Driving For Members

When should I change to winter tyres in Sweden?

The Local Sweden
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When should I change to winter tyres in Sweden?
Now. You should probably change to winter tyres now. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/Scanpix

Winter is here, but when do you need to change to winter tyres in Sweden and what does the law say about studs?


Swedish law states that all cars must be equipped with winter tyres between December 1st and March 31st if the weather conditions require it. If your car doesn't have them or if they are not up to scratch (a tread depth of at least three millimetres), you risk a fine of 1,200 kronor.

This includes both cars with Swedish licence plates and foreign plates.

So when do the weather conditions require it? When there's snow, ice, slush or frost on the road, but it's up to police to make that call.

In any case, don't leave it too late, as temperatures plummet before December 1st in many parts of Sweden. Winter tyres radically decrease the risk of skidding and improve a vehicle's overall braking capacity on slippery surfaces, reducing the risk of accidents.

Remember also that even when the law doesn't state you need winter tyres, you are still responsible for making sure your car is safe.

There are two types of winter tyres to choose from: stud-free friction tyres and studded tyres.

In general, studded winter tyres are better suited for icy roads or on surfaces with hard-packed snow, while stud-free tyres work better on roads with soft snow. In northern Sweden, cars nearly always have studded tyres, while friction tyres are a common option further south.

Studded tyres are allowed between October 1st and April 15th, or in wintery driving conditions.


Pay attention though: studded tyres are illegal on some inner-city streets in major Swedish cities for air pollution reasons. In Stockholm, that includes Hornsgatan, Fleminggatan and parts of Kungsgatan, and in Gothenburg studded tyres are banned on Friggagatan and Odinsgatan.

Studded tyres are allowed on all streets in Malmö in southern Sweden, where studded tyres are relatively rare so a ban would have little effect. And in northern Sweden, studded tyres are essential to stay safe on the road, so it would be impractical to ban them in cities.

Stud-free friction tyres are allowed all year round, but are not as safe as summer tyres when temperatures go above 5C.

Here are more tips about driving in Sweden in winter

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William Prendergast 2023/10/20 20:48
It is possible now to purchase tires that are rated for year-around use (including hot summer conditions) but that have the "mountain/snowflake" label indicating suitability for "severe winter conditions." They allow one to avoid the expense and inconvenience of seasonal tire changeover. Such "all-climate" or year-around tires are offered by many makers. I have used such tires in a US climate very similar to that in Göteborg and have found them to be very satisfactory.

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