Winter tires are distinguished by summer tread, which is deeper in winter tires and has a different pattern and additional markings on the side walls.
Markings on the side walls
The easiest way to recognize a winter tire is to look for the symbol consisting of three mountain peaks and a snowflake (3PMSF) on the side surface of the tire, as well as the letters M and S (denoting mud and snow).
The M + S symbol has been used by manufacturers for many years to distinguish winter tires from summer ones.
The winter tire tread is deeper, which allows snow and mud to accumulate in its cavities. The contact of snow on tires with snow surfaces significantly increases their grip and this is what deep treads are for. That is why it is so important to replace winter tires before the tread depth reaches 1.6 mm, which is the minimum set by law. It is recommended to replace it at 4 mm.
Tread pattern and tire composition
The winter tire tread is also distinguished by its design, which consists of a large number of narrow gaps / grooves in the tread blocks. These mesh, biting into snow and ice, thereby increasing traction and accelerating braking.
The fourth distinguishing factor is the tire composition. Winter tires contain more natural rubber than summer tires, which means that they remain soft at temperatures below + 7⁰C, which facilitates grip when driving in cold, wet, snowy or icy weather conditions.