What should I watch out for when buying winter tyres?

To find the best deal on winter tyres, take the time to compare prices. Source: iStock / filmfoto

A general rule of thumb is that it is better to drive on winter tyres between October and Easter for safety reasons. So now’s the time to change the tyres on your car. If you need new tyres this winter, then there are a few points to bear in mind when making your choice. Comparis has compiled some key tips.

In Switzerland, there is generally no legal requirement to fit winter tyres. However, you are obliged to ensure that your vehicle is properly equipped to cope with the weather conditions. It is widely accepted that you should use winter tyres between October and Easter – Swiss motoring organization “Automobil Club der Schweiz” (ACS) suggests you should fit them as soon as the temperature drops to 7° Celsius, rather than waiting for the first snowfall.

Don't own any winter tyres or need a new set? Comparis answers key questions on buying winter tyres.

When do I need new winter tyres?

By law, car tyres should have a minimum tread depth of just 1.6 millimetres. However, numerous tests have shown that safety is already compromised when tyres are worn to this level. You have a longer stopping distance and lower traction on wet roads.

This is why we suggest that you change your winter tyres as soon as the tread depth reaches 4 millimetres. But the way a vehicle handles does not just depend on the tread of the tyre. The age of the tyre is also significant, as the rubber compound hardens with time. On the right sidewall of the tyre, you can find the so-called DOT number. The last four digits indicate the age of the tyre (week and year of manufacture). Touring Club Switzerland (TCS) recommends waiting no more than eight years to replace your winter tyres. 

Which tyres are the right ones for my car?

Not all tyres are suitable for every car. This applies to both summer and winter tyres. You can check your old tyres, the vehicle manual, the door frame or the fuel cap for the correct dimensions. You can find out how to interpret the information in our article "Buying car tyres online – what you need to know". If in doubt, you can contact the Road Traffic Office – keep your model designation number to hand.

What should I watch out for when buying winter tyres?

You should base your choice of tyre characteristics on your driving habits. Do you tend to drive long distances, often on motorways? If so, durability and good handling on wet roads are a priority. Do you live in the mountains or an area that tends to get cold? If so, you should choose tyres that function well on snow and ice. Check the manufacturer's specifications for more information.

Other points to bear in mind:

  • Low rolling friction for lower fuel consumption
  • Low external rolling noise
  • Avoid products classed as “not recommended” in tests

Where can I get the cheapest winter tyres?

To find the best deal, it's a good idea to compare the prices of winter tyres. 

Did you know that you can compare tyres at Our search engine features winter tyres from many manufacturers offering the best value for money. Compare prices and set a price alert so you don't miss a deal.

Try not to buy the first set of tyres you find at the cheapest price. Find out about the quality and the safety characteristics of your chosen tyres, as products can differ enormously in this respect. The EU tyre label, and tests carried out by TCS, ADAC and motoring magazines, provide reliable information. And don't forget to consider the prices offered by your garage when comparing. Bear in mind that there will be additional charges for fitting, wheel balancing, aluminium rims and disposal of old tyres. So before you buy your tyres, check these costs with a potential tyre fitting centre or your garage.

Comparis wishes you safe travels during winter.