What are winter tires?
A type of winter tire that can demonstrate its capabilities even under conditions such as snow and freezing. In order to improve braking on snow and icy roads, this tire has a larger uneven surface than ordinary tires so that it can reliably catch (grip) snow in wide and deep grooves.
- There are STUDLESS or SNOW letters on the sides of winter tires (studless tires, snow tires).
- All-season tires (with the letters M + S, MS, M & S or M / S on the side) can handle snowy roads to a certain extent, but braking performance is inferior to winter tires, so depending on snowfall conditions. You may not be able to drive.
Some countries insist on the importance of replacing summer tires with winter ones as soon as the winter season begins. But what are winter tires? And why are they mandatory in some countries and not in others?
How they are made?
Winter tires contain more natural rubber which gives them a soft texture. The mutual interaction between the rubber compound of the tires and the road surface varies with increasing temperatures. This has an impact on tire grip. Summer tires stiffen at temperatures below 7 ° C, while winter tires, thanks to their compound created specifically for winter, guarantee flexibility even at temperatures below 7 ° C.
Winter tires retain their flexibility in low temperatures
Winter tires are needed if
- You live or drive in a country where use is mandatory
- Local temperatures are often below 7 ° C
- Live in a place where you risk being isolated in case of heavy snow
- You depend on your vehicle during the winter season
How do winter tires work?
The name suggests that they are snow tires, even if in reality they are more of tires for the cold season, able to guarantee an optimal performance on wet, icy and snowy surfaces or on dry surfaces but with cold temperatures. The soft compound of these tires guarantees them better grip on terrains with cold temperatures than summer and all-season tires, which have a more compact compound.
Ultra-thin grooves penetrate snow, ice and mud, ensuring faster water drainage and improving braking and traction. At the same time, the deeper grooves collect and retain snow, helping to improve grip on compacted snow and disperse water, thus reducing the risk of aquaplaning.
What are the advantages of winter tires?
Winter tires guarantee perfect grip in cold temperatures, whether it is wet, dry, snowy or icy surfaces.
There is nothing that guarantees better grip on the snow than the snow itself. In the event of compacted snow on the road surface, in fact, winter tires fill the grooves with snow, ensuring grip on the snow itself.
The particularly deep treads are able to disperse a greater amount of water, thus helping to reduce the risk of aquaplaning and improving driving control.
Because they provide greater safety in cold temperatures and remain flexible, winter tires wear out more slowly than summer tires and are therefore more cost-effective.
What are the disadvantages of winter tires?
Just as winter tires perform better than summer tires in winter, summer tires perform better with warmer temperatures and more moderate weather conditions. As soon as temperatures start to rise above 7 ° C, it will be necessary to replace winter tires with summer ones.
Having two trains, one of winter tires and one of summer tires, including spare ones, could prove expensive, both for purchase and storage. In some countries you have no other choice, while in others you could opt for all-season tires.
Winter tires are an excellent investment if you live in countries where winter is very harsh. In places where temperatures are milder or where the use of winter tires is not mandatory, you could opt for summer or all season tires.
What do the symbols on winter tires mean?
Winter tires have two symbols: M + S and a snowflake in the profile of a mountain.
The M + S (mud and snow) symbol means mud and snow and indicates that the tread pattern and tread compound have been designed for greater control and braking on mud and snow than summer tires. The M + S symbol is found on both all season and winter tires.
The snowflake enclosed in the profile of a mountain with three peaks (3PMSF) indicates that the tires have passed specific minimum performance tests required on snow,This symbol is only found on winter tires.
Can studless tires be used even in summer?
Studless tires are designed with performance on icy roads and snowy roads in mind, so they can be run in the summer, but we recommend using summer tires in the summer. This is because studless tires are designed with an emphasis on icy roads and performance, and when used on dry or wet roads, the braking distance tends to be longer than summer tires. In addition, studless tires have softer rubber than summer tires, so when used in the summer, they wear out faster than summer tires.
What is the speed code of a tire?
The tires have different speed codes, which must be suitable for the maximum speed allowed by the vehicle. This code consists of a letter printed on the side of the tire. For example, A V indicates that the maximum speed of the tire is 240 km / h, provided it has been inflated correctly and is not overloaded.
In the case of winter tires, it is possible to fit tires with a lower speed code, provided that a label with the maximum permitted speed limit is shown and this is not exceeded.
Uniroyal winter tires are available in four categories: Q (160 km / h), T (190 km / h), H (210 km / h) and V (240 km / h).