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Why use winter tires?

From the moment when the thermometer drops below 7°C (44,6°F), a tire's performance is reduced. The purpose of winter tires is to give your vehicle the best possible grip in cold weather.

1. Why should I fit winter tires on my car?

It is recommended to fit winter tires between November and March inclusive. This recommendation is even more important for motorist who are likely to be driving in geographical areas where winter climate conditions are harsh. It is extremely important to have winter tires in top condition, because worn winter tires are of no use on snowy or icy surfaces. PNEUS ONLINE advises you to fit four winter tires (also called snow tires), in order to maintain good road holding in winter time and recommends that you change your winter tires when they have only 3.5 mm (0.14 in) of tread depth remaining.

1. Road holding

From the point where the temperature drops below 7°C (44,6°F), the tire no longer has the same properties and both tire and vehicle reactions are affected.

2. Braking and driveability

Because of its characteristically high number of grooves, the tire's adhesion is optimised and the braking distance at low temperatures is reduced.
Winter tires give better traction on snow and black ice, even to the heaviest vehicles (4x4s, commercial vehicles, etc.).

3. Safety

A statement from the authorities for road safety: A survey in 2005 shows that 38% of accidents in winter involve at least one vehicle with all-season tires. These vehicles are highly overrepresented in accidents, since it is estimated that before 2008, 90% of passenger vehicles ciculated with winter tires. The proportion of loss of control is higher when more vehicles involved are mounted with all-season tires.
Tires specifically designed for winter driving constitute a safe solution for winter travel. They are designed for maximum traction on snowy or icy surfaces.

2. What does a winter tire look like?

  1. A winter tire can be distinguished from a summer tire by the density of its rubber. Unlike with a summer tire, the rubber on a winter tire does not harden and therefore gives the tire a better grip on the road at very low temperatures.
  2. Because of the greater number of grooves, the traction of a winter tire will also be better than that of a summer tire when driving on an icy, snowy or wet road.
  3. In addition to the higher number of grooves, a snow tire is also equipped with deeper tread patterns on its contact surface, enabling it to shed mud and snow instantly.
  4. The transport national safety code defines the winter tire as follows:
    It's a tire that meets one or other of the following criteria:
    It is marked with the regulatory icon or one of the following indications:
    • "Arctic"
    • "Blizzard"
    • "Ice"
    • "LT"
    • "Snow", except that of "mud and snow"
    • "Stud"
    • "Winter"

    The regulatory icon represents a mountain with a snowflake overexposed on it. It is a six points snowflake whose height is at least half that of the highest peak. The profile of the mountain must be at least 15 mm (0.6 in) wide and 15 mm (0.6 in) high and contains three peaks, the middle one being the highest.

3. When is the use of chains necessary?

The purpose of chains is to penetrate deep into the snow layer and prevent it from accumulating on the tire which would result in it no longer being able to propel the vehicle.
Equipping your car with winter tires can avoid having to fit chains in 99% of cases.
They may only be used on snowy roads, whatever the season, and on sections of road equipped with B26 "special equipment compulsory"signs.



The manufacture of snow chains has been subject to special standards since 31 March 1986. However, the use of equipment acquired before this date is permitted.
Its use is not regulated. On the other hand, on sections with B26 signs, if "snow tires permitted"is not stated, drivers must use chains.


It is essential:

  • that you never drive at speeds above 25 k.p.h. with chains fitted.
  • Remove chains when there is no snow on the road at the risk of damaging both the wheel (tire, rim) and the vehicle itself (wheel arches, bodywork, etc.).

There is an alternative to the classic steel chain: the textile chain, recommended as ideal for narrow wheel arches.

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