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Every car driver should have winter tyres put on for winter before the conditions become severe. You can buy a wide range of high quality winter tyres online from many suppliers, often cheaper than in stores.

Characteristics of winter tyres

Winter tyres are designed for snowy regions and wintry road conditions. A special rubber compound ensures that the tyre remains flexible even at low temperatures.

In a winter tyre, treads are equipped not only with a normal profile, as with summer tyres, but a special blade and lug design for optimum handling characteristics. The deep lamellar profiles engage well in soft snow. The fins also allow for extra traction (power transmission), by opening your stride. Winter tyres should not be used in the summer, because then there is a greater wear due to the heat. In addition, it is advisable to look at the test results of brand manufacturers, as these reveal the advantages and disadvantages of products and facilitate the purchase decision.

Latest test results of the leading winter tyre manufacturer

During winter tyre test of ADAC 2011 brands Continental, Dunlop, Michelin and Goodyear have come away with very good grades. The "Continental ContiWinterContact TS800" has reached the first place - with a top grade for driving on snow and low fuel consumption. Right after comes the "Michelin Alpin A4". This winter tyre is ideal if you want to drive on an icy road. In third place is the "Dunlop SP Winter Response" - a tyire that has all the safety-related points come off very well. A top score in the wet was the tyres "Goodyear Ultra Grip 8".

When buying witer tyres brand quality should always be respected in terms of safety.

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Winter tyres Guides

When should winter tyres be put on?

As a rule of thumb to remember: From O to E, ie from October to Easter, go best with winter tires.

Once wintry conditions prevail, you should have winter tires on your auto. But what exactly is meant by "winter conditions"? That is also clearly stated in the Road Traffic Act. As a "winter conditions" and thus trigger the obligation for snow tires apply:

  • Snow
  • Slush
  • Packed snow
  • Ice or slippery frost
  • Ice

To be sure not to be surprised by a sudden onset of winter, it is recommended that winter tires be for sale by the autumn.

If you have two sets of wheels one for winter and one for summer, you will not even have to go to the shop to have winter tyres put on.  You just need a jack and wrench. 

Summer and winter wheels ease the transition. The prerequisite is of course that not only two complete sets of tires, but also a double set of wheels is available: one for summer and one of a kind for winter tyres. 

If you have two sets of wheels (rims) no you can have one set with winter tyres on as long as you have somewhere to store them. If stored properly they should last a few seasons. 

Experts advise to replace the winter tires about every four years with new ones. Several factors can cause the tire quality to decline:

  • Wear
  • Aging of the material 
  • Tyre damage

Old, worn or even damaged tyres pose a greater risk potential. Byordered online in advance, you can expect a big savings.

But how do I know if the winter tyres from last year are still fit for next winter? Even if the tyres seem to be fine on the surface, it is best to pay attention to two things: tread depth and DOT number.

How old are my tyres? The DOT number provides that information.

Tyres are made mostly of rubber. Over time, the material hardens, resulting in a poorer grip - the tyre is then no longer any good. Therefore tyres that have never been driven, will need to be discarded after about six or seven years.

But how do I know now how old my tires are actually? Furthermore are the DOT numbers reliable information? It is stamped on each tire on the flank. Next to the DOT number can be found all sorts of other numbers and letter symbols. For the tire age only the last four (highlighted by a border) figures are relevant. The first two digits reveal the calendar week; the last two the year of manufacture.

Detect wear: Measure tread depth

In order to identify tire wear at times, it is advisable to measure the tread depth at regular intervals. It is true that each tyre also a so-called TWI, or Tread Wear Indicator. This abrasion indicator can be found next to a symbol of small triangles and the symbol TWI at the upper sidewall of the tire. Here are continuous webs to recognize the tyre remains only a residual profile of 1.6 millimeters. It should now be changed urgently.

Although actually the highway code provides for only a minimum tread depth of just 1.6 millimeters - but experts agree that this is far too little. They recommend unanimously to mount new winter tyres at a remaining profile of 4 millimeters.

In order to determine reliably whether the question 4 millimeters remaining tread are already achieved, it is therefore imperative periodically with a profile measuring device to check the tyres. In a pinch, a coin also helps: If the edge concealed by the remaining profile, everything is in order. As soon as the can  be seen, the tires must be changed.

The following brief overview summarizes the most important information and tips for measuring the tread depth once again:

  • Tread depth 1.6mm
  • TWI on tire wall
  • 4.0mm Profile meter or euro coin

The profile of winter tyres

Especially with winter tyres a good profile is essential. Finally, the tyres need to keep their grip not only in the wet but also in snow, slush and ice. For this they get from the manufacturers a special profile imprinted.

A winter tyre tread consists of the following elements:

  • Profile ribs
  • Tread blocks
  • Tread groove
  • Profile blades

A special feature of the profile of winter tyres are also the slats: small cuts in the tread blocks, often in zigzag shape. Thanks to this fine lamellae of winter tyres retains a firm hold in slippery conditions.

How do I know a good winter tyre?

The best and safest thing is to go with high quality, new tires through the winter. But how can I recognize a good winter tyre? To navigate in the comfortable and safe areas, customers can check different quality features:

  • Uniform symbols and markings of winter tyres
  • Quality standards of certain brands and manufacturers
  • Independent tyre tests

If you want to be sure that you are buying a good product, it is best to not just rely on one of those criteria but keep all three in mind.

Labelling of winter tyres

Labelling of winter tyres: Different quality standards

These can be recognized by the impression at the edge MS shortcuts, which occurs in the following variations:

  • M + S
  • M * S
  • M & S

The MS-labeling is current regulation according to the minimum standard to be met by the tyre to make winter tyres mandatory. In concrete terms, if you are driving in winter conditions with a tire which does not carry the MS symbol, you must pay a fine..

Customers are better advised to pay attention to the Alpine icon. Also called snowflake symbol, it shows the icon of a mountain with a snowflake. Only tyres that can demonstrate in performance tests an above-average traction get the sign imprinted. Anyone who buys a winter tyre with the Alpine symbol can be sure that the tyre can cope with winter challenges.

With the tips and advice of our great Tyres.Net winter tyres guidebook you are now optimally equipped for the cold season.