Winter tyres, also commonly known as snow tyres, are manufactured from softer rubber compounds than those used on standard tyres, as well as deeper treads specifically developed for maintaining grip in colder and harsher conditions, such as snow and ice and weather below 7oC. The question is; are you required to use them in New Zealand?
What The Law Says
Most motorists in New Zealand won’t really need to use winter tyres as winter tyres might be more appropriate for only a small number of people who drive regularly in alpine, wintry conditions. However, take note that you if you do use them, you must change them back to standard tyres after winter.
That said, all-season tyres might be a better option for motorists who drive in wintry conditions occasionally. This would be more advantageous for them since they could use the tyres year-round. Just consult a local tyre dealer, such as Tyretracks, for affordable tyres that are most appropriate for your particular requirements.
According to the New Zealand Transport Agency, while you’re not legally required to fit your vehicle with winter tyres, you have to meet certain rules if you do decide to use them since they could dangerous if improperly fitted and maintained. Hence, you have to make certain that all your wheels are fitted with winter tyres that have a minimum tread depth of 4mm in the tyre grooves that typically includes indicators of tread depth.
If shopping for winter tyres, look out for a distinct tread pattern consisting of deep square-like tread blocks with zigzagging grooves (or sipes) that enable them to flex in order to maintain your tyres’ grip on the road. Likewise, winter tyres typically have the jagged mountain and snowflake symbol and/or the word ‘STUDLESS’ on the tyre’s sidewall.
You’re not legally required to fit your vehicle with winter tyres, but if you opt to fit it with winter tyres, you must comply with the laws. Otherwise, if you present your vehicle for a Certificate of Fitness or Warrant of Fitness and you failed to comply with the requirements, your vehicle won’t pass the inspection.