As you know, winter tires are easily recognizable by the small logo of the snowflake and the mountain adorning their sides. Where winter tires are mandatory, this small flake is the pledge that you meet the basic requirements for the winter tire name. But this small snowflake, and its small mountain, are they really guarantees of quality? To know it, you have to know who and how this logo is authorized!
It all began in 1999, as Canadian and US tire associations came to an agreement: a tire grip test standard was established for winter tire recognition. So is born the logo!
To obtain it, you must obtain the pass mark for the ASTM F 1805 test, a poetic name that is in fact a comparison of the performance of your winter tire in difficult conditions.
In simple terms, this means that the tire that wants to wear a snowflake must have a snow grip 10% higher than the standard reference tire used by everyone.
As you can understand, the tire with these standards is not necessarily the best. The reference tire is a four-season tire, and exceeding it by 10% is not a performance worthy of a world record. On the contrary, some better quality tires (the most recent Yokohama or the Michelin for example) reach almost 160% of the results!
So do not be fooled. Of course, the snowflake and the mountain are a minimum required for your winter tires. But take the time to consult the experts and check the quality of your tires. The minimum rule is not necessarily the safest for you!