They're also easy to pick out: severe duty winter tires have sidewalls that are marked with a three-peaked mountain that has a snowflake symbol in the middle of its outline.
What does the mountain snowflake symbol on tires mean?
If this symbol is on the sidewall of the winter tires you’re shopping for, it denotes that they have been tested and proven under extreme winter driving conditions. It also means that specific set of tires meet or exceed the prerequisite capability requirements put in place by the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) to determine whether a tire is fit for use in severe snow conditions.
M + S Tires vs. Mountain Snowflake Symbol Tires
It's fairly common to find a tire that has a large "M" and "S" stamped on its sidewall. The M + S, M / S, or M & S rating signifies what generally is a manufacturer-determined mud and snow rating, that may feature tire sipes designed to provide more grip in these kind of conditions than the exact same tires that do not have the M + S rating.
Some all-terrain and all-season tires may even have the M + S rating, but these should not be considered true snow or severe snow condition tires. Basically, they're acceptable for use where temperatures occasionally dip down below freezing and where light snow flurries aren't uncommon.
Because tires bearing the mountain snowflake symbol have been so rigorously tested to excel in winter conditions, they may also have the M + S rating from their manufacturer â€“ but remember that this rating is not standardized like winter tires with the mountain snowflake symbol are.
At the end of the day, when traction is paramount and stopping distances need to be as short as possible every time you have to venture out in the snow, any winter tire with the distinctive severe snow service mountain and snowflake symbol on its sidewall is the best choice to safely get you where you need to go.
Give your local America's Tire a call today or find the closest store near you that can set you up with a set of these heavy duty winter tires before the cold sets in!
Where to buy tires with the three-peak mountain snowflake symbol
Visit one of our locations or order online to find the perfect performance snow tires for your machine, and find other topics on snow tires and winter driving here:
- Studded Winter Tires vs. Tire Chains
- Tires Below 45 Degrees
- Winter Tire FAQs
- All-Season vs. Summer vs. Winter Tires
- Winter Wheels
- Winter Driving Tips
- Wet Weather Driving Tips
- Tire Air Pressure and Temperature Change
Stop by your local America's Tire and we'll get you taken care of!