It is not always easy to know which tyres one should use during the winter season. There are a few misconceptions that have made it even more difficult to know and get it correct. Some of these are that sometimes the name snow tyres is used synonymously as winter tyres, which can cause some problems. Then you have two different types of winter tyres, studded and non-studded. Then you have the range of tyres that have the M+S marking which are still not approved for winter use as they don’t have the snowflake-symbol (3PMSF). You then have some all-weather tyres or all-season tyres that have the snowflake symbol and can be used all-year round. With all this it is not so clear and that is why we will try to make it a bit clearer.
Winter tyres are tyres that should be used during the winter season if you have low temperatures, below freezing and you have snow and or ice. Snow tyres is what they used to be called, before, especially in the US and now they have evolved to winter tyres that can handle both snow and ice to make them a perfect for the whole winter season. A winter tyre should be approved for winter use and have the 3PMSF symbol indicates that they have passed some performance tests when it comes to snow. This means that they will perform very well in winter conditions. This is different than the M+S marking which is a manufacturer marking that the tread is designed to handle mud and snow but doesn’t indicate how well they perform or that they have passed any performance tests.
This is why the M+S marking might fool people into believing that they will perform very well in winter conditions, but this is not always the case and most often it is not. They will perform much worse than tyres that have passed performance tests and have the 3PMSF-marking.
Then you have the all-weather/season tyres, which are tyres that can be used all the seasons. You will need all-weather tyres that has been approved for winter use, as they are otherwise just summer tyres. If they are winter approved then they can handle the winter conditions and you don’t have to worry about the weather forecasts, as you are ready to drive regardless of weather.
So regardless what you have heard before or believe, for a tyre to be safe during winter conditions you will need to have a winter approved tyre. You can use dedicated winter tyres that are only designed for winter use and should be paired with a pair of summer tyres. You can also go for an all-weather tyre that has been approved for winter use as these tyres can handle all the different weather conditions and can be used all year round. So even though the names have been a bit confusing in the past, I hope that it is clearer now.
For more information regarding tyres that are approved for winter use, visit: nokiantyres.com