Tyre choice in winter essential for fleets operating across Europe
Goodyear bus and truck tyre ranges compliant with more stringent winter tyre regulations in Europe
For the many fleets that operate across Europe, tyres designed for winter conditions are beneficial in terms of mobility, by ensuring traction and hence preventing road blockages.
When winter conditions occur having incorrect tyres on a commercial vehicle can mean enforced delays, fines or even worse. Variable weather conditions and ever-stricter winter tyre regulations make correct tyre choice all the more essential to keep vehicles going whatever the road condition.
Uptime is critical for fleets, however when traveling across Europe drivers have to cope with different weather conditions. Especially in winter, tyres have an important job to keep the trucks and coaches moving also on snowy roads. Therefore, all Goodyear coach and regional and long-haul steer and drive as well as some selected trailer truck tyres pass the strict snow performance criteria to carry the 3PMSF marking. This means that they can be used all year round and are ready when winter strikes.
In 2012, the EU regulation introduced the Alpine or Three Peak Mountain Snowflake (3PMSF) sidewall symbol to show a tyre had passed certain tests related to performance on snow covered roads. Tyres carrying the 3PMSF marking provide proven increased traction in comparison to a standard reference tyre.
Since the drive axle is the key one for traction of a commercial vehicle, the 3PMSF marking on the drive axle tyres is of high importance. This recommendation is valid especially for the single drive axle of commercial vehicles above 44 tons.
Today an increasing number of local authorities consider Three Peak Mountain Snowflake (3PMSF) tyres mandatory for trucks as these tyres provide significantly better winter performance on snow.
Previously, the only indication that a tyre was designed for tougher conditions was the M+S or M&S marking standing for ‘Mud and Snow’. However, this indicates that only the tread pattern is designed for such conditions and there are no requirements related to actual performance. The M+S label is not subject to a defined test procedure.
Goodyear was among the first tyre manufacturers to produce tyres complying with the 3PMSF and today offers tyres for all kinds of applications that are compliant with the more stringent regulations. This includes tyres specifically developed for vehicles that operate in general road haulage, mixed services and coaches. All Goodyear 3PMSF tyres also carry the M+S marking so they meet all European winter tyre identification requirements.
Goodyear’s latest on-road flagship tyres are the KMAX GEN-2 and FUELMAX GEN-2 ranges, which were launched in May 2019. The KMAX GEN-2 range comprises KMAX S GEN-2 steer tyres and KMAX D GEN-2 drive tyres and the FUELMAX GEN-2 range comprises FUELMAX S GEN-2 steer tyres and FUELMAX D GEN-2 drive tyres. KMAX GEN-2 tyres are optimized for high mileage and FUELMAX GEN-2 for fuel efficiency. Every tyre in these ranges carries the 3PMSF marking. This means that all are suitable for year-round use apart from in the most extreme winter conditions, for which Goodyear offers its Ultra Grip Max tyre range.
In terms of performance improvements and compared with their predecessors, the KMAX GEN-2 range gives up to 25% better all-weather capability plus 15% more damage resistance and 5% higher fuel efficiency while still maintaining the high mileage performance of its predecessor KMAX.
FUELMAX GEN-2 tyres provide up to 30% better all-weather capability plus 10% improved mileage, and less noise1, but with the same or better high level of fuel as previous FUELMAX tyres.
For the light-truck segment Goodyear offers the KMAX steer and drive tyres in 17,5 and 19,5 inch, compliant with the 3PMSF regulation.
Trucks operating in mixed services, such as tippers, cement mixers and vehicles operating on waste disposal sites, have the option of two ranges of Goodyear tyres. Launched late 2018, the OMNITRAC range is for vehicles that predominately operate on highways. It features new DuraShield technology and combines improved robustness with enhanced performance and retreadability. The OMNITRAC range comprises 10 sizes – all 3PMSF marked - of which six are OMNITRAC S steer tyres and four OMNITRAC D drive tyres, including a new 315/70R22.5 size for high volume vehicles where ground clearance is not an issue.
Extreme winter conditions
Goodyear ULTRA GRIP MAX tyres have been developed specifically for trucks that operate in severe winter conditions such as those encountered in Russia, the Nordic Countries and mountainous regions. The full range is 3PMSF compliant and includes the Goodyear ULTRA GRIP MAX S steer tyre, Goodyear ULTRA GRIP MAX D drive tyre and ULTRA GRIP MAX T trailer tyre. The range features the IntelliMax Block Technology for optimal snow and ice grip and IntelliMax Edge Technology for optimum tyre-to-road connectivity, especially on slippery surfaces.
The Goodyear Marathon Coach and UrbanMax ranges also carry the 3PMSF marking. The Marathon Coach is an all season tyre manufactured in sizes 315/80R22.5 and 295/80R22.5. The UrbanMax range is developed for municipal service and compromises the 19,5 and 22,5 MCA size kit to fit all wheel positions and the 455/45R22.5 MCD drive tyre. The range is optimized to provide enhanced traction in wet and snow. Goodyear also produces the Ultra Grip Coach tyre, also 3PMSF compliant, which is a specific winter drive tyre for coaches providing increased snow traction. It is of particular benefit to coaches operating in the Nordic Countries, Alpine regions and areas where snow and ice can be expected. Its tread design and width give it not only excellent grip and traction in winter conditions but also low noise levels for enhanced comfort.
It has 3D waffle sipes for traction in all conditions and a directional design to limit noise and provide high mileage. The Goodyear Ultra Grip Coach tyre is available in sizes 295/80R22.5 and 315/80R22.5.
Winter tyre requirements for heavy commercial vehicles
Of the 47 main European countries, 22 have specific requirements related to the use of tyres on commericial vehicles during winter or in winter conditions – recently an increasing number of local regulations specifically mention 3PMSF marked tyres.
The following countries are in the process of changing their regulations and the changes shown relate to heavy commercial vehicles and should be confirmed:
Germany – In winter conditions:
- Currently 3PMSF tyres are required on the drive axle but as of 1 July 2020, 3PMSF tyres will be required on steer axles too with M+S tyres produced no later than DOT 5217 acceptable until 30 Sept 2024.
Sweden – New legislation now in force since 1 June 2019:
- Passenger cars, light and heavy trucks and buses to be equipped with winter tyres on all wheel positions or equivalent equipment (e.g. snow chains) from 1 December to 31 March.
- New definition of winter tyre is 3PMSF (or M+S (for vehicles with GVW > 3,500 kg on trailer and on axles other than front or drive axles), POR truck tyres and studded tyres are recognised as winter tyres in general (exception).
- Transitional periods for M+S tyres: - until 30 November 2028, for light duty (GVW ≤ 3,500 kg) trailers (if tyres are specifically designed for winter use) - until 30 November 2024 for the front axle of HDVs (GVW > 3,500 kg ) - until 30 November 2024 for the drive axle of HDVs (GVW > 3,500 kg ) (if tyres are specifically designed for winter use).
Norway - Tyre legislation during the period 15 November - 31 March:
- Mandatory requirement of 3PMSF on the drive axle and steer axle. The proposal applies to motor vehicles with a permitted total weight exceeding 3,500 kg, except for campers with permitted total weight not exceeding 7,500 kg. On all other axles and trailers either M+S or 3PMSF can be used.
- Transitional periods for M+S tyres on steer and drive axles: until November 15, 2020
- Minimum tread depth: 5 mm (GVW> 3500 Kg)
Estonia – Legislation being prepared and to be confirmed, among new requirements are -
- From 1 December 2022, non-studded snow tyres shall bear 3PMSF marking. POR (Professional Off Road) marked tyres exempted.
- Studded tyres may be used on vehicles from 15 October to 31 March. In the case of winter road and weather conditions, studded tyres may be used from 1 Oct to 30 April
- Minimum tread depth rules apply
As winter tyre regulations vary across Europe and are subject to alteration, it is important for fleets to be well informed on the upcoming changes and to make the right tyre choice and keep the fleet mobile under all weather conditions.
 Versus predecessor and depending on size and type
 HDVs comprise trucks, buses and coaches. HDVs are defined as freight vehicles of more than 3.5 tonnes (trucks) or passenger transport vehicles of more than 8 seats (buses and coaches).