When you drive in winter conditions you will need to use tires that are approved for winter use. This means that they will need to have the severe service emblem also known as 3PMSF-symbol from the three peak mountain snowflake sign that is depicted on the sidewall of the tires. It is not sufficient to use tires that have M+S marking on the sidewall that just indicates that the manufacturer has added that due to the tread designed can handle mud and snow. It doesn’t mean that they are able to pass the stringent performance criteria for severe conditions which is the case for tires that are approved for winter use. Tires that have M+S marking can still get hard at low temperatures as the rubber compound is optimized for warm temperatures.
Tires that should be used during the winter season if you have low temperatures, below freezing and you have snow and or ice should be approved for winter use. The tires that are approved are the winter tires also known as snow tires and then you have some all-weather tires. They will all carry the 3PMSF symbol indicates that they have passed some performance tests when it comes to snow. This means that they will perform very well in winter conditions. Winter tires are available as studded tires or non-studded tires, where the studded ones might not be available or allowed for use in all states or provinces. The all-weather tires are tires that can be used all-year around but differently than all-season tires are approved for winter use. All-season tires shouldn’t be used during winter conditions, where you will need to change to tires that are approved if you aim to drive during the winter.
Tires that have M+S marking might fool people into believing that they will perform very well in winter conditions, but this is not always the case and most often it is not. They will perform much worse than tires that have passed performance tests and have the 3PMSF-marking. If you aim to drive during winter conditions, then you will need to find tires that have the severe service emblem on the sidewall of the tires. Tires that are able to provide grip and safety on snow, ice and slush.
Regardless what you have heard before or believe, for a tire to be safe during winter conditions you will need to have a winter approved tire. You can use dedicated winter tires that are only designed for winter use and should be paired with a pair of all-season tires. You can also go for an all-weather tire that has been approved for winter use as these tires can handle all the different weather conditions and can be used all year round. So even though the concept has been a bit confusing in the past, I hope that it is clearer now.
For more information regarding tires that are approved for winter use, visit: https://www.nokiantires.com/