Winter tires within Europe

In some European countries winter tires are mandatory for cars. In others they are not mandatory or only under special conditions. Therefore, it should be helpful, before going on holidays, to have a closer look at the corresponding regulations.

The 30 European Consumer Centers answered the following questions concerning winter tires in Europe, Iceland and Norway:

  • Are winter tires mandatory or not?
  • Are there special areas where winter tires are mandatory?
  • Ar there special caution signs where winter tires are required?
  • Are studded tires allowed?
  • Are snow chains allowed?


Winter tires within Europe, in Iceland and Norway (PDF for download)


Winter tires in Germany

  • The German regulation doesn’t indicate a minimal temperature or a determined period when the vehicles shall be fitted with winter tires. Drivers must adapt the tires to the weather conditions. Winter tires are mandatory in case of black ice, packed snow, slush, glaze and slippery frost.
  • Winter tires must have at least 1,6 mm tread depth. They have to be installed on all 4 wheels. For motorbikes winter tires are not mandatory.
  • Winter tires manufactured after 31st December 2017 must carry the alpine symbol (mountain with snowflake). M + S (Mud and Snow) tires manufactured prior to 31st December 2017 are allowed to be used until 30th September 2024. After this date only tires carrying the alpine symbol are allowed.
  • All-year-round-tires carrying the alpine symbol are considered as winter tires and are allowed to be used. All-year-round-tires carrying the M + S symbol are allowed to be used as winter tires until 30th September 2024 if they have been produced prior to 31st December 2017.
  • If you are in breach of the law, not only the owner but also the driver will be fined. The fine for the driver is from 60 up to 120 € and 1 point in the German driving ability register FAER, depending on the type of the offence. The fine for the owner is 75 € and 1 point in the registry.
  • If you do not use appropriate tires: You might encounter problems with your insurance company in case of an accident caused by a third person or by your fault.