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Winter tires, how to recognize the right one

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ROME – “The recommendation of the manufacturers and Specialist Dealers is to book the intervention with the tire dealer in advance, in order to allow safe distancing and procedures”. In the aftermath of the obligation to drive with winter tires, which began on Monday 15 November, it is the director of Assogomma Fabio Bertolotti who takes the floor and takes stock of the situation in a decisive sector for the Italian industry.

“The car has always been, and in times of pandemic even more, the preferred means of mobility and this trend has a positive effect on the tire aftermarket in terms of parts required for replacements,” he explains. “There is also an important phenomenon that has a heavy impact on the sector: the question of prices. We are experiencing a real economic storm. In less than a year we have seen an unprecedented increase in raw materials. The cost impact for the production of rubber items, including tires, has increased by more than 50%. Added to this is the increase in the costs of transport, steel, containers and, lastly, the increase in the energy bill. We expect that in the short term, the consumer will have more difficulty in finding the desired tire and prices will experience double-digit increases. The Asian market also suffers from the same price dynamics plus higher transport costs. The quotations between premium brands and lesser-known first-price brands are therefore approaching. This phenomenon will have a positive effect on both road safety and environmental sustainability aspects. “

Winter tires: which ones to choose and why. To avoid surprises and some “scam”

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The tire is black and round, apparently they are all the same but this is not the case. The technical content of the tire is extremely important. Already ten years ago, to help the consumer in the choice, the European legislator imposed a labeling that in addition to having the parameters relating to energy saving which for tires is called rolling resistance (the best class reduces fuel consumption by up to 7% ), introduced other parameters related to safety such as wet grip (the best class allows a reduction of braking distance up to 30%).

To recognize whether a tire is winter or not, it is necessary to refer to the new labeling. entered into force a few months ago and bearing two new important symbols. One refers to winter tires and is the 3PMSF symbol, that is a stylized mountain with three peaks with a snowflake inside. The other is the ICE symbol. This is a new marking, always in addition to the Alpine pictogram that may be present, but only for car tires designed for particularly cold winter climates, with the presence of stratified ice on the ground, tested in accordance with specific internationally recognized test methods. The ice grip pictogram indicates that the tire offers the best safety performance in the difficult winter conditions typical of Nordic European countries, which are generally very different from those found in Italy. The recommendation is always to use tires designed for the specific environmental conditions of the country in which you usually drive.

The European Union has allowed Member States to grant incentives to use class A or B products for both of the two main characteristics, namely rolling resistance and wet grip. “All that remains is to implement what has already been indicated by our European Authorities”, concludes Bertolotti. “Assogomma’s invitation to our Government is to define a provision that will implement this clear direction. An operation with beneficial effects both in environmental and road safety terms. An immediate and concrete way is to provide for concessions for the purchase of A or B class tires. By doing so, we will have immediate effects on fuel consumption, the reduction of related harmful emissions and the advantages of road safety. Today in Italy we consume about 40 billion liters of automotive fuel (between petrol and diesel) with an estimated cost of around 60 billion euros. It is estimated that the use of class A or B tires, obviously properly inflated, could result in savings of over 2 billion liters, equal to over 4 billion euros, avoiding CO2 emissions in the order of 7 million tons. per year “.

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