What Does The Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake Symbol Mean? -
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What Does The Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake Symbol Mean?

Madeleine Winer is managing editor of Tire Review magazine. Before joining the tire industry, she worked as a producer and reporter at the Louisville Courier Journal. She is a graduate of Kent State University with a bachelor's degree in journalism and speaks Spanish fluently.

There is one symbol on tires you can point out to customers looking for safe driving in snowy conditions.


When a customer looks at their tire sidewall, they probably see a circus of numbers and letters, and they don’t really know what they mean. But you, as a tire dealer, can help. In this video, Tire Review’s Maddie Winer reviews the one symbol on tires you can point out to customers if they’re looking for safe driving in snowy conditions, from the Tire Review Continental Garage Studio at Babcox Media.

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You’ve probably seen a mountain symbol with a snowflake on top of it on the sidewall of a tire when you’re selling a particular set to a customer. This is a tire’s three-peak mountain snowflake symbol and is stamped on the sidewall of tires that meet required performance criteria in snow testing. With this symbol, a tire is considered severe snow service-rated.

That means the tire has undergone additional testing to ensure winter weather usability. This standard came about in 1999 when the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) and the Rubber Association of Canada (RAC) agreed on the three-peak mountain snowflake to identify passenger and light truck tires that attain a traction index equal to, or greater than 110 during traction tests.


The industry-standard test to determine if a tire gets the three-peak mountain snowflake logo is an acceleration test to measure traction on medium-packed snow. Braking and turning on snow, along with ice traction are not components of the test.

Tires branded with the three-peak mountain snowflake symbol are expected to provide better snow traction beyond a standard M+S branded all-season tire.

So, the next time a customer comes in concerned about buying tires that will give traction in snow, point the three-peak mountain snowflake symbol out to them and explain it. Chances are, it will give them peace of mind when confronted with the elements.

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