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M+S vs. 3PMSF Marking on Tires: What’s the Difference?

Marking and symbols on tires can be confusing for the general consumer. They describe many details of the tire, but in this article we will cover specifically M+S and 3PMSF markings along with how they compete with each other. These markings are used for winter tire traction qualities. The tires undergo a test called the winter tire traction test; tires that pass this test have the symbol M+S on the side, which stands for Mud and Snow. By contrast, 3PMSF stands for 3 Peak Mountain Snowflakes. While the names are similar, the traction levels are actually very different.

M+S markings are usually assigned to All Season Tires, meaning they can be used in summer and winter. An important detail to consider is that the test for this type of marking is done in basic snow and mud. The tires do not undergo a test to see how much traction they have on ice, slush, and black ice. These terrains are very common in countries or states with harsh winters. If you will be using the vehicle in winter, it is best to change specifically to winter tires for enhanced safety.

3PMSF is often referred to simply as the Mountain/Snowflake marking. These tires will provide much better safety on unexpected ice or wet snow, which are both extremely slippery. The marking was first invented by the Rubber Manufacturers Association, or RMA. The tires undergo much stricter transaction tests in extreme winter conditions. In fact, most tires with the M+S marking fail the test that 3PMSF tires have to pass. This is due to the tread inside All Season and Summer tires will stiffen up when facing temperatures under 40F.

The main difference between the two symbols is that M+S will work perfectly in the summer, but as winter arrives it will only work at full performance traction levels on normal snow or mud. 3PMSF tires, by comparison, will operate at much higher traction on winter roads with ice, slush, and sub-40F temperatures. Considering your lifestyle, as well as where you live and operate your vehicle, will help determine the right choice of which marking is right for you.


Still unsure which tire markings or seasons are right for you? Feel free to contact us at OTRUSA.COM, or give us a call at +1-855-687-8721! We have over 20 years of experience in the industry, and our specialists are happy to answer any questions and provide good quality tires to serve all your needs and maximize the performance of your vehicle.

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