As leaves turn brown, days become shorter, and the air feels crisper, you know winter is well and truly on its way. That means it must be time to switch your vehicle's wheels to winter tyres. You probably know that winter tyres – sometimes referred to as snow tyres – are a mandatory requirement across several European regions, but when and where does the change become compulsory?
Find out when you should change the tyres on your vehicle – or scroll down to see where in Europe winter tyres are legally required.
When temperatures drop, winter tyres ensure far greater vehicle road safety compared to summer tyres. You may choose them voluntarily, so you can rely on your tyres in snow and icy conditions. However, if you are still unsure about making the switch, the map below shows which European countries have winter tyre laws making them mandatory. You can recognise winter tyres by special markings on the sidewall. So far, the well-known M+S mark was sufficient as a winter tyre label. The 3PMSF symbol (snowflake) is mandatory for winter or all-weather tyres produced since January 1, 2018. During the transition period until September 30, 2024, M+S tyres are sufficient to comply with winter tyre laws as listed below. Select your country from the list to check the exact requirements.
* 3PMSF symbol stands for 3 Peak Mountain Snowflake symbol
Most European countries have some regulations either making winter tyres compulsory or requiring situational use of winter tyres. As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended to use snow tyres between October 1 and April 30, or from Autumn to Easter. However, in some countries, the winter tyre laws tell you exactly when to make seasonal tyre changes. If you’re unsure, speak to your local tyre specialist, they’ll be up to date on the latest requirements and changes.
Whether you have all-season tires or winter tyres, there are other things to consider to ensure optimum vehicle safety and tyre performance in snow. Again, every country has slight variations, so check the list or ask your tyre specialist. For example, in some areas, winter tyre tread depth must be a minimum of 1.6 mm, while in others, tyre tread depth should be 4 mm. Always consider the legal regulations of your country and take into account that tyre performance, especially on wet surfaces, decreases with tread depth. To ensure reliable traction and excellent grip on snow and ice-covered surfaces, your tyres should always have sufficient tread. Additionally, your tyres should have the correct tyre pressure to ensure your vehicle can brake in snow and ice with good traction, grip and handling.