SNOW TIRES


Do you really need snow tires?

Experts agree: If you drive regularly on ice or snow, you'll be safer on

winter tires than on all-season tires. "When temperatures drop and snow

falls, there is no question that dedicated winter tires provide the best road-

holding grip," says Gene Petersen at ConsumerReport.org. He adds that in

their testing, ConsumerReports.org found that "winter tires easily

command a 20-percent bene t in snow and ice traction over all-season

tires, and some of the best winter tires have nearly twice the grip as some

all-season models."

Keep in mind that winter tires aren't just for snow; cold temperatures can

harden regular tires' rubber, reducing their ability to grip pavement,

especially when things get icy. But softer, more porous snow tires

absolutely thrive in cold climates. The colder it gets, the more tenaciously

they grip.

Types of snow tires

Snow Tires for Passenger Cars

Unlike all-season tires, snow tires for passenger cars have special tread

designs and compounds to grip better on snow, ice and cold pavement.

Studded Snow Tires

Studded winter tires are designed for motorists who have to contend with

extreme winter-weather conditions on a prolonged and regular basis.

These tires have built-in metal teeth that bite into ice. They're loud, and

they can damage pavement. Still, studded tires outperform studless

versions at a crucial task -- braking on slippery ice.


Best Snow Tires | Top 7 Snow Tire Reviews

Performance Winter Tires

These are designed for high-performance cars. They grip better on wet and

dry roads than regular snow tires, so they're also great for mild winters --

you'll be ready in case it snows, without giving up performance when it's

warmer. They don't cling quite as stickily to ice, though.

Snow Tires for SUVs and Light Trucks

These are similar to passenger-car snow tires -- and some lines are also

available in sizes suitable for coupes and sedans -- but are top performers

when installed on bigger, heavier vehicles.

What if I have all-wheel drive?

Just because you have an all-wheel-drive car doesn't mean you don't need

winter tires, as the editors of Popular Mechanics found out. In a test,

reviewers drove two identical Chevy Equinoxes -- one with front-wheel

drive and one with all-wheel drive (AWD) -- on a packed-snow track with a

milled-ice underlay.

The AWD Equinox equipped with snow tires braked the quickest from 60

mph; when equipped with all-season tires, the same Equinox went from

rst to worst in terms of stopping distance. The front-wheel-drive Equinox

also handled better when using snow tires than with all-season wheels.

"On snow tires, both cars came to a halt about a car length sooner -- often

the di erence between a close call and a call to your insurance company,"

testers wrote.

When using winter tires, both models also enjoyed a slight advantage in

acceleration, cornering (how tightly a vehicle hugs the road in curves), and

climbing a 10-percent grade. Bottom line, according to Popular Mechanics

and virtually every other expert we consulted: AWD or not, winter tires

trump all-weather tires in ice and snow.

A word about price estimates

Unless otherwise indicated, pricing estimates in this report are per tire,

and for the smallest size available at retail. Be aware that larger tires can

cost more, sometimes a lot more. Pricing also doesn't include installation --

sometimes free, depending on your retailer -- and you can incur extra costs

for balancing, stems, tire disposal, etc. If buying online, some sellers o er

free shipping, but others do not; shipping costs on one tire, let alone four,

can sometimes be substantial.

How we picked the best snow tires

ConsumerReports.org conducts the most exacting snow tire tests.

TireRack.com, a tire retailer, also conducts impartial reviews and names

best choices. We also found a very helpful six-tire test conducted by Car

and Driver magazine. Testers in countries where winters are even ercer

than what we see in the U.S. also provide valuable insights, and we looked

at feedback from experts such as Canada's Automobile Protection

Association and the Norwegian Automobile Federation. We scoured

hundreds of owner reviews, as well -- they're an essential piece of the

puzzle -- to nd out whether a given snow tire will really help you stay safe

in the winter. When analyzing these reviews we take into consideration

how well the tire grips on icy, snowy, wet and dry pavement, the quality

and noise of the ride while using the tires, and how well the tread holds up

over time.

If a Midwest snow storm can teach us one lesson, it's that it's never too

early in the season to start thinking about winter tires. "We start

encouraging drivers to think about snow tires in September," says John

Rastetter, a senior executive at Tire Rack , a prominent national tire retailer.

Even if you weren't among the millions who spent a weekend before

Halloween shoveling snow instead of raking leaves, know that winter is

upon us and the most important thing you can do to get your car ready is

to make sure it is riding on the right tires for the season.

Why snow tires?Why snow tires?

While many drivers assume that regular all-season tires are just ne for

year-round driving, that's only true if you live in a temperate climate. If you

live where it snows – or your area experiences routine sub-40 degree

Fahrenheit temperatures – a set of dedicated winter tires will dramatically

improve your safety during the coldest months. While brand new all-

season tires can provide reasonable traction during the winter, their

performance is roughly equivalent to half-worn snow tires, says Rastetter.

Half-worn all-season tires, on the other hand, are unsuitable for winter

driving in snow and on icy roads.

Winter tires gain their advantage not only because they have superior tread

patterns that are designed for traction on ice and snow, but because they

employ softer rubber compounds to enhance grip. This winter rubber is

designed to perform, not only when there's snow and ice on the pavement,

but in cold temperatures on dry pavement. This is why winter tires are not

suitable for summer, warm-weather driving, as their softer rubber and

more open tread pattern will wear rapidly. Likewise, low-pro le summer

performance tires are terrible in cold temperatures. All-season tires

compromise their winter ability in order to be used during the summer.

Many reasons for, few against.


Are Snow Tires Really Worth It?

While drivers of rear-wheel-drive cars have long employed dedicated

winter tires, mounted on an extra set of wheels for easy changeover, it's

only been in the last decade that drivers of front- and all-wheel-drive

vehicles have embraced the bene t of such an arrangement. While snow

tires help a car get moving on icy pavement – always the prime motivation

for owners of rear-drive cars – they also help any car to both stop and

corner in snow and ice.

Indeed, braking performance is the biggest reason why drivers of front-

and all-wheel-drive cars would choose winter tires, as they dramatically

decrease stopping distance. Tests conducted by Tire Rack saw a 35-percent

improvement in braking when using winter tires over standard all-season

tires. And that percentage could constitute a life-and-death difference.

One of the biggest reasons customers have for not buying snow tires is

always cost. A complete set of winter rubber mounted on spare wheels

can easily cost $1,000 (or more) for owners of high-end vehicles with large

wheels. Yet when compared to the cost of an insurance deductible – or the

possibility that a good set of winter tires might be the di erence between

life and death in an accident – the tires make good sense.

The other factor that many drivers do not employ in their 'can I a ord

winter tires?' math is that the use of winter tires prolongs the life of your

primary tires. "It may be an extra thousand dollars today," says Rastetter,

"but it's going to stretch them out from two to three years of service to ve

to six years of service."

Think of it this way: Instead of buying two sets of all-season tires over the

ownership of your car, you're buying a set of all season tires and a set of

snow tires. Really, the only extra cost is the additional set of wheels.

"These Are The Best Winter Tires You Can

Buy" AutoGuide.com News

The winter season is here and with it comes all the snow, slush, iceThe winter season is here and with it comes all the snow, slush, ice

and muck that makes driving during this time such a headache.and muck that makes driving during this time such a headache.

However you can cut through all that mess if your car is equipped with

winter tires. You may be wondering what winter tires to get, and we’ve got

some handy information from the folks at TireRack.com to help point you

in the right direction.

Customers at TireRack.com have reported back to the online retailer via

surveys, explaining their likes and dislikes on the winter tires they

purchased, and there’s a staggering 130,915 surveys o ering info. Things

from the amount of miles logged on a set of tires, to the way they feel in

the wet and dry are all ranked and it allows us to get a good understanding

of what the best tires you can get are. These surveys have been going on

since 1997, and encompass 459 different tire models.

Here are the best winter tires they are in each respective category for both

cars and SUVs.

CarsCars

Studless Ice & Snow:Studless Ice & Snow:

These are your typical winter tires. Without the use of studs, these tires are

designed to provide traction in ice and snow. They may not be best winter

tires for dry and wet weather, but they’ll provide the best con dence in

white stuff.

Bridgestone Blizzak WS80Bridgestone Blizzak WS80

The Bridgestones Blizzak WS80 were the top rated tire according to

TireRack customers, netting over 1.3 million miles of reported reviews.

These tires topped all others o ered at the online retailer earning top

marks in snow and ice performance while also impressing owners with

their performance in the wet as well. Owners all seem to agree that they’d

recommend these tires to someone else.


Also consider:

Michelin X-Ice3

Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice WRT

Studdable Winter / SnowStuddable Winter / Snow

Drivers who live in areas that see a lot of ice may want to get these kinds of

tires, which can be equipped with studs to enhance grip in slippery

situations. On the other hand, they don’t need studs to be e ective winter

tires either.

General Altimax ArcticGeneral Altimax Arctic

The General Altimax Arctic has over 11 million miles on the road according

to its reviewers, and are regarded as the best tires in this category by the

online retailer. It earned top marks in the snow and ice performance, in

addition to dry road performance, where studded tires can be a pain.

Finally, the tires also received the best rating in the class for comfort.

Also Consider:

Goodyear Ultra Grip Winter

Pirelli Winter Carving Edge

Performance Winter / SnowPerformance Winter / Snow

These tires are designed to have some basic capabilities in the snow and

ice, but are designed to excel at cold, dry weather driving.

Pirelli Winter Snowcontrol Serie 3Pirelli Winter Snowcontrol Serie 3


With 63,000 miles logged, these Pirelli Winter Snowcontrol Serie 3 tires are

the top rated items o ered at TireRack, thanks to high marks in comfort

and dry weather handling. The tires also scored quite highly with

customers in the Wet and Snow categories as well.

Also Consider:

Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4

Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3

SUVsSUVs

Light Truck/SUV Studless Ice & SnowLight Truck/SUV Studless Ice & Snow

SUVs and Crossovers need winter tires too, even if they have fancy all-

wheel drive systems. The tires are the essential part of the vehicle that

gives it traction, and if the rubber has no grip then nothing will change that.

Like the car categories, these Studless Ice and Snow tires are the tires

designed to excel in snow and ice, while being adequate at dry and wet

handling.

Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2

Bridgestone delivers another solid o ering for winter tires, this time with

the SUV focused Blizzak DM-V2. These tires delivered the best ratings for

everything except treadwear, so if you’re looking for the most capable tire

for your truck then these are them.

Also Consider:

Yokohama iceGUARD iG51v

Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V1

Light Truck/SUV Studdable Winter / SnowLight Truck/SUV Studdable Winter / Snow

If you’re worried about driving your truck on ice, then you need to consider

getting studdable winter tires. While able to provide good traction in the

snow thanks to good winter tire compound, these tires have the optional

bene t of being able to have studs which will improve traction on icey

surfaces.


Firestone Winterforce LTFirestone Winterforce LT

The Firestone Winterforce LT was the top product o ered here, with

reviewers racking up 828,000 miles and reporting excellent performance in

the dry in addition to the already good handling in the snow and ice.


Also Consider:

Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice WRT SUV

Firestone Winterforce UV

Light Truck/SUV Performance Winter / SnowLight Truck/SUV Performance Winter / Snow

It’s a niche, but they’re winter tires nonetheless. These tires are designed to

provide excellent dry and wet road handling performance in cold weather,

and will trade off snow and ice handling in order to get that.

Pirelli Scorpion WinterPirelli Scorpion Winter


They’re one of two items o ered at TireRack, so it’s obvious one of these

Pirelli Scorpion Winter tires models will take the crown as best rated. While

these are considered the best in the segment for being generally better

than their ice and snow counterparts.

Pirelli Scorpion Ice & Snow


Test Results

SNOWCROSS SNOW SNOW ICE ICE

LAP TIME, ACCELERATION, BRAKING, ACCELERATION, BRAKING,

sec 3–18 mph, sec 18–3 3–16 mph, sec 16–3

mph, ft mph, ft

Bridgestone 30.15 3.48 33.333.3 7.34 37.8

Continental 29.52 3.46 34.5 7.28 38.2

Dunlop 29.74 3.55 33.8 8.31 39.1

Michelin 29.73 3.41 33.5 7.19 36.3

Nokian 29.4329.43 3.403.40 33.333.3 7.027.02 36.036.0

Yokohama 31.17 3.53 34.7 8.00 38.9


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