Winter tires: when you should change them at the latest?

When the first wet and cold nights appear in the fall, car drivers think about the upcoming tire change. Whether the winter tires still have enough tread depth, when you should have changed them at the latest and how it was again with the winter tire obligation – we clarify the most important questions about the winter tire change.

Why should tires be changed?

Driving safety changes considerably when temperatures drop below 7°C at night, because summer tires harden immensely above this limit. This leads to decreasing static friction of the wheels. At 5°C, for example, the braking distance at a speed of 90 km/h can be five meters longer than at an outside temperature of 20°C.

When should tires be changed?

When it comes to the right time to start driving with winter tires, the O-rule is often used as a donkey bridge: "from O to O".“ this means that you should follow the two O’s in the annual calendar – october and easter – and drive with winter tires from october to easter. This is the period when weather-related problems such as the first snow, icy roads and temperatures around freezing point are most likely to occur, and when the use of winter tires can be advantageous.

Is it compulsory to have winter tires in germany??

No, winter tires are not compulsory in germany, but since 2010 the law has stipulated that M+S tires must be used in winter conditions. This means that in the event of an infringement in the event of slippery roads due to snow, ice, tires and slush, the player must expect to be fined on the basis of this legal regulation. All-season tires are also approved.

What happens if you do not change your winter tires in time??

The penalties for driving without winter tires start at 60 euros and one point in the central traffic register in flensburg. If you obstruct traffic because of the wrong tires, you will be fined 80 euros and receive a penalty point. If driving in fresh snow, for example, is even classified as a danger to road traffic, the fine is 100 euros and one point. If you cause an accident with the wrong wheels, the fine increases to 120 euros and one point.

What is the difference between winter and summer tires??

Summer and winter tires differ in material composition and profile. Winter tires are softer and therefore grip better on cold asphalt in winter. They are unsuitable for this purpose in summer because of the higher abrasion, but they are not forbidden.

The tread of the winter tire has sipes – tread cuts that grip the ground better on snow and ice – so that the vehicle does not skid. the tread depth required by law is at least 1.6 millimeters, but for safety reasons three to four millimeters are recommended. This can be easily checked by inserting a 1-euro coin into the tread and if the golden rim is still visible, the wheels should be changed.

What happens if I have an accident with summer tires in snow and ice??

As a rule, a fine of 120 euros and one point in the central traffic register will be due. Comprehensive insurance can reduce its benefits due to gross negligence, and automobile liability insurance pays the damages of the accident victim, but can hold the driver jointly liable due to incorrect tires.

Why summer tires are not safe in winter?

The rubber compound of the summer tire hardens when the temperature is less than 7°C. The tread loses considerable grip, driving safety in curves and on slippery road surfaces decreases and braking distance increases. Snow, ice and slush increase the danger even more, because the car slides very quickly and becomes uncontrollable for the driver. This creates a very high risk of accident. In addition, the summer tire lacks the sipes over which the winter tire gives the vehicle much better grip on slippery surfaces in winter conditions.

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The tire change

If you change the wheels yourself, you will need a jack, a wheel spider, a torque wrench, a wire brush or a rag and chalk. For hub caps or hub lids, you will also need a screwdriver to loosen them and, if necessary, a rim wrench for light alloy rims. Gloves are also helpful and rust remover should be kept on hand for difficult cases.

A tip: in preparation for changing the wheel, it is a good idea to check the air pressure so that you do not have to drive to the service station with half-flat tires after mounting the wheel. The same applies to new winter tires. Secure the vehicle with the handbrake and also engage the first gear or, in the case of an automatic transmission, set the lever to "P".

The first step is to remove the hubcaps and hubcaps with a screwdriver. Mark the tires on the car with chalk according to axle and side: for example with "VL" for "front left or "HL" for "rear left". This way you will know in spring which tire will be mounted where. Now loosen the wheel nuts very slightly. Do not let them loosen, use a little rust remover and let it soak in.

Check the manual of your vehicle to see where the jacking points are located, as these points are stable enough to hold the weight on the jack. It is recommended that you follow these pick-up points. Otherwise, the car can slip off the jack and injure the person mounting it. Therefore, the jack provided in the car should also be used. Now lift the vehicle with the jack so that there is about one to two centimeters of space between the ground and the tires.

Loosen the bolts with the wheel spider. It is best to start with the upper ones and remove the wheel. Clean the bearing surfaces and screws with a wire brush or a cloth. take the right winter wheel for the side and axle in question. If the tire is not labeled, for example because it is new, then make sure that the direction of travel is indicated. This is written on the flank of the tire. If the wheels are mounted against the direction of travel, the abrasion increases and the handling deteriorates. Then place the new wheel on the hubs and tighten the bolts crosswise in several rounds, otherwise the pressure of the wheel on the hub will be uneven and it will run out of roundness.

Use a torque wrench to make sure wheel nuts are not too tight or too loose. The correct torque for your car is specified by the manufacturer and must be set on the torque wrench. If the wheel nuts are tightened too much, the thread can be damaged and the nuts will come loose. if the nuts are tightened too loosely, they can also come loose. The wheel nuts should be checked for tightness and retightened no later than 100 kilometers after the tires have been changed. After these steps, change each additional wheel all around.

When storing the tires, please note that the rubber is sensitive to vehicle fluids such as gasoline, grease and oil. Light, heat and cold can also damage the material. Before storage, it is advisable to increase the tire pressure by 0.5 bar above the recommended value to compensate for the loss of pressure over time. Check the condition of the wheels and tread at the same time and replace the old tires with new ones if necessary. In addition, tires should be stacked on rims one above the other. Tires without rims can be stored upright, but they should be rotated from time to time.

Combined insurance

With DFV combined cover, you can protect yourself against the biggest risks of everyday life. So why have individual insurance policies when you can bundle everything into one combined insurance policy??

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