The modern non-studded tyres are a great choice as winter tyres

When it comes to winter tyres you are often left with the decision if you should choose studded tyres or a non-studded tyres. Both having the 3PMSF-symbol on the sidewall of the tyres, indicating that they have passed the performance tests for severe conditions on snow and ice. Winter tyres are optimized for winter conditions and you should therefore only use them during the winter period, so you will need to also have a set of summer tyres that you can change to for the part of the year when you don’t have winter conditions. So, you use summer tyres during the warm periods of spring and autumn and then during the whole summer.

From performance point of view, they both perform similarly on snow, as on snow the tread pattern will have the biggest impact on the performance. When it comes to ice, the studded tyres, that have metal studs protruding from the tread, perform better. They are able to create better grip with the metal studs that dig into the ice. The non-studded will use innovative tread designs to create grip and they also have added grip particles that can help create the necessary grip. They can both prevent slushplaning and ensure that snow doesn’t build up in the tread of the tyres. This is similar to tyres that have the M+S marking indicating that the tread is optimized for mud and snow so that it doesn’t get stuck in the tread, however these tyres have not passed the severe service performance tests if they don’t have the 3PMSF-symbol on the sidewall.

You might wonder why you shouldn’t select a studded tyre?

The studded tyres are great on ice, but have similar performance on snow, so if you are not mainly driving on ice, you might feel that the non-studded tyres will be good enough. If you plan to drive to other countries you are much more flexible with the non-studded tyres, as they are allowed in all countries, while the studded are forbidden in some countries, which can limit the countries that you can visit and also pass through. The studded tyres also have some other restrictions based on countries where most countries limit the time period that the studded tyres can be used, so you have to make sure that you don’t mount them too early or have them on too long after the winter season.

If both tyres are allowed, then it is often up to personal preference. For some people a tyre are not winter tyres if they don’t have studs. This type of mindset can be difficult to change, even though the non-studded tyres have improved so much over the years that they are now equally good on snow and almost as good on ice. Both can be used safely, but if you want the best possible grip on ice, then you should choose studded tyres. If you are flexible, then choose the non-studded tyres as you have more flexibility.

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