Winter and summer tyres - the legalities - Germany

Law regards seasonal changing of car tires

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Krieg
About the speed restriction in the winter tires, you are not required to put tires that match the max speed from the car. For example, if you car max speed is 240 km/h, you can put 'T' (190 km/h) or 'H' (210 km/h) tires and then put one sticker somewhere in the car where the driver can see it saying what's the max speed for the car during winter.
Derek
As I was driving along at about 180km/h today (on my 210km/h tyres) with the outside temperature at -1°C, a car flew past me at what must have been 250km/h. It made me wonder whether he was running on summer tyres, winter tyres rated for those speeds (it's possible), or if he was driving faster than his winter tyres were rated for. Then I had the thought, what's the deal legally when you drive above your tyre limits. Are you (a) stupid (yes of course), ( invalidating your insurance because they wouldn't pay out if anything happened, or (c) breaking a law. Is it illegal to drive over the limit your tyres are rated at (summer or winter)?

Just thoughts that popped into my head. I don't want to go faster than my tyres allow me.
darmstadt
As I was driving along at about 180km/h today (on my 210km/h tyres) with the outside temperature at -1°C, a car flew past me at what must have been 250km/h. It made me wonder whether he was running on summer tyres, winter tyres rated for those speeds (it's possible), or if he was driving faster than his winter tyres were rated for. Then I had the thought, what's the deal legally when you drive above your tyre limits. Are you (a) stupid (yes of course), ( invalidating your insurance because they wouldn't pay out if anything happened, or © breaking a law. Is it illegal to drive over the limit your tyres are rated at (summer or winter)?

Just thoughts that popped into my head. I don't want to go faster than my tyres allow me.
Well I hit 230 km/h today on my winter tyres as they're rated for 240 but I don't really like doing it too much. I have accidentally gone above 250 on them as well as I forget to set the limiter on the car (most modern cars you can set a maximum speed.)
TheSwedishChef
Time to put the winter tyres back in the garage, I suspect.
maurice74
I have this problem. I am moving to Hamburg from Italy. I have summer tyres (50% used) on a 5008 Peugeot.
My relocation will be in winter months: maybe January or February.
Question: in your opinion, should I take the winter tyres ( I was thinking about the 4 seasons)
in Italy to move across the Germany. Or it is better to move with my tyres and the, in hamburg, to change
the tyres? Or nothing at all?
Thank you for hints
Krieg
Do you really think crossing the country during the peak of the winter with summer tires is a good idea? I am not talking about legalities, I am talking about your (and your family?) safety.
maurice74
I never driven in Germany so...I am searching for hints :-)
So, what do you suggest, based on your experince driving in Germany?
Krieg
You need winter tires.
maurice74
ok :-)
winter tyres or 4 seasons tyres?
(I cannot bring the summer tyres in Hamburg with me...)
Krieg
Winter tires vs all season tires is something you will have to decide yourself. All season tires are a compromise, something in the middle, they are not that good during summer compared to summer tires and SPECIALLY they are not as good winter tires during winter.

If you buy winter tires now you will have to fit summer tires somewhere next year. But winter tires are safer than all season tires.
Schweinwerfer
Well, having read as much of the foregoing as my brain could take in, I understand that for winter driving in Germany the legal facts are these:

[list=1]

  • there is no strict Oktober bis Ostern legal requirement, but rather the law kicks in only when conditions are snowy, icy, slushy, or generally slippery (bei Glatteis, Schneeglätte, Schneematsch, Eis- und Reifglätte)
  • under such conditions driving with summer tyres will get you a €40 on-the-spot fine if you are caught
  • the absolute minimum requirements for driving in these conditions would be a set of "all season" M + S (Matsch und Schnee / Marks 'n Sparks) tyres with 1.6 mm tread-depth/Profiltiefe



    ...and the practical facts are these:

    [list=1]

  • although 1.6 mm of tread will legally pass muster, 3 or 4 mm is recommended
  • though legally usable in winter, "all season" (M + S) tyres do not perform as well in wintry conditions as true "winter" tyres (those bearing a snowflake symbol)
  • in choosing tyres for winter driving, there is no single one-tyre-fits-all solution for all drivers, and deciding on which tyres to fit involves considerations such as the amount of driving one does and the maximum speed at which one drives



    Have I understood correctly?

    I came to Germany back in the summer to look for a house, driving on a medley of 1 new summer tyre, 2 vintage all-weather tyres and one nearly-new winter tyre (variety being the spice of life, an' all). I hope to be returning to Britain in the next couple of weeks or so. I am probably what would be euphemistically termed a "careful driver" (though I haven't yet reached the tin-of-travel-sweets-in-the-glove-compartment stage), and I won't really be driving a lot, apart from the 1500 km trek to Blighty.

    ...So I'm thinking that I should just get the tyres only (not wheels) changed as required --- so the summer tyre gets swapped (and the old M + S too, if the tread's too thin) --- and putting on new M + S replacements (since my mileage will be low), storing my summer tyre on the back-seat with my luggage. Is this sane?

    ...Alternatively, there's the option of sticking 3 winter tyres on and flogging them in Britain and making a few bob...
  • Krieg
    ...So I'm thinking that I should just get the tyres only (not wheels) changed as required
    I think by getting only the tires and no wheels you won't save much and you might end up spending much more money.

    If you have a whole set you can easily change the tires yourself if you want, plus you do not need to do the tire balancing each time (those little zinc weights on the rim of the wheel). The price for changing the tires in a tire shop or garage is something around 20 to 25 EUR. Changing tires and doing the tire balancing is around 40 to 50 EUR. Depending on how many kilometers you drive and how bad you treat your wheels, you might need to balance your tires every second or third season. Cheap steel wheels do not cost much.

    This all if you actually plan to stay in Germany, at the end it will be better to have 2 whole sets. IMO.
    pog451
    Is this sane?
    No. A set of cheap steel rims for the winter (you can get them used) is cheaper and less hassle.

    ...Alternatively, there's the option of sticking 3 winter tyres on and flogging them in Britain and making a few bob...
    You should never mix tyres like you do. At the least you should have them in pairs, front and back, with the good ones on the driving wheels. Legally its allowed if all the tyres are the same size, but its not a good idea.

    If you are that worried about money, get a complete set of used wheels/tyres.

    Winter tyres is one of those things you never think you need until you do need them, then you really need them. If you ever experience the difference between driving on snow in all-weather or summer tyres and decent winter tyres, youll never not want winter tyres again.
    Allershausen
    ...So I'm thinking that I should just get the tyres only (not wheels) changed as required
    I definitely wouldn't recommend this. I had to put winter tyres on my new alloy wheels once, as the cheapo steel wheels weren't available at the time and putting the tyres on and off scuffed the nice shining alloys quite badly. You might not care about that though.
    Schweinwerfer
    Krieg, Pog:

    Thanks for the tips. A complicating factor in my case is that I may actually sell the car when I return to Britain (it's a British car: UK registered, UK headlights, right-hand-drive, etc.) --- since although it's been a good car and I'm very fond of it, it's probably going to be more hassle bringing it out here permanently than it would be if I were simply to sell it over there and buy a German one here. ...Which is why I don't want to splash out too much on a new set of winter wheels at the moment --- I just need to be able to get around here for a couple of weeks more and then get home. Safely & legally, obviously.

    And I know I really shouldn't mix tyres this way --- I explained to the (British) garage that I wanted the same type (M + S) when my car went in for MOT in the spring, but found afterwards that, alas 'twas not so... (I guessed that they'd probably had no M + S tyres in stock at the MOT place, or the that message had just been forgotten.) Here's hoping they'll give me a better match down at the Reifendienst...

    Allershausen:

    My alloys are scuffed already, so a few more marks won't make much difference. Thanks for the warning, though!
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