WINTER TYRES: WHAT THEY ARE, CHARACTERISTICS AND DIFFERENCE FROM CONVENTIONAL TYRES
With the arrival of the last months of the year and the cold, the snow and frosts take a leading role on the roads in some areas of the country.It is then when the use of anti-slip systems, such as chains or winter tyres, becomes necessary in order to reduce, as far as possible, the accidents caused by these inclement weather.
Although the use of this type of tyres is still rare in Spain, if we compare it with other countries in which they are mandatory, there are increasingly drivers who opt for this option instead of the well-known chains. The reason is simple: the chains involve a more complicated and tedious assembly than the use of these specialized tires.
What qualities and characteristics do these tires have?
Winter tyres have characteristics that make them suitable for temperatures below 7ºC and for adapting to icy roads, with snow or rain, improving grip.
Are manufactured to withstand the cold, with a material more flexible and soft than that of conventional tires.This material retains its properties, preventing the rubber from hardening when faced with very low temperatures.
In addition, these tyres cover a very important aspect with respect to road safety: The design of its tread, with a deeper and trimmed design, allows greater traction and adhesion to the asphalt, thus achieving an improvement in the vehicle’s trajectory and braking in unfavorable conditions.
Types of snow tyres
Distinguish between two types of tires.According to AFANE (Agrupación de Fabricantes de Neumáticos), we can find specially designed tires for this winter time and others that we could call the “All seasons“, suitable for any type of climate.
The good thing about riding this type of wheels is that you will not only be able to use them when the asphalt is frozen, or with the presence of snow or water on the road, but also allow their use in favorable weather conditions.
However, although you can use winter tyres at any time of the year, they are not recommended when the cold passes and the good weather and summer arrive, as these will gradually lose their effectiveness.If you want to ride tires for the whole year, you can opt for the other option mentioned.
Identification of winter tyres
This type of certified tires we can identify them with a symbol on their surface. This symbol shows a drawing of a mountain with three peaks, in whose interior appears a snowflake.
As indicated by the DGT (Dirección General de Tráfico), if we have this type of winter tires, we can dispense with using the chains and save ourselves the annoying process of assembly.
But it is important not to confuse them with the M&S (“Mud & Snow“), which are the wheels that carry most SUVs. If the tyres are M&S, these letters will be drawn, but if they are not accompanied by the symbol described above, the use of chains will still be necessary.
Winter tyres in the ITV (MOT) and recommendations
When you are installing winter tyres, you should bear in mind something important: you can go down to a speed code of the approved tyres for the vehicle, provided that is not less than Q (160km/h).If you have changed the wheels of your car for this winter and have a lower speed code, by law you must indicate the speed limit of these tyres mounted with a label on the vehicle, either on the windshield or inside.
We should clarify that the use of these snow tyres is not mandatory. Therefore, wearing this type of wheels in winter is not among the requirements to pass the ITV.
Its use is recommended to improve the adhesion and the behavior of the vehicle in front of these adverse conditions of the road and to increase the road safety.