Explanation & Advice

Symbols on winter tyres

You can recognize winter tyres by their pattern, but also by the snowflake symbol. In 2010 the snowflake symbol (supported with official text) is officially recognized by the European Union. Eventually the snowflake symbol will replace the M+S mark (Mud & Snow) on winter tyres. Nevertheless, all the current winter tyres with M+S marking and with the snowflake symbol have to be out of the market. In most of the European countries all tyres with M+S and M&S marking are legally accepted as winter tyres. This means that all tyres with M+S marking (including for example 4×4 tyres and SUV-tyres) are legally winter tyres. In practice, tyres with only M+S marking do perform significant less in winter circumstances. Winter tyres with snowflake symbol are also available for SUVs and 4×4-vehicles.

VACO-advice: tyres with snowflake symbol and M+S mark

VACO advices drivers to purchase winter tyres that are provided with a snowflake symbol and M+S symbol. Tyres with the snowflake symbol meet requirements for grip on snow in practical tests of the European Union for grip on snow and these tyres have more traction on snowy surfaces and on slippery roads than tyres without this symbol.

Tyre pressure

Rubber is porous. Therefore, tyres are never completely air and gas tight: a tyre loses approximately 0.1 bar of pressure per month. If you drive with tyres under the correct pressure this distorts the tyre and therefore causes increased rolling resistance. Consider the pressure in bicycle tyres. Anyone riding on soft tyres must pedal much harder in order to move forward. This extra generation of heat can overheat the tyres, increasing the risk of a blowout.

Influence tyre pressure on the lifetime of a tyre

Insufficient tyre pressure also results in increased tyre wear. The diagram shows 30% insufficient pressure increases the wear by no less than 50%. So an extra check cannot do any harm. Ask your VACO tyre specialist for advice.

What is the correct tyre pressure?

The required tyre pressure depends on the tyre size. This is usually stated on the door post of the driver’s door, the inside of the fuel tank cap or on the tyre pressure tables at filling stations.

Check your tyres when they are COLD. When you have driven for some time the tyres become warm and the pressure increases. So check your tyres before you drive or first allow them to cool off for 15 minutes. And remember the reserve tyres.

Tyre Pressure Measurement System (TPMS)

There are currently measuring systems available that constantly monitor your tyre pressure. This is called Tyre Pressure Measurement System or TPMS. These TPMS are available separately and can be built into the tyres or onto the valve of your caravan subsequently. This system warns you when the tyre pressure drops below the recommended pressure, thereby informing you when the tyre pressure is too low and that you must return them to the correct pressure. Go to your VACO tyre specialist for professional advice.

Source: VACO

The European legislation on winter tyres and snow chains is constantly changing. The rules vary from country to country, and even the date of manufacture of tyres can play an important role. Branch association VACO keeps a close eye on the regulations and has mapped out the current obligations in an overview.

You can download here the latest survey of the VACO Dutch Industry Association:

Legislation on winter tyre and snow chains by VACO

This survey consists of the following parts:

  1. Focused information about the winter tyre legislation in Germany, France, Italy, Austria and Switzerland;
  2. Legislation winter tyres Europe for pcr, van and light commercial vans (≤ 3.500 kg);
  3. Legislation winter tyres Europe for vans (> 3.500 kg;
  4. Legislation snow chains Europe for pcr, vans, commercial vans (≤ 3.500 kg);
  5. Legislation snow chains Europe for vans.

Source: VACO Dutch Branch Association

Load Index (LI) en Speed Index (SI)

LI: means Load Index and indicates the maximum load in kilogram per tyre.

SI: means Speed Index and indicates the maximum speed (km/h) a tyre with this symbol can be driven.

Tyre information

Below you will find the explanation of all the information shown on a tyre.

Aligning & balancing

The terms aligning the car and balancing the wheels of your car are often confused with each other; what are the differences?

Aligning your car:

When aligning your car, it is not the wheels and tyres which are aligned, buth whether the suspension is correctly adjusted for the front wheels. There are adjustment points in the suspension so with special equipment the correct wheel angle positioning (different for each car) can be made. This positioning is adjusted from different directions. Each of these directions have a name. These adjustments are called camber, caster and toe. Together, these adjustments ensure the wheels are suspended correctly under the car. Cars are aligned if, for instance, the tyres wear incorrectly, or after a collision parts of the suspension have become damaged or been replaced.

Balancing the wheels:

Balancing the wheels is simply to balance the wheel and tyre, and is done after fitting new tyres. Balancing is done on a device which rotates the wheel at high speed so any imbalance can be seen. This is removed by placing zinc or lead tyre weights on the wheel rim so the wheel and tyre remain in balance at every revolutions per minute (RPM). The hub of the car, to which the wheel is fitted, is already balanced in the factory, so it is not really necessary to balance the wheel on the car. Balancing on the car itself is only done if there is resonance (vibration) while driving at a certain RPM.

An all season tyre is a compromise between a summer and a winter tyre. You can also say: it is a winter tyre, which also has characteristics of a summer tyre. An all season tyre offers excellent grip on dry and wet roads and at temperatures above and below the 7°C.

The all season tyre is suitable for:

  • Those who do not drive more than 15.000 km per year
  • Those who do not want to change their tyres twice a year

Novex All Season & All Season LT

Besides summer tyres and winter tyres, Novex also offers a complete all season range for passenger cars and light trucks. These patterns, named All Season and All Season LT are designed for driving all year round in all weather conditions. We have in total 60 all season sizes available, ranging from 13 up to 18 inch.

Novex’ all season tyres are marked with the M&S and ‘Three Peak Mountain Snowflake symbol’ which means that they are officially recognized as winter tyres (also in Germany).

There are two important differences between winter tyres and summer tyres. One of these is immediately visible: the pattern. The other you do not see, but you do feel it: the rubber composition. Both differences influence the braking distance, rolling noise and rolling resistance.

Difference in pattern

1. Pattern summer and winter tyres

A significant difference between summer tyres and winter tyres are the notches in the patterns blocks of the winter tyre: the sipes. The sipes provide more grip on the road when braking and accelerating. While driving, the patterns deforms and the sipes work like ‘grippers’ on the road surface. Sipes are usually made perpendicular to the tyre in order to creacte a lot of grip when accelerating and braking. For stability in bends, sipes are also applied longitudinally (vertical), and zigzag sipes are applied.

A lot of force must be applied to the summer tyre pattern in order to deform the pattern block. Moreover, the tyre only has one gripping point on the road surface.

The pattern block can move easily thanks to the sipes in the pattern of the winter tyre. This results in four gripping points on the road suface with only small forces.

2. Rubber composition summer and winter tyres

A summer tyre has a different rubber composition compared to a winter tyre. The running surface (the part of the tyre in contact with the road surface) of a winter tyre is namely provided with a rubber composition which remains flexible at low temperatures, that is to say: temperatures below +7° Celsius. This enables the pattern blocks to deform more easily and so they have more grip. The difference in hardness between the rubber of a summer tyre and that of a winter tyre can be clearly seen in the figures below. The rubber of a summer tyre does not deform easily at zero degrees, while the rubber of a winter tyre is then still flexible.

Difference in compound

Braking distance summer and winter tyres

Winter tyres are not only safer in winter conditions than summer tyres, but also on a cold and wet road surface. Especially when braking. The difference in braking distance between summer and winter tyres can be clearly seen in the table below:

Difference braking distance

Note: The braking distances in the examples above have been measured with ‘standard vehicles’. The examples provide an illustration. The braking distance is dependent on many factors, including: the type of car, the car’s weight and load, the starting speed, the brakes, the tyre and asphalt temperature, the weather conditions, the condition of the road surface, the tyres fitted and the status of those tyres, such as pattern depth. And do not forget that the braking distance is also defined by adapted driving behaviour in winter conditions and you reaction speed.

Rolling noise summer tyres and winter tyres

Tyres which roll over the road surface make a noise. Dutch motorways are getting steadily busier and therefore the noise nuisance is also on the increase. The choice of the correct type of tyre contributes to a eduction of the rolling noise. Winter tyres have a softer rubber composition than summer tyres. At low temperatures, the rubber of summer tyres becomes relatively hard. This causes more rolling noise. In the winter, winter tyres with the snowflake symbol make less (rolling) noise than summer tyres.

Difference in rolling noise

Rolling resistance summer tyres and winter tyres

Rolling resistance is the resistance experienced by a tyre when it rolls over the road surface. The rolling resistance is caused principally by the deformation of the rubber of the tyre and damping of the rubber. The deformation increases the contact surface of the tyre with the road surface. And the size of the contact surface defines the rolling resistance.

Rolling resistance of tyres

Source: VACO

Winter tyres are specially developed to perform in winter conditions. A winter tyre has more sipes, to make sure you have grip on wet roads and in snowy conditions. Winter tyres also have a different compound, in order to be more flexible in low temperatures.

During the winter you can rely on Novex winter tyres. These winter patterns possess what is necessary to get you to your destination through wet weather and snowy conditions. Not only passenger car tyres, but also light truck tyres are part of our range. All sizes in the winter range are marked with the M+S and ‘Three Peak Mountain Snowflake symbol’ (3PMSF) which means that these tyres are recognized as winter tyres (also in Germany).

The term ‘summer tyres’ was invented in order to make a clear difference between summer and winter tyres. Summer tyres can be seen as ‘regular’ tyres. Our Novex summer tyres are available in five different patterns and thanks to the special rubber compound of the tyres, they offer excellent grip. The extensive summer range consists of more than 80 sizes. The tyres also have a very competitive price-quality ratio.