What to do: choose a set of all season tyres that last all year, or go for full winter tyres? That’s a question many drivers are asking themselves right now especially in countries that have legislation around winter tyres. There’s no simple answer, but the key lies in understanding exactly when, where and how each car will be used, along with the level of performance that’s expected. These factors all make up an overall picture of every individual driver, which helps to influence the buying decision: especially given that all season tyres work very well in most situations, apart from those more demanding ones where specific seasonal tyres remain essential for performance. But both of these types of tyres have one fundamental thing in common, which is that the side of the tyre needs to carry a “M+S” or 3PMSF marking (depending on the regulations in each country) that identifies the type of tyre, avoids motorists collecting fines, and guarantees safety even in winter.
WINTER FOR DYNAMIC DRIVERS
Winter tyres are definitely preferable if many kilometres are driven in winter – either for business or pleasure – or if maximum performance is needed in every winter conditions. With the lower temperatures of autumn and winter below seven degrees, summer tyres are no longer able to perform at their best, and so winter tyres are better for drivers who demand more performance. Thanks to their softer compound, which performs strongly even when temperatures dip below zero, winter tyres guarantee optimal roadholding, traction, and braking even on low-grip surfaces: all of which adds up to improved safety, as well as increased comfort. The chemical properties of winter compounds reduce braking distances both in the wet (by up to 15%) and on snowy surfaces – by up to 50% in comparison to a summer tyre. The specific tread pattern for winter tyres also improves performance, especially thanks to the tread blocks designed to trap snow and increase grip with the friction provided by ‘snow on snow’ contact – without the need for snow chains. The large channels also allow water to be rapidly and efficiently dispersed when it’s raining, reducing the risk of aquaplaning to ensure safer driving in the wet. Winter tyres are distinguished by M+S or also M&S and M-S markings (which stand for mud and snow). This is accompanied by the 3PMSF symbol (which depicts a mountain and snowflake, as it stands for ‘three peak mountain with snowflake’). Think of it as a hallmark for winter tyres.
PIRELLI’S WINTER RANGE
For drivers with more powerful cars, Pirelli has the P Zero Winter range: tyres that are developed in collaboration with car manufacturers according to Pirelli’s ‘perfect fit’ strategy, which denotes tyres made to measure for the cars they are fitted to; a characteristic of P Zero. Top of the range premium cars have the Winter Sottozero 3 available to them, providing high levels of performance, while the Cinturato Winter is for drivers of city cars, urban SUVs and crossover vehicles. For the latest-generation SUVs and crossover vehicles, the Scorpion Winter is ideal, while the Carrier Winter is designed for vans and light trucks.
ALL SEASON FOR CITY DRIVERS
If the car is used primarily for city driving away from mountainous regions, with temperatures that range from -5°C to +25°C, and covering less than 25,000 kilometres a year without needing sport performance, all season tyres are the best choice. An all season tyre is characterised by a design and tread pattern that is balanced enough to work well both in low and high temperatures, on both wet and dry asphalt. Overall performance is good, as is all-round versatility. It’s important to remember though that this type of tyre won’t ever quite match the performance of summer tyres in summer or winter tyres in winter, although they represent an excellent compromise in all the situations described.
PIRELLI’S FOUR SEASONS
Pirelli’s all season range is a wide one, covering all sorts of vehicles. The Cinturato All Season Plus is designed to meet the needs of drivers who have tyres between 15 and 20 inches, and use their cars mostly in cities. For drivers of Crossover vehicles or SUVs, Pirelli makes the Scorpion Verde All Season SF, while completing the all season range is the Carrier All Season, for vans and light commercial vehicles. The Cinturato All Season Plus and Scorpion Verde All Season SF are also available with Seal Inside, which allows drivers to keep going even with a puncture of up to four millimetres. The Scorpion Verde All Season additionally has Self-Supporting Run Flat tyres as an option.