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Winter Tyre Requirements changing (Europe)


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I am planning a trip next year into "Winter Europe" and made an enquiry with Michelin today about Agilis Camping Tyres rated "M&S" which I understand (on the authority of the AA website and others) are classified as all year tyres but with the M&S rating comply with the legal requirement for "Winter" tyres. I think the M&S rating is not an official one and Michelin themselves very helpfully say that from 1st January 2018 "M&S" tyres will not be sufficient to comply with the mandatory winter tyre requirement.

Instead the tyres must be 3PMSF (the 3 peaks symbol on the tyre will be familiar to some people). In other words a full certified Winter tyre.

Michelin say :-

"The marking 3PMSF stands for 3 Peak Mountain Snow Flake. This symbol indicates that the tyre is a winter tyre and also will be recognized like that by the authorities in case winter tyres are mandatory".

Although more than a year away this has implications for people pursuing alpine skiing trips or just going into Europe early in the year.

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I’ve always found Michelin’s website non-intuitive and the latest version seems to be the worst so far...


Anyway, Michelin’s “Agilis Camping” pattern is categorised by Michelin as a ‘summer’ tyre (ie. not a ‘winter’ tyre) and - although it is the only CP-marked (“Camping Pneu”) tyre that is M+S-marked - it lacks the specialised multi-sipes tread design and compound of a true winter tyre. More on the M+S and CP markings in this earlier discussion




These links advise on EU-country winter-tyre motoring regulations.






I don’t know if the advice is 100% accurate, but it will be seen that several countries apparently consider a tyre that is simply M+S-marked as a legally-acceptable alternative to a 3PMSF-marked ‘full-house’ winter tyre.


I also don’t know if Michelin’s advice that “...from 1st January 2018 "M&S" tyres will not be sufficient to comply with the mandatory winter tyre requirement...” is correct for ALL EU countries that currently accept an M+S-marked tyre as a ‘winter’ tyre within their motoring regulations.


This link




refers to GERMANY tightening up its winter tyre regulations from 2018, but the regulations of other EU countries (eg. Finland) are not mentioned.


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The regulations all appear to relate to cars, several countries like Austria specifically state "up to 3500K".

The coaches I have travelled on to the Alps have had normal commercial tyres on, but carry chains. (It is fascinating seeing them put on using a ramp)

Although local busses all have winter tyres on, so they must be available somewhere.

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For the last few years we have visited Spain/Portugal between mid December and end of March. Our last Motorhome had R16 continental camping tyres and this Chausson had R15 Continental Vanco camping tyres but we have replaced the rear tyres with Continental VanContact 100 tyres as part of a recent uprating of the GVW and rear axle weight.


Do the changes mean we will need to consider changing these tyres for winter specific tyres during this period and, if so, would the alternatives still comply with the requirements for our uprate to 3500kgs GVW and rear axle weight of 2240kgs?



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Derek as ever you have taken the time and effort to research accurately and to quote authorities.


It may indeed be the case that the change specifically and perhaps exclusively affects Germany. From a practical point of view in my case since journeys from Ijmuiden (our port of choice from Northern Scotland) usually but not inevitably involve travelling through Germany we may not be able to avoid the requirement (except by travelling later in the year) but even then the requirement is triggered by "wintry conditions" not the calendar.


The information was exchanged with Michelin using their chat facility and I asked specifically about Germany and Sweden :-

ME :-The tyre needs to be legal for winter use in Germany Sweden etc




MICHELIN - Johannes :

Until the end of 2017 tyres with the marking M+S are okay if you have to have winter tyres. After that the tyres will need to have the 3PMSF symbol for that.

The marking 3PMSF stands for 3 Peak Mountain Snow Flake. This symbol indicates that the tyre is a winter tyre and also will be recognized like that by the authorities in case winter tyres are mandatory.


I will study your links and information and post any further comments I have if they are likely to be useful.

It would seem that the M&S mark has no official status it is something added by a manufacturer essentially an opinion however Michelin were entirely clear that the Agilis Camping tyre is officially classified as a Summer Tyre



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My understanding is that most 'all weather' tyres (marked M + S) have summer tyre characteristics but have better grip and are legal in Germany as a minimum winter tyre. However, you can buy 'all weather' tyres that have winter tyre characteristics.


When we moved to Germany we bought a set of these http://www.tirendo.de/maxxis-ma-las-m-s-215-70-r15-109-107r-194921.html for our motorhome. They come marked with M + S, Snow Flake and 3 Mountain Peaks and are 'all weather winter tyres'.


They were €82.49 each when we bought them last year and, as is common in Germany, we had to pay extra for having them fitted and had to pay to have the old ones disposed of.

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Way2go you add another dimension to this puzzle. I have looked at the various resources quoted by Derek and as far as I can tell changes if changes come will apply to Germany only. Of course other countries may follow on later but that is an unknown.


At the moment the changes are expressed as proposals and these proposals will include a transitional period (at present undefined) whereby pre 2018 manufacture tyres will be accepted perhaps until 2024. The logic of that may be to allow vehicles currently compliant to wear their tyres out before having to replace them (an economic impact test). I have not been able to find any hard evidence of actual as opposed to proposed changes YET.


The other issue is that looking at this further the Michelin Agilis Camping Tyre may have disadvantages in terms of normal condition use wear/noise/ride comfort compared with a "normal" tyre.

The most likely outcome for me is that I will defer tyre replacement until early next year and revisit the issue again perhaps with the benefit of clarification of the actual German outcome.


However whilst personally I can probably work around the tyre issue (chronologically and navigationally) in the longer term the changes are potentially significant for people going to Germany and perhaps elsewhere in wintry conditions.

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Having looked at the earlier O&AL forum thread I mentioned above I realise that the links within that thread that relate to the M+S tyre marking have become outdated.


These links are to Continental and ETRTO webpages that mention ‘winter’ tyres and the M+S marking






My understanding is that the M+S marking is (or should be!) more than just a tyre manufacturer’s declaration that a tyre so-marked will (should?) provide superior performance on mud and in snow than non-M+S-marked tyres.


A M+S-marked tyre conforms to an ancient US/Canadian standard regarding its tread-pattern design. It’s mentioned in the “How to identify M+S Tyres” section of this link




I get the impression that, within the motorcaravanning community, the fact that some motorhome-suitable tyres are M+S-marked has supernatural significance.


Michelin’s “Agilis Camping” is M+S-marked, but Continental’s “VancoCamper” is not. The former’s tread pattern is the more ‘chunky’ and the Michelin product is currently acceptable as a ‘winter use’ tyre by certain EU countries. But (as I know to my cost) a motohome fitted with Agilis Camping tyres won’t be immune to losing all grip and getting stuck on a soft grassed campsite surface, despite the vehicle being fitted with Fiat’s Traction+ system.


A tyre with an open blocky tread SHOULD be better on a sllppery grassed surface than a tyre with a less blocky pattern (so Agiilis Camping SHOULD be better on grassed campsites than VancoCamper) but in both cases as soon as the tread fills with mud and the drive-wheels start to spin, you’ve had it. On snow/ice only a specialised winter tyre will provide reasonable levels of grip.


As Way2Go mentions, there are a few ‘all season’ tyres that are 3PMSF-marked and motorhome-suitable, and (as will be seen from the following link) the tread pattern of the Maxxis MA-LAS is pretty aggressive so should be good for on-campsite use.




The following link




lists 215/70 R15C tyres with a symbol against each entry indicating whether the tyre is a ’summer’, ‘winter’ or ’summer/winter’ type. Only the Maxxis MA-LAS and Vredestein "Comtrac All Season” (which has a directional tread pattern) are in the last category and said to be M+S and ‘snowflake’ marked.


I shouldn’t worry about Michelin’s “Agilis Camping” being uncompetitive regarding noise/ride-comfort/wear. Promobil magazine’s comparative testing suggests that tyre-labelling noise data should be taken with a pinch of salt, and wear will - to a large extent - depend on the motorhome’s steering geometry being accurate and how the vehicle is driven. As for ride-comfort, if an Agilis Camping tyre is inflated to, say, 80psi and another tyre (say Agilis+) is inflated to 60psi, it should be anticipated that a motorhome running the latter tyres will have a softer ride quality.

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I was considering the Vredstein Comtrac All-Season as an all year tyre option but the manufacturers responded that the winter version would be better and not to mix the two even though both are 3PMS marked (a point to make on the other thread).


However, for anyone not spending weeks skiing I think the Comtrac all-season would be an excellent choice of tyre if their van is regularly used in winter and especially if snow and ice might be encountered.

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