The newsroom discussion started simple enough: Is the industry's three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMS) symbol reliable?
The 3PMS symbol — a snowflake inside of a mountain — came about in 1999 as a way for consumers to take one look at a tire and know it is built to handle snow.
The ASTM-designed testing procedure attempts to determine traction by measuring acceleration in medium-packed snow.
The onus is on the manufacturer to do the testing itself or hire a testing firm to do it.
Certainly, one would expect any respectable tire maker to do its due diligence when ensuring a product lives up to performance promises. You probably wouldn't be in business too long otherwise.
Still, for the sake of argument, what is holding back a bad actor from just throwing the 3PMS symbol on a tire?
We believe it's a valid discussion, because, ultimately, it's about safety.
The debate started months ago when the Tire Business editorial staff brainstormed topics for our yearly look at the winter tire market. We put TB Senior Reporter Kathy McCarron on the case to flush out the story, and, as always, she did a thorough job.