Winter tires are best with a flake symbol

ADAC tire test: It is best to use winter tires with a flake symbol, avoid accidents and protect your health.

Just in time for the start of winter tires, the weather conditions on Germany's roads are bad. As of now, winter tires in Germany include tires with the “M + S” or “M&S” seal. The abbreviation denotes "mud and snow" and indicates that the tires are weather-compliant in accordance with the law. It is still unclear what M + S tires really are. There are currently no clear regulations as to what the tires actually have to do. Any manufacturer can affix such a sign without any legal regulation. Reason enough for the ADAC to take a closer look and to carry out a test.

According to the ADAC winter tire test, three cheap tires from China with the rating "poor" failed. For this reason, the automobile club advises the best to use products with the snowflake symbol. These are produced in accordance with the legal standards of the US road traffic authority NHTS. The regulations in the USA are more far-reaching than in Germany. The tires have to go through extensive tests and have minimum properties for mud, ice and snow. A uniform EU regulation is only envisaged for 2014.

As a consumer, you can see at a glance at the tread pattern whether the tire actually withstands the weather conditions. Winter tires usually have a large number of sipes on the tread up to the tire shoulder. It should be noted that there are fine but zigzag cuts in the profile blocks. These are responsible for the liability in ice and snow. However, you can not see for yourself how the mixture of the rubber is made. The material should be softer than the summer tires.

If you do not buy winter tires in time, you not only endanger your health from possible accidents, but also face severe fines of up to 80 euros. For this reason, the rush for retailers is currently undiminished. Since winter tires are currently in short supply, consumers should make sure that they do not get old tires rolled on. However, you can easily tell the tire age from the DOT number. This number is stamped on the side of the tire. You can see a four-digit series of numbers, around 0710, which is the seventh month of 2010. You should definitely check the age of the tires before buying, because the scrappage bonus and the long winter in the previous year almost completely emptied the bearings. Only now are dealers being supplied with new tires. A set of winter tires costs around 350 to 400 euros. (sb)

Photo credit: Dominik Pöpping /

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