How to recognize a true winter tire

The introduction of a legal marking related to performance has made the identification of winter tires more simple. The "Alpine" symbol, or the three-peak-mountain with snowflake (‘3PMSF’) came into force in November 2012 under EU Regulation 661/2009 on the Safety of Motor Vehicles. The 3PMSF can only be used if a tire passes a minimum required performance on snow - the so called “snow grip index”.*

“Mud and Snow” (either marked as M+S, M.S or M&S) has been used to indicate winter tires for many years. Although M+S has a legal definition*, it is not related to minimum performance requirements but has been widely used by tire manufacturers to indicate winter products.  M+S remains a permitted marking but while M+S tires have better snow traction than regular tires, they do not necessarily pass the legal snow grip threshold. 

True winter tires, carrying both M+S and 3PSMF markings, make an important safety contribution in winter conditions, particularly for cars and vans. Goodyear EMEA* strongly recommends that cars and light commercial vehicles get fitted with four proper winter tires as the colder months approach. Indeed fitting M+S tires in the winter is obligatory in some European countries [see section below]. As legislation with the new marking progressively enters into force, national winter tire laws are likely to extend to tires with both the M+S and three peak snowflake symbols.

For commercial vehicles, tires designed for winter conditions are beneficial mainly for mobility, by ensuring traction and hence preventing road blockages. Since the drive axle is the key one for traction of a commercial vehicle, the 3PSMF marking on the drive axle tires is of high importance. This recommendation is valid especially for the single drive axle of commercial vehicles above 44 tons.

* European Directive 92/23 relating to tires for motor vehicles and their trailers and to their fitting.