Winter Tyres are tested for a minimum level of performance on snow for braking and traction, which is better than Standard Tyres. When they meet the safe criteria, only then can they display the 3 Peak Mountain Snow Flake (3PMSF) logo on the sidewall and / or M+S.
All Season Tyres
There are also All Season Tyres. These have the same tread characteristics as a Winter Tyre. They have thin slits across the tread to improve traction but they also have different compounds, so they are suitable for use all year round, not just in winter conditions.
All Season Tyres are a modern alternative to swapping Summer Tyres to Winter Tyres every season and reducing your expenditure. Using modern rubber technology they suitable for the UK’s moderate climate. Combining the elements of Summer and Winter Tyres they can be used all year and offering superb grip on any road conditions.
- Avoid costly change overs from Winter to Summer Tyres
- Better performance than a Winter Tyre in the Summer and a Summer Tyre in the Winter
- Perfect for the UK great traction in wet or snow and reliable in the warmer months
Some tyres have M+S letters on the sidewall but are not true Winter Tyres, they are Summer Tyres but the manufacturer claims they perform better in Mud and Snow than the Standard Tyre.
Snowflake logo is the 3PMSF = 3 Peak Mountain Snow Flake For European law and safer driving during specified winter months, tyres must be M+S, All Season or 3PMSF tyres.
Winter tyres are designed to be at their optimal performance below 7 degrees, this can be from October to March in the UK. Winter tyres simply give more grip for braking, steering and accelerating in wet, mud and snowy road conditions. They can still be used in summer months but are not as efficient as standard tyres in the hotter months.
There is no mandatory law in the UK for Winter tyres, other European countries have Winter tyre laws you must check the specific ruling for each country. In the UK if you drive in the countryside, Highlands or rural areas it would be a wise decision to use Winter tyres, to provide more traction and deliver safer driving in mud or snowy conditions.
Winter tyres are designed for wet, cold, mud and snow road conditions, the rubber compound is different to a Summer tyre, in the Summer a Winter tyre will not be as efficient as a normal tyre. It may wear faster and not have the same traction and performance abilities. But can legally be used all year round in the UK.
This sounds like a great idea in essence however in practice it will unbalance the set up of your vehicle, the rear will have less grip than the front Winter tyres causing slide outs in corners or spin outs under braking. If you fit the Winter tyres on the rear and Summer on the front your vehicle may continue straight on when you turn into a corner. Neither of these results is desirable and is dangerous for you, your passengers, pedestrians, cyclists and any other road or footpath users.
Winter tyre compounds are softer and the tread has more sipes and faster water/slush evacuation than Summer tyres. Better grip, traction, braking and steering in harsh road conditions. Winter tyres are more effective below 7 degrees, this is not a sales gimmick from tyre manufacturers, it’s independently proven with strict tests before a tyre can display the 3 Peak Winter Mountain Snow Flake (3PMSF) logo on its sidewall.
All tyres have labelling grading the fuel economy so you can compare any brand tyre against a well known brand. Under inflated tyres is the main cause of using more fuel, The extra grip and softer compound in Winter tyres may result in lower mpg but generally mpg decreases in the colder months from slower driving speeds that lower the engines efficiency at burning fuel. The result is a marginally lower mpg but safer driving in harsh Winter road conditions when using Winter tyres.