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Winter tyres in Germany


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I agree Sophie, we're just not seeing this the same way. :-) To me, the decision that has to be made is whether or not to risk being penalised for having the wrong tyres, at the wrong time, in Germany. Again to me, it's just one of those "writing on the wall" things.


So, knowing I do not have the right tyres, I simply shan't be visiting Germany in winter (whenever that is! :-)). Would I then go out and spend, what, £500, on a set of new tyres just to do so? Er, no.


So, might I eventually change the present tyres for tyres that comply with the German requirement when the time comes to replace them? Absolutely, just in case. But, until then, Germany and winter just won't be on my visiting list!


After all, even if the law was couched as you would like it to be (with which proposal I have no problem whatever), my reaction would not change - I shall avoid, at least until after the present tyres have been replaced due to age or wear with something compliant.

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Many thanks for all the useful and very interesting advice.

Purchasing snow tyres to visit a Christmas market in Germany appears a little excessive.

I think however that I have found the solution.

I am researching a visit to the Strasbourg Christmas market which is in France and of course borders Germany. No winter tyres required by law in France.

Any posters been to Strasbourg?


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  • 2 weeks later...

As everyone knows we restore Old Citroen H vans as well as Motorhome Electronics repairs and one of the issues we have had is tyres.

The Citroen vans started life in 1949 and were in production to 1981 during which time roads and the vans changed enormously.

We now find that a tendency for the rear wheels to lock up and slide in the wet is becoming a real issue as modern Brake Shoe material improves way beyond the capabilities of 1956 suspension.


The search for Grippy, wet weather tyres has led us to experiment with tyres a lot and our solution is to run M+S tyres all year around. But not just any M+S as most are incredibly noisy and can be harsh in the 205 75 x 16 size we prefer.


If you saw us on Wheeler Dealers last night on Discovery you would have seen we are a very Technical bunch, not only creating a modern engine transplant for these vehicles, but developing Power steering, high power Brakes, etc.

We tend to research what we do, a lot.


We have tried lots from Conti, Bridgestone, Michelin to the budgets.


If you look at the Michelin Agilis Alpin M+S (+ Snowflake) tyre it has a very quiet rating (71db which is very quiet for a 'chunky' tyre) one of the best for Wet Grip, 'B', and a very good 'C' for economy.

What surprised us was the depth of tread at just under 11mm (measured across the average of 4 tyres with the same gauge we use for Crank wear).


All the vans that had a tendency for the rear tyres to slide in the wet, don't with the Alpin. The Alpin grips and stops in a straight line.


We also have a bonus with the Alpin in that the vans are often converted to Catering vehicles so can be found in numbers at Glastonbury and the like. Having M+S tyres is a bonus getting off a muddy field. The Alpin load rating of 108/110 is amongst the highest as well which some of the Horse Box/Brick Pizza Oven vans need at 3,500kg. All figures you will see are also relevant to a Motorhome owner.


In the early days we fitted a quite chunky 4 x 4 style tyre from the budget manufacturer Event and they were fantastic on Grass/Mud but rubbish at everything else, including just 6mm depth. They were like driving on Ice when it rained. Even though they only cost us £45ea they soon went on eBay.


There used to be major disadvantages with having M+S tyres on all year round, mostly with noise, wet grip and wear, but the Michelin Agilis Alpin seems to have cracked them all. We think the deep tread depth and Michelins traditional high mileage life should result in a tyre that should outlast most?.



While on tyres can we say that we are seeing quite a few young Motorhomes with tyres and numerous sidewall cracks. A 2009 in today had all 4 tyres picked up on the MOT advisory, yet they still have 5mm left.

This premature aging of tyres is almost always caused by bright/sun light, so shielding your tyres can make a big difference to tyre life if you don't do a high mileage.


Earlier in the year we had in a Citroen H van, 'Barn Find' in amazing rust free condition. that had been locked away for about 30 years yet the tyres (a Michelin 19r400 metric size not made for about 15 years so at least that old) were in great shape. I guess the barn had kept out the light?


Whatever happened to those round hardboard 'discs' used to protect Caravan/Motorhome tyres in storage back when the H van was first born?










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We live in Germany having moved from the U.K 3 years ago. When we were driving over to view properties is was January with ice and snow and we were stopped by the police (for overtaking a slow scrap lorry) and they checked over our van conversion. The police said as we had come from the U.K it was not mandatory to have winter tyres however if we were involved in an accident and the cause was lack of grip then they would throw the book at us as previously said. For your own safety i would have them fitted, you could get all weather tyres so you leave them on all year round and they are legal over here. We found the roads into Germany and into the Harz mountains to be extremely well cleared but on crossing the Belgian border to return home we hit all the usual slush snow and ice, we did carry snow chains just in case but didn't use them.


Hope this helps :-D

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I would suggest that you visit a Christmas market close to the Dutch border.

Aachen would be a nice destination. A lovely town in its own right.

Winter tyres are not compulsory in the Netherlands and Belgium.

The most dangerous roads, when it snows, are of course the hilly ones, somewhere in northern Germany and not far from the Dutch border would therefore be the safest.

The roads from Europoort towards Hannover are mostly reasonably flat (but somewhat hilly to Dutch standards) and are therefore safe without snow tyres unless you are exceedingly unlucky.

Frohe Weihnachten und viel Spass und Vergnuegen!

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