In Goodyear’s commercial vehicle tyre ranges it is not only the UltraGrip dedicated winter truck and coach ranges that are suitable for winter conditions. In addition to these, Goodyear Municipal drive tyres, 17.5" and 19.5" Regional Haul Drive tyres and the newly introduced Goodyear KMAX D, and Goodyear FUELMAX D tyres, which will be available as of January 2014 in most European markets, qualify as winter tyres.
These tyres are not only all marked with the M+S symbol but also meet the performance threshold requirement on snow, which qualifies for the three-peak-mountain snowflake (3PMSF) symbol allowing them to have a true all-season capability and entirely fulfil the severe winter tyre requirements.
Currently there is no common legislation in the European Union concerning the use of winter tyres, and the mandatory use of winter tyres is currently determined and regulated by national laws. However, there is an official EU definition of ‘winter tyre’. According to the EU Regulation 661/2009 a snow tyre (or ‘winter tyre’) is defined as a "tyre whose tread pattern, tread compound or structure is primarily designed to achieve in snow conditions a performance better than that of a normal tyre with regard to its ability to initiate or maintain vehicle motion".
Cédric Pedretti, owner of Transports Pedretti, one of the fleets involved in the testing phase of the new KMAX and FUELMAX ranges said, "We experienced impressive road holding plus excellent traction behavior, so that our trucks could operate on winter roads without having to mount snow chains. This helped us a lot in the very difficult conditions we have encountered for many years, delivering to ski resorts: that is at night with lots of ice and snow." He added, "Both new tyre ranges also showed a well-balanced performance between fuel efficiency and mileage within their respective segments. FUELMAX is the first choice when it comes to reducing fuel consumption and KMAX to run more kilometers."
Winter Tyre Marking
The marking currently used on tyres’ sidewalls to differentiate winter tyres from standard ones is M+S (also M.S or M&S), as stipulated by EU legislation . On November 1, 2012 UNECE Regulation 117-02 made a new marking official in the EU – the ‘Alpine’ symbol, or the three-peak-mountain snowflake (3PMSF). Unlike the M+S marking, the 3PMSF can only be legally used if the tyre meets a minimum performance threshold requirement on snow, the so called ‘snow grip index’. Currently M+S remains a permitted marking, but not legally linked to a minimum guaranteed performance in winter conditions. M+S tyres have better snow traction than regular tyres but do not necessarily pass the snow grip threshold legally required to qualify for the new three-peak-mountain snowflake identification.
Benefits of winter tyres
The use of winter tyres ensures that vehicle performance is optimized during the winter season, and in particular when roads are affected by snow and ice. Tyres react differently according to temperature, so specific compounds and tread patterns are necessary for such conditions. Good grip is of course essential for steering and braking control as well as traction. A more aggressive tread pattern in combination with a tread compound having the right characteristics is necessary, not only for good grip in snow but also on ice and to efficiently clear surface water.
The benefits of commercial winter tyres are particularly important for mobility in challenging weather conditions. Avoiding road stoppages has significant economic bonuses such as preventing delayed deliveries, spoilt goods, etc. This is why winter tyre fitment on drive axles is mandatory in several European countries.
Which tyres should be used in extremely severe winter conditions?
Legally, drive tyres marked with M+S and/or 3PMSF are allowed in all European countries in extremely severe winter conditions. However, when these conditions are encountered regularly such as in the Nordic countries, Russia and mountainous regions, Goodyear recommends operators to use dedicated winter tyres such as UltraGrip WTS, WTD and WTT. These dedicated winter tyres go beyond the winter capabilities of other tyres such as KMAX D and FUELMAX D. They are designed and optimized for use predominately under winter conditions – and that means on icy and snow covered roads.