The big Reifen.de winter tyre guide
From when winter tyres are mandatory? How to tell a good winter tyres? And how can I prevent wear? Our large Reifen.de winter tyre guide gives detailed advice on all questions. Read everything you need to know to be ready for the cold months.
With our large winter tyres guide the dark season can not catch cold you. © Photo: iStockphoto.com / Photawa
Winterreifenpflicht: from O to O
When the light summer dresses are mothballed, and instead the thick jackets and warm boots walking forward again in the cabinet, it is also time, the car for the winter "clothe" - with matching winter tyres. But how was that again coinciding with the winter tyres mandatory? When and where the winter tyres are compulsory?
As a rule of thumb to remember: from O to O, ie from October to Easter, go best with winter tyres. However: In Germany, legislation provides for a so-called situational Winterreifenpflicht. This means that it depends on the situation, more specifically, on the climatic conditions, or winter tyres must be mounted mandatory.
Once wintry conditions prevail, winter tyres are in Germany qua law duty. But what exactly is meant by "winter conditions"? This too is in the highway code clearly stated. As "winter conditions" and thus trigger the obligation for snow tyres are:
- packed snow
- Ice or slippery frost
- black ice
To be sure not to be surprised by a sudden onset of winter, it is recommended that winter tyres to buy the latest in the autumn, and to raise with decreasing temperatures.
With a wheel change, saving you the workshop
Fitting tyres - how is that even possible? The installation of new tyres is a complicated task that should be left to a professional. Without special equipment, such a tyre change not be made. But there is an easy way to save themselves a trip to the repair shop. Instead of the difficult tyre change may also namely simply the whole wheel to be changed.
Many drivers also speak here of a tyre change - which is indeed intelligible, but technically not quite correct. Once wheels and tyres to be replaced in one, is in fact actually a wheel change meant. Such a wheel change is, in contrast to the tyre change, relatively easily made. Besides a jack and matching wrenches is for not much tools required. With a good guide for changing wheels every vehicle owner can thus be automatically here.
Stay the tyre on the rim, a wheel change is made quickly. © Photo: Lizzy Tewordt / pixelio.de
Summer and winter wheels ease the transition
The prerequisite is that not only two complete sets of tyres, but also a double set wheels is available: one for summer and one for a winter tyre. This is even doubly advantageous: not only can be done in-house the wheel changes so simple, even wintry rigors remain the Summer Wheels spared in this way.
Who puts on a dazzling performance value may be for example radiant for the summer alloy wheels down, and put in the winter to something more robust. Steel rims are namely far better for use in the cold season.
Alloy wheels provide a dazzling appearance. © Photo: iStockphoto.com / jacus
Must winter tyres are bought each year?
Do I need because every winter brand new winter tyres for my car? Do not worry - Winter tyres should survive a few seasons in the rule. Experts advise to replace the winter tyres after about four years with new ones. Several factors can cause the tyre quality declines: wear, aging of the material and tyre damage.
Is a certain wear limit is exceeded, there is no way more past the workshop. For old, worn or damaged tyres even posing a high risk potential. Who does not, however, buys new tyres locally, but ordered online in advance, but can expect a big savings.
But how do I know at all whether the winter tyres from last year are still fit for next winter? As far as the tyres seem to be ok superficially, pay attention to two things: tread depth and DOT number.
How old are my tyres? The DOT number indicates
Tyres are made mostly of rubber. Over time, the material hardens, resulting in a poorer grip - the tyres then no longer good grip on the road. That can be dangerous, is obvious. Whereas, even tyres that have never been driven, to be discarded after about six or seven years.
With snow tyres, the rubber compound is softer than summer tyres - that is at low or even zero temperatures advantageous. Should the material be hard now by false or simply stored for too long, the winter tyres lose an important property that it aligns perfectly to the winter. Therefore, even with tyres that are not in use, be sure the correct bearing to pay attention: dark, dry and cool individual tyres are standing, keep all the wheels lying and stacked.
But how do I know now how old my tyres are actually? Furthermore are the DOT number reliable information. It is stamped each tyre on the flank. Here can be found next to the DOT number all sorts of different numbers and abbreviation. For the age of the tyres only the last four, highlighted by a border figures are relevant. The first two digits reveal the calendar week, the last two the year of manufacture.
tyres that are already more than five years, are according to the law no longer new. Dealers are allowed such tyres, even if they are unused, just as used goods sale. However, precisely when buying winter tyres generally have been advised not to choose used tyres.
Can be read off the tyre age to the last four digits of the DOT number.
detect wear: Measure tread depth
To identify tyre wear at times, it is advisable to measure the tread depth at regular intervals. It is true that each tyre also has a so-called TWI, or Tread Wear Indicator. This abrasion indicator can be found next to an icon from small triangles and the symbol TWI on the upper sidewall of the tyre. Here are continuous webs can be seen, the tyre remains only a residual profile of 1.6 millimeters. He should now be changed urgently.
Although actually the highway code provides only a minimum tread depth before of just 1.6 millimeters - but experts agree that this is far too little. They recommend unanimously to mount new winter even with a remaining profile 4 millimeters.
To determine reliably whether the question 4 millimeters remaining tread are already reached, so it is unavoidable, regularly using a profile gauge to check the tyres. In a pinch, also helps a coin: If the edge concealed by the remaining profile, everything is in order. As soon as he has to be seen, the tyre must be replaced.
The following brief overview summarizes the most important information and tips for measuring the tread depth once again:
TWI on tyre wall
Profile meter or euro coin
The profile for winter tyres
Especially with winter tyres a good profile is particularly important. Finally, the tyres have to keep their grip not only in the wet but also in snow, slush and ice. For this they get from the manufacturers a special tread pattern is embedded.
A winter tyre profile consists of the following elements:
- profile ribs
- tread blocks
- profile blades
The profile ribs consist of multiple tread blocks. run between the blocks clearances, the tread grooves. Save where, apart from the material mixture, little difference between summer and winter tyres. However, the tread grooves in winter tyres are slightly wider, so that the snow can settle there. Namely, when the snow hits in the tyres on the snow of the road, resulting in a particularly good traction.
A special feature in the profile of winter tyres are also the slats: Small cuts in the tread blocks, often in zigzag shape. Thanks to this fine lamellae of winter tyres retains in slippery conditions a firm hold.
The profile of a winter tyre is characterized by wide tread grooves and fine sipes in the tread blocks.
Used winter tyres
Basically, regardless of the season, from the purchase of used tyres not to be recommended. It may seem tempting to reduce the high cost in this way somewhat. But both the age of the tyres as a well-preserved Tread play such a fundamental role in the security that no should be saved at the wrong end.
This is true even in a very significant extent for cars Winter tyres, finally, the cold season with snow, slush and ice very high demands on the tyres.
Used winter tyres can be a safety risk by tread wear and invisible Karkassenschäden.
Retreaded winter tyres
In the truck tyre segment, the practice is to be retreaded tyre widespread. The more affordable car tyres, this trend has not been able to enforce law. If motorists ever to retreaded tyres grip, but then there are usually more expensive to purchase winter tyres.
But what exactly does the term "remolded"? Under the tread of a tyre is its stable structure, the carcass. It consists of a rubber and textile fiber mixture and can be used again: If retreads therefore is simply the old replaced by a new tread, the carcass is retained.
This can lead to limitations of the power lead, durability and safety of the tyre: Even on the carcass can be invisible to the eye, damage is. The reluctance with clients over retreaded tyres on the day, so is not unfounded.
How do I recognize a good winter tyres?
The best and safest, driving is so high-quality, new tyres through the winter. But how can I recognize a good winter tyres? To navigate in the comfortable and safe areas, customers can check different quality features:
- Uniform symbols and markings of winter tyres
- Quality standards of certain brands and manufacturers
- Independent tyre tests
Who really wants to be sure to buy a good product, is best not just rely on one of these criteria, but keep all three in mind.
A good winter tyres should have in addition to the MS and the Alpine icon.
Labelling of winter tyres: Different quality standards
A first indication whether a tyre is at all suitable to fulfill the obligation for snow tyres, are the mandatory labeling as MS tyres. This can be recognized by its embossed on the flank MS shortcuts, which occurs in the following variations:
The MS-labeling is current control according to the minimum standard to be met by the tyre to make the Winterreifenpflicht episode. In concrete terms, who is driving in winter conditions with a tyre that does not carry the MS symbol, must pay a fine. Whether it is in the tyre to a summer, winter, or all-season tyres, in this case does not matter, it counts the correct labeling.
However, these rules might change soon. For the award of the MS-symbol is not subject to any quality criteria and not protected by law. To choose a really good winter tyres, the MS-mark is already insufficient.
Here customers are better advised to pay attention to the Alpine icon. Also called snowflake symbol, it shows the pictograph of a mountain with a snowflake. It is awarded by a US authority. Only tyres that can demonstrate an above-average traction, get the sign imprinted, their performance is monitored in tests. Anyone who buys a winter tyre with the Alpine symbol, can be sure that the tyre has grown wintry challenges.
Finding the best winter tyres
In addition, help independent tyre tests, as for example ADAC like or journals AutoBild or the Auto Motor Sport regularly perform to determine the best winter tyres for its own budget.
Often also brand loyalty pays off well because the first places such tests prove experience shows still mostly known premium brands such as Continental , Michelin and Pirelli . However, there are also at the top again and again surprise successes. In midfield is already a lot of movement - it is worthwhile to consult current reviews before buying.
In winter, measure tyre pressure weekly
If the right model is determined, and brought a complete set, should not a be noted: to fast to prevent wear and to increase your safety while driving, should the tyre pressure be checked regularly.
Especially in winter, this is particularly important because it can sink faster by the climatic conditions of pressure. Is it enough in the summer to measure the air pressure every two weeks, this should be done therefore weekly in winter. An appropriate device to measure the tyre pressure can be borrowed at any gas station.
Modern vehicles have become more and more on so-called automatic tyre pressure monitoring systems, which take you to check the tyre pressure. Those who drive such a car, of course, should still be careful that the system always works flawlessly. Because the wrong pressure can degrade the grip of the tyre and so will the risk of accidents.
About the correct values, which vary from vehicle to vehicle, giving the user of the vehicle and tyre pressure tables information.
Who has no automatic control system, should be measured in the winter a week even the tyre pressure. © iStockphoto.com / Niro Design
Well prepared for the winter
With the tips and advice of our great Reifen.de winter tyres counselor you are now optimally equipped for the cold season. If you heed all that snow, slush and ice can at least your tyres no longer harm.