What is a summer tyre?
The term ‘summer tyres’ was coined in order to make clear the difference between summer tyres and winter tyres. Summer tyres can be seen as ‘regular’ tyres. Novex summer tyres are available in six different patterns and thanks to the special rubber composition of the tyres, they offer a good grip on the road surface. With more than 90 sizes, the Novex summer tyres range can be considered to be very complete with a competitive price / quality ratio.
What is a winter tyre?
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, snow and icy conditions. Not only car tyres, but also van tyres are part of our range of winter tyres. All sizes in the winter range have the ‘three peak mountain’ symbol and the M&S mark, which gives you the guarantee that these patterns are recognised as winter tyres (also in Germany).
What is the difference between a summer and a winter tyre?
Winter tyres and summer tyres
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.
Patterns summer tyre and winter tyre
Pattern blocks summer tyres 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.
Pattern summer tyre
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.
Pattern winter tyre
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.
Rubber composition summer tyres and winter tyres
A summer tyre has a different rubber composition from 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.
Braking distance summer tyres and winter tyres
Winter tyres are not only safer in snow and icy 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.
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 reduction 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.
Overview (rolling) noise in decibel (dB)
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 tyres
What is a four-season / all season tyre?
Novex All Season tyres
Besides summer tyres and winter tyres, Novex also has a four-season tyre or all season tyre range. This pattern, named All Season, was designed for driving all year round and performs well in the summer and winter. Four-season tyres or all-season tyres are available for cars and vans. The tyres have the M&S and ‘three peak mountain’ symbol and are therefore categorised as winter tyres (also in Germany). With a total of 52 sizes, this really is a broad range.
What is the difference between aligning and balancing?
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.
Which information is shown on a tyre?
Below you’ll find the explanation of all the information shown on a tyre.
What does LI and SI mean?
Load index (LI) & 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.
The law on winter tyres
The law on winter tyres
In January 2011, the German law has been amended. We would like to inform you accordingly.
In essence, German traffic regulations (Strassenverkehrsordnung or StVO) and the related obligation to use winter tyres state that in Germany motor vehicles must at all times, and in the correct manner, be equipped and prepared for wintry conditions. This means (amongst others) suitable tyres, but also antifreeze in the windscreen washed fluid reservoir. In Germany, a legal interpretation of the concept of wintry conditions has now also been provided. Wintry conditions mean: black ice, frost and deep snow.
Pursuant to the aforesaid German traffic regulations, if a motorist in Germany uses unsuitable tyres he is in violation of the law and risks a fine of € 80,- (previously € 40,-). Furthermore involvement in a traffic accident that is not the fault of the motorist may result in joint liability, as a consequence of which in some cases only 70% to 80% of the damage will be paid by the thirdparty insurance. The use of unsuitable tyres may also be seen as gross negligence, meaning that the all-risks insurance may refuse to pay out.
In Italy the obligation to use winter tyres has now also been introduced at regional level (in the province of Milan and the Aosta Valley). This local obligation to use winter tyres has a different obligation period in each of the areas.
Other European countries
For a detailed overview of the obligations to use winter tyres in European countries, please refer to the legal overview of winter tyre legislation from the VACO (Netherlands Tyre Industry Association).
The definition of winter tyres
The discussion on the concrete definition of winter tyres and what constitute suitable tyres in this context is still open. At present, there is still no legal definition of winter tyres. However, regulations such as ECE Regulation no. 30, EU Directive 92/23 and § 36 of the German van de Duitse Strassenverkehrs-ZulassungsOrdnung describe winter tyres exclusively as tyres with the designation M+S, M&S or M.S. This means that all tyres with a M+S designation (including some summer tyres) would be suitable as winter tyres. Winter tyres must also have a minimum tread depth of 4 mm (this is laid down by law).
M+S tyres with the snowflake symbol
In addition to the M+S designation, some tyre manufacturers therefore also use the snowflake symbol. The use of the snowflake symbol on winter tyres is currently only obligatory in the United States and Canada. In the EU this is merely a voluntary designation and is not required by law. Nonetheless, standard American tests have shown that tyres with the snowflake symbol have 10% more traction on snow-covered roads than tyres without this symbol. What’s more, the meaning of the snowflake symbol is unmistakable for both tyre specialists and consumers. The snowflake symbol may also appear in the ‘four-season symbol’. This symbol does not actually say anything about its qualification as a winter tyre. A four-season tyre with this symbol may only be regarded as a winter tyre if M+S in combination with the snowflake symbol (thus separately) is also stated on the tyre.
The above does not automatically mean that winter tyres without the symbol have fewer or no winter tyre characteristics or even that they are not regarded as winter tyres under German and European law. In view of the legislation and the consequences for your customers, VACO nevertheless recommends that you only sell tyres bearing both the M+S designation and the snowflake symbol.
What is the function of the pattern on a tyre?
What is the importance of good 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.
What is the snowflake symbol? And what does M+S mean?
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.