How to Choose the Best Winter Tires

Tires Winter

As the cold season approaches, winter tires are essential. They offer significantly more safety on snow, mud, and ice. No wonder winter tires are compulsory in many countries. But there are many things to consider when buying winter tires.

When it comes to winter tires, the right time is doubly important. Only those who switch to winter tires in good time are immune to the sudden onset of winter. It is best to make an appointment at the workshop or with the tire service for the beginning of October. In this way, you can drive safely in any case and save yourself later stress when looking for workshop appointments.

In addition to the change time, the time of purchase of winter tires can also make a difference. And for your wallet. In spring or summer, the demand for winter tires from dealers is practically zero. There may still be leftovers somewhere that you can buy below the market price.

Essential tips for choosing winter tires

Play it safe with our tips for choosing winter tires.

Research: It's worth it

When choosing winter tires, many drivers turn to any tire dealer in their area. But this approach is rarely the best in terms of price. With a little bit of research and very little effort, you can save a lot of money.

Manufacturer: Quality has a name

Quality costs more. And if you buy cheap, you pay little but often. This is also the case with winter tires. Those who use well-known brands such as Pirelli, Michelin, Goodyear, Dunlop, Continental, or Bridgestone often pay more, but can almost always be sure of excellent quality.

In addition to premium products, many of the major manufacturers also produce good quality tires, which are sold under names such as Uniroyal, Semperit, Barum (all Continental), Fulda (Dunlop or Goodyear), Firestone, Dayton (Bridgestone), etc. Tires from these brands are often a good price compromise.

Winter tire size: This is how winter tires fit

When buying winter tires, make sure you have the right tire size. You can find out the right tire size for your vehicle in the vehicle documents. You can read detailed instructions for determining the right tire size here.

With winter tires it is advisable not to choose the widest possible width of the tires. In fact, winter tires grip better on snow and ice when the tires are narrower. After all, more weight rests on the tread and the special profile of the winter tire can develop its full power.

The load and speed index must also match the car (can be seen from 89 H in the picture below). H denotes a tire that is permitted up to 210 km/h. A winter tire with the T marking would only be permitted up to 190 km/h. Vehicles that can drive more than 240 km/h on the road require winter tires with speed index V. If the maximum speed of your vehicle exceeds the speed index of your winter tires, you may only drive them if you have a special speed sticker in the field of vision of the stick on the driver.

Used Winter Tires: How to recognize old winter tires

Bargain prices for winter tires are always being offered both at local tire dealers and online retailers. If the price is too good to be true, be sure to inquire about the age of the tire. Even unused tires lose quality every year and perform worse. After 10 years at the latest, tires are no longer usable for the road.

You can use the DOT number (just behind the tire size on the sidewall of the tire) to determine the exact month of manufacture of a tire. For example, the DOT number 2315 means that the tire was produced in the 23rd week of 2015.

If an online retailer does not provide any information on the age of a tire, it is better to keep your hands off the tire. Ideally, you only buy winter tires from current production or from the past year.

Marking: This is how every winter tire must be marked

The winter tire requirement stipulates that winter tires belong on the car as soon as there is snow, ice, or frost on the road. Winter tires are identified by the marking M+S (mud and snow).

Test results: The best winter tires prevail

Year after year, manufacturers bring new, improved winter tires onto the market. Automobile clubs and magazines carry out extensive tire tests and create rankings for this occasion. In order to get really good quality when buying new winter tires, it is essential that you orientate yourself towards the top places in these major tire tests.

Tread depth - Under 4 millimeters it gets slippery

If you put on heavily used winter tires, the wintry drive can quickly become a slippery slope. The ability of the tread grooves to drain and absorb water and snow decreases with every millimeter of tread depth lost.

4 millimeters increase braking distances on winter tires by an average of 10%. Then it gets even harder. Most manufacturers strongly advise against tread depths below two millimeters for winter tires.

The tread depth of a winter tire can be quickly measured with a coin. The edge of the coin is 4 millimeters wide. You are safe when this edge is no longer visible.

Beware of cheap winter tires

As already described in the tips above, well-known manufacturers usually also produce the best winter tires. Since these quality tires are often significantly more expensive, many drivers fall back on cheap brands (usually from the Far East).

These no-name winter tires are not exclusively inferior. But unfortunately many do. Inferior material mixtures and processing ensure poor traction in snow and mud. It is better to trust branded quality here. If the braking distances become longer, the cheap tires can end up being really expensive. Find out more about the price segments for winter tires and how much money new winter tires cost.

Buy winter tires with matching rims

Remember to buy your winter tires directly with matching winterized rims. Once mounted, the tire change is faster and the tires run less risk of being damaged during the change. You can find the right aluminum rims for all seasons in the rim configurator.

Time for new winter tires? Find everything you need to know about winter tires on our website.

Light Truck/SUV Studless Ice & Snow

Resilient tires fit for combating extreme winter conditions. With sensible treadwear ratings, these tires contain optimized tread patterns that offer incredible snow traction. The treads enhance handling and permit high-speed driving. They are available in different sizes and have been designed to...

Studless Ice & Snow

Specially manufactured for extreme winter conditions. They offer maximum traction and satisfactory handling over snow. The tread design is meant to increase the biting edges and use plies that enhance traction. They are modest when driven over dry roads and are available in multiple sizes.

Light Truck/SUV Studdable Winter / Snow

Studdable winter tires are allowed in specific states. The treads of these tires can accommodate metallic studs to boost traction on snowy roads. The tires provide superb protection against hydroplaning and have tread patterns that maximize biting edges to enhance grip on slushy surfaces.

Performance Winter / Snow

Low-profile tires tailored for perfect traction on dry and wet roads. With excellent treadwear ratings, the tires offer a quality ride with excellent handling capabilities. The manufacture of the tires uses high-quality technology and materials to guarantee safe driving over summer conditions only.

Light Truck/SUV Performance Winter / Snow

Tires offer good traction and enhance handling over snow or ice. They have higher load ratings. Available in T, H and V speed ratings. Suitable for use on SUVs, Crossovers and light trucks. They feature wider wheel diameters and are easy to handle at high speeds.

Studdable Winter / Snow

These tires incorporate metallic studs on top of the resilient tread patterns to enhance traction on snowy surfaces. The addition of studs is acceptable in selected states. The tires use special compounds that improve their flexibility under cold conditions. Tread design facilitates maximum snow...