Why dedicated truck winter tyres?
Truck winter tyres are specifically designed for operating in challenging weather conditions. Avoiding road stoppages has significant economic bonuses such as preventing delayed deliveries, spoilt goods, etc. and contribute to safety and operating in winter conditions. This is why truck winter tyre fitment on drive axles is mandatory in several European countries.
Truck winter tyres ensure that vehicle performance is optimised during the winter season, particularly when roads are affected by snow and ice. Tyres react differently according to temperature, so specific compounds and tread patterns are needed for such conditions. Good grip is of course essential for steering and braking control as well as traction. A more aggressive tread pattern in combination with a tread compound having the right characteristics is necessary, not only for good grip in snow but also on ice and to efficiently clear surface water.
The marking currently used on tyre sidewalls to differentiate winter tires from standard ones is M+S (also M.S or M&S), as stipulated by EU legislation. On November 1, 2012 UNECE Regulation 117 made a new marking official in the EU – the ‘Alpine’ symbol, or the 3-peak-mountain snowflake (3PMSF). Unlike the M+S marking, the 3PMSF can only be legally used if the tire meets a minimum performance threshold requirement on snow, the so called ‘snow grip index’. Currently M+S remains a permitted marking in most countries, but not legally linked to a minimum guaranteed performance in winter conditions. M+S tires have better snow traction than standard tires but do not necessarily pass the snow grip threshold legal requirement to qualify for the new 3-peak-mountain snowflake identification.