Winter tyres for travel to Germany

I was interested in last September’s post about the proposal for winter tyres in France snow areas, but was wondering if anyone can help me with this one. We sold our holiday house in France and hope to buy another this year, currently storing our LHD French registered Pug 308 in a rented garage at an ex neighbour’s, so the comprehensive insurance remains valid. I’m arriving from oz for 5 weeks and intend driving via Mullhouse to Stuttgart for a week and see that 4 fitted winter tyres are mandatory during Feb/March when I’m there. If I don’t fit them and either have an accident or hold up traffic due to ice or snow, my insurance may be invalid and/or I may be fined for non compliance. I’d prefer not to leave my car near the border and hire a German car for the week or two, but maybe I bite the bullet and buy 4 winter tyres in Gaillac (Tarn) before I head north, where perhaps the tyre dealer has a storage facility for my summer tyres and can do the switch back to my summer tyres when I return and store the winter ones for next year. The winter tyres will probably last for 10 years with such low mileage, so if the cost is split by 10 annually, maybe not so bad? Does anyone have any experience with a similar scenario where you go skiing annually eg do tyre dealers generally carry second hand winter tyres in France and have storage facilities at a cost? Appreciate any assistance before I leave in 3 weeks. Thanks

I always have my winter tyres on separate rims. A small outlay at the start but as you have pointed out over 10 years it’s not a lot especially as you can always sell them later. I’ve never been keen on having tyres removed and refitted several times, they’re not designed for that.

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We have our winter tyres on separate wheels too. Easier to store as well as changeover. Ok it’s an investment, but how much is your life worth? And presumably you are spending a bit coming over anyway, so this is only a small percentage more.

Buy the tyres near your rented garage, get them changed locally, and store them there

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Good point, I’ve never visited and driven to Germany in last ten years during winter so was trying to avoid it this time but your advice is very sound. Thank you

Agree, it’d be so much easier for us to do that if we had our own house and I’ve never driven to Germany in winter over last ten years and was trying to avoid the cost, but I do appreciate your advice which makes good sense. Thank you

You can now get all season tyres that have the snowflake symbol so they qualify as winter tyres. With these there is no need to have a separate set of tyres/wheels.

The famous tyre is Michelin Crossclimate but other brands also have them.

I have recently had fitted Bridgestone Weather Control to our car that I sourced from Allopneus - they cost about 10 euros more per tyre than a standard tyre. The Bridgestone tyres recently won an award for best all season tyre by Auto Express.

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Now there’s a good suggestion, thanks Mat. My CT is due in March and I’m not sure how good my current Michelins are, so I was thinking of buying new ones anyway, so this would be a good idea to cover all bases. Appreciate your advice.

I come from a country with real winter roads we don’t have the all season tires on when there is no snow ore ice because they are not as good as regular tires they are harder and the grip in hot water is not so good as normal tires everybody have two sets of tires. I did not think the had a special dates for vinter tires in Germany I drive true there allot I thought the rule was that you have to have them only if there are snow ore ice on the roads I can’t find anything about dates in Germany I’m going check with my german friends about that

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There is no actual fixed date, it depends on road conditions.
My parents follow the rule of thumb “von O bis O” ie Oktober to Ostern (Easter), I think there are actual dates in Switzerland and Austria though. Everybody has two sets of wheels.

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Very beat me to the O to O.

The winter tire obligation in the StVO (road traffic regulations) … The law stipulates: winter tires, or tires that comply with Directive 92/23 / EEC, must be used if “black ice, snow, slush, ice or frost” prevails ( Section 2 Paragraph 3a StVO). Nov 21, 2019

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Malcolm… check out the info … as Dan says, the law is quite precise.

(Like many others, we have 2 sets of wheels and tyres and it works out well. )

Alternatively, you can just drive around on winter tyres all year :wink: I used to get about 18 months to 2 years out of mine on my van.

I used to have an old 4x4 which used M+S tyres all year round but on my other cars I always switched back to summer tyres as soon as I could, surely if it’s advantageous to use the tyres with the best level of grip in the winter the same applies to those you use in the summer too.

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This article might be of use (if you can read German). Seems that the law changed on Jan 1st, 2018 with regard to M+S tyres, which if manufactured before that date are still allowed on the roads up to 2024 apparently, but now all winter tyres must bear the alpine symbol (mountain with snow). As Véro has already pointed out, the article I cite also mentions the quote from “Oktober bis Ostern” as a good rule of thumb, or else when the temperature is consistently below 7°C.

When I lived in Germany, I used to drive year round with M+S Reifen, just goes to show how things change…

Then again, I did live in the mountains !

For a while, I did change them over, but the Auvergne is unpredictable even in summer…so gave up and just stuck to winter all the time.

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Thank you everyone for your advice and like most Forums, we all have our take on the situation. No one is wrong but the facts as clearly expressed in most folks replies and can be summed up by the official" A new Alpine winter tire symbol has been added to the former “M+S” mark ( Matsch und Schnee ). As of January 2018, newly fabricated winter tires must be marked with a new Alpine symbol (a 3-peak mountain pictogram with a snowflake; see photo below). The new icon is more than a mere symbol. It also reflects the new law that spells out what a “winter tire” is, and sets new standards that were not in place before. Existing winter tires ( M+S-Reifen ) with only the old M+S mark will be allowed until 30 September 2024, but the ADAC German automobile club recommends getting new tires with the Alpine “3-peak-mountain” mark as soon as possible" The bottom line is that I will not drive without compliant tyres, so to avoid any fines or accidents, I’ll fit legal “winter” tyres to avoid any detrimental result Thank you everyone for your valuable input. Cheers

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That’s a risky decision Alex as winter tyres are not advised for summer driving due to the different rubber compound affected by higher temps and you’ll get greatly reduced mileage and adhesion from this choice.

Agree Dan

Thanks Stella - sound advice

My main vehicle is no longer the van (which is “off the road” in our understated parlance. The current main vehicle is a business lease so the costs would get absorbed by the business, although I haven’t yet switched to all winter tyres on that.