower tire pressure is advisable – the resulting higher rolling resistance ensures that a larger contact surface is able to provide propulsion.
When mounting winter tires, it is imperative to observe the direction of travel specified in the rule. This prevents water or mud from piling up in front of the tire during rotation, instead the groove guide transports the debris away from the tread.
Unlike summer tires, winter tires are also permitted with a lower speed index than specified in the vehicle registration document. In this case, the maximum permitted speed, e.g.B. In the form of a sticker, to be placed in the driver’s field of vision.
The 7-degree recommendation..
Whether the so-called 7-degree recommendation is purely a marketing measure on the part of tire manufacturers, or whether it is actually the result of earlier developments, is still a matter of dispute. The starting point of the theory is that winter tires have better driving characteristics at temperatures below 7°C than summer tires. In the meantime, however, this statement has been strongly qualified by experts on several occasions: even at temperatures just above freezing point, shorter braking distances can still be achieved with summer tires on both wet and dry roads.
Winter tire obligation made easy
in the past years the unclear definition of a winter tire obligation in germany provided again and again for discussions. On 04.12.the revised regulation finally came into force in 2010. We answer the most important questions on the subject.
What does the new law stipulate?
What is new is that M+S tires are now mandatory for icy roads, slippery roads and similar weather conditions. However, the term winter tire itself does not explicitly appear in the stvo and there is no corresponding obligation for a specified period of time in the future.
According to this, winter tires are strictly speaking only compulsory when the road conditions are correspondingly bad. However, the "O-O rule" is recommended, according to which winter tires should remain on the car from october until the weekend after easter.
please note: M+S tires are not necessarily winter tires, they are also available as all-season tires. It is up to you which variant you choose, but it is essential that the tires are marked as M+S tires.
For whom does the new regulation apply?
The new regulation on mandatory winter tires applies to all car, truck, bus and motorcycle drivers.
Important: even with a rented car you are responsible to have winter tires in accordance with to install according to the regulations!
what risks do i run if i do not comply with the new regulations?
On the one hand, your comprehensive insurance can partially or even completely refuse payment in the event of an accident if the missing M+S tires can be proven as the cause of the accident.
If you are caught with summer tires in winter conditions, you may be fined up to 40 euros. If you endanger the traffic, you can be charged with a fine of up to 80euro, as well as a point in flensburg.
Why the new regulation?
Until the amendment, the stvo only referred to "suitable tires" and a, to the weather conditions adapted equipment. the higher regional court of oldenburg finally classified this formulation as too vague and thus unconstitutional and demanded a clearer and more binding regulation.