Winter tyres: advice for safe driving - 10 things to know about winter tyres

10 things to know about winter tyres

Winter tyres Published the 15/12/2014 by John

Each winter, we receive a large number of questions from users. Today, we offer you a condensed summary of the most recurring themes and a review of true and false beliefs.

Illustration of winter tyres All the right answers to all your questions on winter tyres! - Copyright © : rezulteo

1. It is possible to fit two winter tyres only:

Winter tyres are fitted in fours. By fitting only 2 winter tyres, there is a risk that the vehicle’s handling becomes unbalanced and dangerous, with a tendency to over- or under-steer, depending on the position of winter tyres on the vehicle.

Illustration in video with a car equipped with winter tyres at the front and summer tyres at the rear on a snow covered surface:


For more information, read the guide Can you get away with only fitting winter tyres at the front?


2. 4x4 vehicles don’t need winter tyres:

A 4x4 vehicle can do absolutely nothing on snow if it does not have suitable tyres that deliver good grip. It may even be dangerous when driving down a snow covered hill and start tobogganing due to its weight.


For more information, read the guide Do 4x4 vehicles need winter tyres?

Car and cloud of snowCopyright © : Nokian


3. A winter tyre is only effective in snow:

 A winter tyre becomes legitimate on all surfaces and in all conditions as soon as temperatures drop below 7°C.  For info, on a wet road at a temperature of 5°C, the braking distance of a summer tyre is 4 metres longer than that of a winter tyre.

For more information,
read the guide What’s the difference between a summer and a winter tyre?


4. Tyres must be over-inflated in winter:

 Tyre pressure is related to the ambient temperature. Since the measured pressure is less at low temperatures, then 0.2 bar (almost 3 psi) should be added to the normal recommended pressure during the winter period.

For more information,
read the guide What pressure in winter?


5. A narrow tyre is more effective in snow:

 A narrower tread improves traction and grip on snow covered roads.

To find the dimensions of tyres approved for your vehicle, click here


6. Nordic tyres and Alpine tyres are different:

 Alpine tyres (or winter) are designed for ‘standard’ use in areas with a temperate climate where drivers are likely to encounter snow, tar or rain... A Nordic tyre is designed to be used in tough winter conditions where temperatures are extremely cold.

For more information,
read the guide Nordic, alpine, studded, all seasons: Choose the right tyres for winter


7. M+S tyres are real winter tyres:

 The only marking that guarantees the winter qualities of a tyre is 3PMSF (a mountain and a snow flake meaning Three Peak Mountain Snow Flake)

For more information
, read the guide Are M+S tyres winter tyres?

M+S markingCopyright © : All Rights Reserved


8. Winter tyres can be used in summer:

: But a winter tyre cannot provide the same level of performance and safety as a summer tyre when temperatures rise above 7°C. Also, it will probably wear more quickly at high temperatures.

For more information, read the guide Winter tyres: Can I drive with them in summer?


9. Snow tyres and winter tyres are different:

Snow tyres, Alpine tyres and winter tyres form one single category of products. Only Nordic tyres belong to a different category.


10. Winter tyres are more expensive than summer tyres:

On average, for the same dimensions, winter tyres are 15 to 20% more expensive than their summer counterparts. However, it is believed that this difference is expected to decrease over the coming years with the democratisation of winter tyres.