Buying tyres for the winter season – what should we pay attention to?

Has the time come for tyre change? How to choose the right tyre? How should be they be marked? Polish Tyre Industry Association reminds drivers what they should look for when buying tyres.

1. Do I need another set of tyres?

If cracks or damage to sidewalls are visible on your current tyres or the tread is too shallow, it is time to think about a new tyre set with winter homologation.

2. Check if there is the “Alpine symbol” on the tyre


The “Alpine' symbol” is the only official symbol for winter homologation – only this symbol guarantees that the tyre is a winter one and has the much softer, winter rubber compound, which ensures good grip in low temperatures and its tread effectively disperses water, snow and mud. This also applies to all-season tyres – if we chose to buy this type of tyres, we must ensure that they are winter homologated, that is marked with the Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake Symbol.

3. Winter or all-season tyres with winter approval?



All season tyres with winter homologation have a much softer rubber compound and multifunctional tread, which translates into a better grip in the winter and greater safety than in the case of summer tyres. But we do need to remember that they’re only a compromise – even all-season premium tyres will not be as good as summer tyres in the summer or as good as winter tyres in the winter. On winter tyres you will brake faster when gets cold – even on a wet road!

4. Do not delay tyre change!

Already at 10ºC and below winter tyres have an advantage over summer tyres. It is due to the much softer and more elastic rubber compound and the tread pattern used the winter tyres. When temperature gets lower summer tyres become harder and braking distance gets much longer. When driving on a wet road at 90 km/h at 2ºC the braking distance on winter tyres is about 11 meters shorter than on summer tyres[1]. It is best to change tyres when the temperature drops under 7ºC in the morning – choose a professional automotive workshop, because it is not worth risking tyre damage by going to random, often only a seasonal auto repair shops. Do not be late this year! It is time to change tyres!

5. Read the label

There is an energy label on every brand-new tyre. They inform about 3 important parameters:

The difference in braking distance between class A and G tyres in the case of braking on wet surface at 80 km/h can be up to 18 meters[2]. The difference between class A and G in the case of fuel efficiency can be up to 7,5% in the amount of consumed fuel.

6. Used tyres pose a huge threat

Buying used tyres is only an apparent saving. Even if the depth of the tread is correct (1,6 mm minimum) we often do not know how the tyre was previously used. Driving with under-inflated tyres for several hundred of kilometres is enough to damage the tyre’s internal layers. We also do not know how the tyre was stored by the previous owner. Bad storing can have a negative impact on the properties of the rubber compound. New tyres are, first of all, an investment in safety. Such tyres will also serve us much longer.

– When choosing winter tyres, we should pay attention to their size, read the label and check if they have European homologation marked by the “Alpine symbol”. Such tyres go through many tests approving their driving performance in winter conditions – which ensures maximum safety. It is also important that we buy unused tyres. However, this does not mean that they should be produced, for example, last month. An unused tyre that is a couple of years old is just as good as a tyre produced yesterday or a few months ago. Operation is the main factor affecting the life of tyres, not the storage time – adds Piotr Sarnecki, general director of the Polish Tyre Industry Association (PTIA).


[1] Pneuband

[2] Measurement in in accordance with rules introduced by Regulation WE 1222/2009

Source: Polish Tyre Industry Association