Their performance is better than any other type of footwear on any surface whose temperature is close to zero degrees Celsius, a figure that we easily find in peninsular winters.

But don’t confuse winter tires with studded snow tires. The former does not have the metal studs sticking out of the tread, which provides traction in icy conditions. Instead, they are made from specialized rubber compounds with particular tread patterns that provide better traction in more types of cold weather conditions. Think of the countries of Northern Europe. In them, drivers travel with these tires without having to worry about whether they will get stuck.

What makes winter tires special?

Your materials and tread design

The rubber used in winter tires needs cold temperatures to perform at its best. Most manufacturers employ silica compound that helps the flexible rubber stay (instead of hardening) when temperatures drop below 7 ° C. Also, the tread design features deep grooves for better traction on snow. The pattern has more tracks, which are typically broader and more numerous than on all-season and summer tires.

Its resistance to low temperatures

The primary defining characteristic of winter tires is their ability to withstand low temperatures. By its design, the rubber of a tire tends to harden, thus losing its grip properties. If they are subjected to shallow temperatures and intense use, they become cracked, and part of their tread may even disappear. However, in winter tires, the rubber mixture they use makes the rubber much more flexible, allowing them to resist more and maintain their properties in low temperatures.

Your grip and handling in snowy conditions

In addition to the compound, what makes these tires work well on snow or ice is the large number of grooves or micro-grooves they have in the tread. In the case of some tires, they can be up to 2,500 microgrooves. The operation of these is simple: some impact on others, stimulating them to open and undo the snow, thus achieving a better grip when facing slippery surfaces. In this case, remember to start in the most extended possible gear ratio and play with the clutch.

Your best stopping distance

Winter-marked tires resist warping better thanks to shoulder blocks and crowns. This results in improved braking forces and better grip, thus reducing the distance to a stop. A winter tire manages to reduce the braking distance by up to 5 meters on a wet surface at speeds of between 90 and 120 km / h and up to 11 m on snowy surfaces at 30 km / h compared to summer tires. Of course, when the drawing’s depth is less than 4 mm, you have to change them.

Its resistance to the aquaplaning effect

In these tires, the grooves and grooves are hydrodynamic; that is, they are more profound and specially designed to favor water’s evacuation. It allows for improved traction even on melted snow. You have to be more attentive to those rafts and plates that form on the road, and the speed at which you circulate, because the faster you go, the less time there is to evacuate.

Are winter tires the only alternative for the cold?

Last but not least, say that we are used to “mild” winters in most of the peninsula in Spain. It means that winter tires are not the only ones suitable for driving in cold and snowy conditions. Although all-season tires are not considered purely winter, they are developed to offer good performance in low temperatures. They have the mountain pictogram with three peaks with a snowflake that enables them to do so.


In short, we can say that winter tires offer optimal performance below 7 ° C. Similarly, they are prepared to promote better traction, grip, braking, maneuverability, and resistance to aquaplaning. All are marked with the designation M + S ( Mud and Snow; mud and snow) and with the pictogram of a mountain with three peaks with a snowflake inside. And if you are not a regular in areas where a lot of snowfalls, a set of tires in all weather can be a great alternative.

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