If you are travelling to or through Sweden with a vehicle such as a passenger car or heavy truck, you need to make sure the tyres on your vehicle are right. During the winter, the following rules apply
Requirements regarding winter tyres December 1st to March 31st
During the period from 1 December to 31 March there are special requirements in Sweden on which type of tyre a certain vehicle is to have when there are wintry conditions on the road. These requirements apply to both light and heavy vehicles, as well as for vehicles registered in Sweden and abroad.
The road conditions are considered to be wintry when there is snow, ice, slush or frost on any part of the road. The Swedish Police decides whether there are wintry conditions on a certain road.
Winter tyres are produced specifically for winter driving and are labelled M+S (M.S, M-S, M&S or Mud and Snow). Winter tyres can be studded or non-studded. Studded tyres may be used from 1 October to 15 April.
Private cars and light vehicles
The requirement for winter tyres or equivalent equipment applies to private car class I, private car class II (camper) with a maximum total weight of 3.5 metric tons, light truck, light bus and trailers towed by these vehicles.
The depth of the tyre tread has to be at least 3 millimetres during wintry road conditions. Furthermore, if the car has studded tyres, then the trailer must also have studded tyres during wintry road conditions.
Trucks, buses and campers
As from 1 January 2013, heavy trucks, heavy buses and private cars class II (campers) with a total weight of more than 3.5 metric tons, are to have winter tyres or equivalent equipment on the vehicle’s driven wheels when there are wintry conditions on the roads during the period from 1 December to 31 March. This requirement applies to all tyres on driven wheels. Please observe that front-wheel drive vehicles are to be fitted with winter tyres or equivalent equipment on the vehicle’s rear wheels as well.
Equivalent equipment refers to, among other things, snow chains, slip protection and certain tyres with solid-block elements. Block tyres with winter tyre treads labelled M+S or tyres labelled with the symbol alpine peak/snowflake (3PMSF) should be considered winter tyres.
The depth of the tyre tread of all tyres on heavy vehicles is to be at least 5 millimetres during wintry road conditions. This requirement does not apply to attached trailers.
Exceptions from the requirements
A vehicle is allowed to drive in the following cases, if it could be operated without the risk of endangering the traffic security:
- When test driving or towing a vehicle to reparation or similar purposes.
- Driving the shortest and most suitable way to and from the closest motor vehicle inspection site.
- Driving with a vehicle sales license (green registration sign) the shortest most suitable way from harbour, railway station, manufacturing plant, repair shop, storage premises or similar, to other similar premises or garages. With a vehicle sales license it is also allowed to drive the vehicle for demonstration or sales purposes.
- If the tyres (according to the record in the Swedish road traffic registry) has a rim diameter of 10 inches or less.
Studded tyres allowed between October 1st to April 15th
It is allowed to use studded tyres between October 1st to April 15th. Studded tyres are allowed during other times if winter road conditions apply or are expected. If the vehicle has studded tyres, any trailer attached to the vehicle must also have studded tyres, if winter road conditions apply. If the passenger car has non-studded tyres, the trailer can have either studded or non-studded winter tyres.
A mix of studded and non-studded tyres is not allowed on the vehicle.
A definition of winter tyres
Winter tyres can be studded or non-studded so called friction tyres. The tyres must be
- especially manufactured for winter road conditions and
- marked with M+S, M-S, M.S., M&S, MS or Mud and Snow.
Note: There are occurrences with tyres marked with M and S that are not especially manufactured for winter road conditions, but for terrain driving.
As you can’t tell from looking at the tyres if they’re especially manufactured for winter road conditions, the Scandinavian Tire and Rim Organization, STRO, and Däckbranschens Informationsråd have created lists of allowed winter tyres.
Summer tyres have a mixture of rubber that makes them too hard during cold weather. That’s why you should use winter tyres when the temperature is around the freezing point and below.
The best tyres at the back
The tyres with the best pattern depth or the tyres that has the best grip on the road should be mounted at the back on the vehicle to decrease the risk of sliding when breaking or taking turns. The tyres with the highest studs should be mounted at the back. This goes for both front wheel and back wheel steered cars.
Storage of tyres
Store your tyres in a cold, dry and dark place.