Quad in winter use: adapted tires necessary
If you want to use your quad on public roads in winter, you have to observe the applicable winter tire requirement. Due to their off-road mobility, ATVs and quads are actually perfect for being on the road on snow-covered slopes, whether for pure locomotion or for use in winter service. However, if the vehicle is street legal, winter tires are compulsory. An ‘M+S’ identifier is currently sufficient; soon the Alpine symbol will become mandatory. What should be considered when buying tires?
Quad in winter use: Conversion to winter operation
With a few conversion measures, quads and ATVs are also suitable as powerful helpers for winter service – for which additional accessories must be procured. The market offers a wide range of accessories for many models, ranging from snow plows and spreaders to snow groomers for preparing cross-country ski trails; a whole row of specialists have specialized in corresponding conversions.
For small distances, the manoeuvrable quads and ATVs are of course clearly superior to the large and much more expensive clearing vehicle. Some vehicle manufacturers already have converted models in their range, while others have to do this themselves by the owner. In this context, it is of course important that the roadworthiness remains. However, the conversion must not only be carried out in such a way that the actual purpose can be fulfilled, traffic safety and thus the ability to be approved must not be impaired.
Changing the winter tire requirement: what quad drivers need to know
Since December 4, 2010, winter tires have also been compulsory in Germany for ATVs and quads, as part of a regulation amending the road traffic regulations and the catalog of fines regulation. It says in § 2 paragraph 3a:
On black ice, hard snow, slush, ice or frost, a motor vehicle may only be driven with tires that meet the properties described in Annex II Number 2.2 of Directive 92/23/EEC (…) (M+S tires). (…) Sentence 1 does not apply to commercial vehicles used in agriculture and forestry (…) if no M+S tires are available for these vehicles due to their design.
In the event of non-compliance without impeding other road users, the catalog of fines provides for a fine of 40 euros, with a disability 80 euros and a Flensburg point are due. Although the text of the law explicitly mentions tires with the ‘M+S’ identifier (the abbreviation stands for ‘mud and snow’), the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development believes that this is not absolutely necessary. Jens Redöhl (Department of Political Planning and Communication – Unit L 23) has given the following statement on this:
All tires that meet the properties described in Directive 92/23/EEC (M+S tires) are considered M+S tires. According to this, M+S tires are tires in which the profile of the tread and the structure are designed in such a way that they ensure better driving characteristics than normal tires, especially on mud and fresh or melting snow. The profile of the tread of M+S tires is generally characterized by larger tread grooves and/or lugs separated from each other by larger spaces than is the case with normal tires. Whether a tire is an M+S tire does not depend on the respective labeling of the tire. If the tires obviously meet the described properties due to their coarse profile, a corresponding M+S label is not required at all.
Jens Redöhl, Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development, Department of Political Planning and Communication – Department L 23
This statement follows the realization that tires suitable for use in winter are not only designed for low temperatures because of the nature of the profile, but also with regard to the tire compound. A softer rubber ensures that a high grip can be guaranteed even at low outside temperatures.
The advantage for ATV and quad riders was that almost all tires available were of this specification – specifically, there was no need to buy special winter tires as long as the ‘obviousness’ of the characteristics described was to be relied upon.
If you don’t want to get into a discussion with the sheriff and want to play it safe, you will find a range of ATV and quad tire types with M+S identification from the manufacturers CST and Maxxis, including the popular Bighorns from Maxxis. Alternatively, car winter tires can also be used on the quad with the appropriate rims and bolt circle adapters – which, however, does not necessarily make sense, after all, lamellas only grip in the snow if the vehicle weighs far more than that of our ATVs and quads located.
From 2024, the labeling obligation is to change; then the Alpine symbol is mandatory, which depicts a snowflake and a mountain. This symbol is actually only found on real winter tires – which is why they must be converted in any case if you do not want to pay a fine when driving in winter. So that the costs are not too high, a comprehensive price comparison for winter tires is definitely recommended.
Heated clothing makes sense
Due to the EU label, it is no longer absolutely necessary to obtain professional advice from the tire service when making a purchase decision. The tires are marked with regard to the rolling noise, adhesion and fuel consumption – even without special specialist knowledge, a simple comparison of the most important properties is possible in this way.
Of course, two things should be taken into account: on the one hand, factors such as noise level hardly play a role with a quad, which is particularly true if the vehicles are actually mainly moved off-road or used for winter service. On the other hand, even high-quality winter tires can hardly prevent snow chains from becoming necessary – ATVs and quads are no exception here. When purchasing winter equipment, you should therefore not do without suitable accessories in the form of chains.
As advantageous as the use of a quad in winter service can be: the lack of weather protection is not unproblematic. Heatable clothing, which should also be breathable, is recommended for drivers. However, the sometimes quite high power requirement must be taken into account here, because the alternator may be reaching its limits. Equipped in this way, ATVs and quads also prove to be ideal companions in winter. x
Contact: > Ministry of Transport
Visit the rest of the site for more useful and informative articles!