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26 November 21

Does My Fleet Need Winter Tyres

Did You Know Winter Tyre Rules Changed in July 2020? 

November is the month when vehicles driving in Germany and Austria must have winter tyres and that legal requirement remains until April. In the UK tyres more suited to winter conditions are not legally required but they can be fitted voluntarily.

Additionally, there is a legal minimum tread depth of 1.6 millimetres, however, for safety reasons in Germany – as in Austria – a minimum of 4 millimetres is recommended.

Also in Europe ,an earlier standard set in January 2018 established that only tyres with the Alpine symbol are permitted in winter conditions. Tyres purchased before then without the symbol can still be used provided they can be validated as before the date (using the 4 digit code, week number and year as 2 digits) which will still have the  M + S code which are no longer sufficient. Manufacturers can decide for themselves whether to put the letters M (mud) or S (snow) on their tyres. But these terms say nothing about the performance of the tyres in winter conditions.

If travelling in Europe, care should be taken as the M&S symbols may appear on summer tyres too, only the Alpine symbol gives more specific assurance.  The symbol is reserved only for tyres that conform to a minimum standard of grip in winter conditions (snow grip index).
Winter Tyres Alpine Symbol

The rules don’t apply to trailers and caravans as they are not self-propelled . Only the vehicle that is towing them must comply to the  German or Austrian standards.

Commercial vehicles and buses weighing more than 3500 kg  which will include motorhomes, must be fitted with winter tyres on both the driving axle and the steering axle in Germany when winter conditions apply. Before this date, winter tyres were only compulsory on the drive axle.

What are winter tyres and will winter tyres make your fleet or vehicle safer here in the UK?

The cold weather is coming, and it won’t be long before the snow and ice hit the roads, making driving difficult for everyone. Most tyre dealers in the UK would probably not recommend changing to winter tyres  due to a combination of cost and storage space but with the changes and fluctuations we are experiencing with extreme weather, they may be a consideration for some.

Winter tyres are tyres designed specifically for cold weather as the rubber compound remains more supple in colder temperatures,  giving better grip on ice and snow.  Regular tyres with harder rubber compounds become even harder when cold providing less traction.

In addition, the tread pattern is different designed to grip more by gathering snow in the grooves.

By contrast in warmer weather that same tread pattern and compound creates a greater level of  friction which makes them less efficient and surprisingly can increase the braking distance and less grip on bends too.  The combination of these factors results in a higher level of wear.

As a fleet operator, if you do switch to Winter tyres and if Tyrenet is your emergency truck tyre replacement service, then it would be a good idea to let us know the specification and then we can share that with the network so that common commercial tyres can be stocked by more dealers, making them quicker and easier to replace.

As a result of lack of demand for winter tyres here in the UK, few tyre dealers hold stock of winter tyres making the average 24 hour mobile or emergency tyre fitting service unable to get a matching tyre quickly and in the case of Tyrenet, our aim to get you back on the road in 90 minutes would become a challenge.

As usual, we would trawl all of the emergency local tyre fitters  to find the truck or van tyre replacement you need to provide the fastest tyre replacement possible.

Our team and network of dealers will be happy to advise on new truck tyres that you may need now or in the future and our mobile truck tyre fitters will be able to fit them as a one off or as part of a commercial tyre maintenance programme.

Our objective is to provide a tyre fitting service that can boast ‘any tyre, any where  any time’ but sometimes we’ll need a bit of help and preparation if we are to maintain our stated aim of getting you back on the road in 90 minutes.

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Be back on the road within 90mins