When should you change to winter tyres?

Summer has passed, temperature has dropped, roads are often wet and slippery. What tyres should we drive on – winter, all-season or still the summer ones? When should we change them – only when the snow is falling or when the temperature falls below 7°C? We will debunk a few myths about tyres and help you make the right decision.

1. Should we wait to change tyres until it is cold and snowing?

When the temperature drops below 7-10°C in the morning, summer tyres’ traction tends to get worse. In such weather conditions every year, even in cities, there are hundreds of car crashes and accidents. When it starts to snow it will be even worse! It is time to change tyres! We should only seek assistance of professional workshops – when removing tyres from the rim with old, damaged tools, it is easy to damage the tyre bead and break its bead core.

2. Will winter tyres hold good in rain?

When driving on a wet road at 90 km/h at 2ºC the braking distance on winter tyres is about 11 meters shorter than of summer tyres[1]. It's more than two lengths of a premium class car. Thanks to winter tyres during autumn’s foul weather you will brake faster on wet surfaces – and that can save somebody’s life! Do not be late this year! It's time to change tyres!



3. I have all-season tyres

If we want to use all-season tyres, then we should only choose the ones with winter homologation – marked with three-peak-mountain with snowflake symbol. Only this designation guarantees that we are dealing with tyres adapted to winter in terms of tread and soft rubber compound. Winter tyres provide traction at low temperatures and have a tread that effectively drains away water, snow and mud.

4. Are tyres only marked with M+S symbol winter tyres

Unfortunately, this is a misconception that can have tragic consequences. The commonly encountered M+S symbol only denotes tyres with a tread for mud and snow, and is given by the manufacturers in a virtually discretionary fashion. However, these tyres do not have homologation and all the features of winter tyres. The only official symbol for winter homologation is the Alpine symbol!


5. Are all-season tyres cheaper?

Within 4-6 years we will use two sets of tyres – regardless of whether they will be two sets of all-season tyres with winter homologation or one set of summer and one of winter tyres. Driving on tyres dedicated to given season allows one to minimize their wear and significantly increases the level of safety. You will brake faster on winter tyres when the weather gets cold – also on wet roads!

– Many people delay the change of tyres until first frosts or snowfall. That poses a huge risk! For our safety, we should drive on winter tyres when the temperature falls below 7°C in the morning. At such temperatures, summer tyres become harder and do not provide adequate grip – the difference in braking distance compared to winter tyres can be even over 10 meters, and these are two lengths of a big car! Climate data obtained from the Institute of Meteorology and Water Management shows that for almost half of the year temperatures and precipitation in Poland preclude the possibility of safe driving on summer tyres. We, therefore, have the choice between winter and all-season tyres with winter approval. It is not worth to skimp on safety - the European Commission report proves that the use of winter tyres reduces the risk of an accident by as much as 46 percent[2] stresses Piotr Sarnecki, director general of Polish Tyre Industry Association (PTIA).

[1] Pneuband

[2] European Commission, Study on some safety-related aspects of tyre use, December 2014

Source: Polish Tyre Industry Association