September 19, 2022

Best Winter Snow Tires

All-season tyres may be inadequate and even unsafe in a variety of circumstances. Temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and weather that is more severe than light snow can substantially impair the capacity of all-season tyres to maintain traction.

Now that we are aware of the significance of “snow tyres” or winter tyres, let’s look at the top models currently on the market. But first:

What’s the Difference Between Snow Tires and Winter Tires?

“Snow Tires” were essentially useful for snow. For the four months of the year when temperatures have fallen below freezing, “Winter Tires” are useful.

Snow tyres are no longer made. Not since the middle of the 1990s. Snow tyres were the only option in the past, when your father was battling his 1966 Polara home from his job at Montgomery Ward. They were simply a typical bias-ply tyre with an aggressive tread design. With the possible exception of having the potential to be studded, they were built precisely like regular tyres.

All-season or summer tyres are fundamentally different from winter tyres. To begin with, the rubber compound maintains its elasticity in conditions below freezing. A specialised summer tyre can turn practically plastic-like in the cold weather, losing a lot of its ability to help you stop and corner when the weather gets cold. Summer tyres and all-season tyres do not employ the same rubber formula.

In order to eject water and slush and grip surfaces like smooth ice, winter tyre rubber compounds are also significantly more porous than summer tyre rubber compounds.

The contact patch, the palm-sized area where your tyre grips the road, expands and conforms to the road surface with the help of thousands of tiny cuts called “micro-sipes” that are incorporated into the tread blocks of winter tyres. These sipes help the contact patch grip the asphalt surface beneath the layer of snow.

In order to provide our readers with the most comprehensive analysis of the top tyre for purchase, Car Talk recently introduced our Golden Wrench Awards for excellence in tyres. Our top selections for the best winter tyres for 2021 are listed below.

Golden Wrench Award Winners for Best Winter Tire

1. Michelin X-Ice Xi3

Due to its exceptional traction in ice and snow, as well as its toughness and dependability in wintery weather, the Michelin X-Ice Xi3 is our Golden Wrench winner.

2. Continental Viking Contact 7

The Viking Contact 7 receives the Golden Wrench for its outstanding traction and grip in addition to its exceptional handling on snow and ice.

3. Bridgestone Blizzak WS90

Our Silver Wrench winner for control and reliable performance in wintry conditions is the Blizzak WS90.

4. Cooper Discoverer True North

The Discoverer True North is awarded our Silver Wrench for its exceptional handling and grip in snow and ice.

5. Goodyear Ultra Grip Winter Ice WRT

The Ultra Grip Winter Ice WRT has received a Bronze Wrench and is a reliable option for handling and drip in the winter.

Car Talk’s Methodology

Using Car Talk’s exclusive technique based on more than 30 different data points, all of these tyre options were ranked:

  • Consumer Satisfaction: Consumer feedback regarding their experiences with specific tyre models from each of these brands was collected.
  • Industry Professionals: Over 800 technicians and business professionals participated in a nationwide poll conducted by Car Talk researchers to get their perspectives.
  • Government Reporting: Statistics for durability and safety were provided.
  • Tire Quality and Engineering: The overall quality and engineering or innovation of a tyre brand had an impact on a consumer’s choice to buy.
  • Performance: Car Talk examined the performance of tyres from these specific brands in various weather scenarios.
  • Best Winter Tires

Michelin X-Ice Xi3

Our Golden Wrench award goes to the Michelin X-Ice Xi3 for its exceptional handling, quality, and traction. This tyre has outstanding customer evaluations and ratings and performs well in ice and snow.

  • Superior quality
  • Superior handling in wintery conditions
  • Available sizes: 15” – 19”

Continental Viking Contact 7

The Viking Contact 7 receives the Golden Wrench for its superb snow and ice handling, strong customer satisfaction, and superior grip and traction when it counts.

  • Excellent traction
  • Excellent handling in wintery conditions
  • Available sizes: 15” – 22”

Bridgestone Blizzak WS90

One of the most well-liked and rated snow tyres available is the Blizzak. In order to bite and grip in water, snow, slush, and even ice, they employ a combination of grooves and tread patterns.

  • Highly rated and reviewed
  • Great grip in wintery conditions
  • Available sizes: 15” – 19”

Cooper Discoverer True North

Our Silver Wrench goes to the Discoverer True North for its superb handling and grip in icy situations as well as the length of its tread life.

  • Exceptional handling
  • Excellent tread life
  • Available sizes: 16” – 20”

Goodyear Ultra Grip Winter Ice WRT

Due of positive ratings, reviews, and consistent performance, the Ultra Grip Winter Ice WRT has been given a Bronze Wrench. It is a reliable option for winter circumstances.

  • Great ratings and reviews
  • Good performance in wintery conditions
  • Available sizes: 16” – 18”

Yokohama Ice Guard IG52c

The Ice Guard IG52c has cutting-edge winter technology, which improves its handling in harsh winter weather. With this tyre, performance, traction, and grip are all strong.

  • Great traction
  • Solid performance in wintery conditions
  • Available sizes: 14” – 19”

When To Buy Winter Tires

As early as possible is the ideal answer to the question of when to buy winter tyres, but that only reveals part of the tale. The bigger issue is knowing when all-season tyres won’t do the job safely and when winter tyres are necessary.

It’s tempting to go out and get the toughest snow or winter tyres you can find if you live in a region that sees regular snowfall in the winter, but that might not be necessary. Winter tyres are a smart investment if you have a job that doesn’t allow you to telecommute. Jobs that need employees to be on call 24 hours a day include those in the medical, firefighting, and law enforcement professions.

However, if your employment permits you to work from home, you don’t have to go anywhere during a snowstorm, and you have the luxury of staying inside while the weather is bad, then you can definitely get by with all season tyres. It’s reasonable to assume that you won’t be able to climb up or over snow-covered driveways or snow banks.

What Are Studs And Do You Need Them?

Some winter tyre models can have studs added for people who are particularly worried about becoming stuck in the snow and who worry about slipping on ice. Some winter tyres allow for the addition of studs to the tread. The studs, which are actually tiny metal spikes, aid in the tire’s ability to maintain traction on even the slickest surfaces.

Since the metal spikes can damage pavement in warmer weather, many municipalities have legislation prohibiting their use beyond a specific time of year. It’s also crucial to keep in mind that studs reduce the amount of dry traction a tyre can produce because there are several metal protrusions in the tread.

Aren’t All Season Tires Designed for “All Seasons”?

Winter tyres may seem like a foreign language unless you live somewhere where the air is bitterly cold for at least part of the year. In order to protect their vehicles from skidding out when the weather shifted, drivers had to switch between “winter tyres” (tyres made from the same rubber, but with a more aggressive tread pattern) and summer tyres before the late 1970s. The introduction of all-season tyres has reduced the need for traditional snow tyres for many drivers.

Even all-weather tyres have their limitations. All season tyres may lose some of their flexibility when the temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, making it more difficult to maintain traction. If the temperature drops low enough, they may potentially break or split. In addition, the tread patterns of all-season tyres are not optimised for traction in the snow or for deflecting slush away from the wheels.

Winter Tire FAQ

What’s the difference between winter tires and all-season tires?

The obvious distinction is in the tread pattern; the less evident distinction is in the rubber composition.

With hundreds of tiny grooves in the tyre that aid the tread blocks in flattening out on the ice, the tread pattern on a winter tyre is designed to help the tyre grip ice better. In order for the tyre to eject compacted snow, winter tyres also have extra room between the tread blocks.

But rubber composition is as crucial. At any temperature below 40 degrees, the rubber composition in all-season tyres practically transforms to plastic. If the temperature is lower than that, these tyres will lose a significant amount of traction in dry conditions. They are almost ineffective in snow. Unlike all-season tyres, winter tyres can keep their grip on the road surface at far lower temperatures because their rubber compounds remain flexible long below freezing.

What is the best winter tire pressure?

This is the same as with regular tyres, however the pressure in some winter tyres (particularly studded tyres) may be different. The ideal tyre pressure for your car model should be found on a white and yellow label located inside the driver-side door. That tyre pressure might shift based on how many people and how much stuff you have in the car. Keep in mind that the number printed on the tyre is never the ideal pressure but rather the maximum safe level.

What is the best tire change kit?

Your car should have arrived with a small spare tyre and tire-changing equipment in the trunk. In this situation, you already have everything you need to change the tyre physically, but just in case, you might want to bring along a second roadside emergency kit with a better lug wrench, jumper cables, and emergency markings.

Tire Buying FAQ

Where do I shop for the best prices?

In general, winter tyres (especially studded tyres) should be inflated to the same pressure as ordinary tyres, but this may vary depending on the manufacturer. A white and yellow label inside the driver’s door will tell you what pressure your tyres should be at for your specific vehicle model. Depending on the weight of the passengers and cargo, the optimal tyre pressure may change. Tire labels always indicate the maximum safe pressure, not the optimal pressure.

How much is shipping?

When you choose to have the tyres installed at a partner shop, the majority of online tyre retailers provide free shipping or discounted freight costs. The retailer might have a deal with a regional tyre chain or installation shop, in which case the tyres could be delivered free of charge.

How long does shipping take?

When you buy tyres from a company like Tire Rack, you can expect them to arrive at your selected installer in as little as two days. Discount Tire Direct is just one of several companies who provide expedited shipment at no cost. The location you call home is also a factor. It should move quickly if you live in a major city and close to a warehouse. It could take a little longer if you’re located 5 miles away from East Moosejaw.

How much does it cost to install a tire?

When you buy tyres from certain stores, they’ll install them for free, and online sellers frequently advertise the same deal for customers who opt to have installation done by one of their partners. Depending on what is required, you should anticipate paying anywhere from $15 and $50 per tyre if you do need to pay for tyre installation. For a secure and comfortable ride, that money is used to mount and balance the tyre.

Do I need to change the tire pressure monitoring system with tires?

Even though the tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) operates apart from the tyres, it still needs to be inspected at regular intervals to make sure nothing is wrong. This inspection is part of the routine service provided by your neighbourhood tyre shop when you have your tyres rotated or replaced.

Can an online retailer help me with winter tires?

Yes! Nearly every online retailer’s website has the proper fit, tyre pattern, and speed rating available. Around the time when customers start looking for winter tyres, they occasionally offer discounts and rebates (late fall).

If I’m changing tire sizes or buying winter tires, should I buy a wheel and tire package from an online retailer?

It’s not necessary to obtain your wheels and tyres from the same place, but you might as well if you want to save money. View the store’s current deals before making a final decision. As an alternative, you might buy the wheels from a regional dealer and the tyres from an online retailer.

Do online retailers provide tire rebates the way traditional stores do?

Yes, and occasionally refunds are provided in addition to tyre discounts. If the rebates are confusing, be sure to talk with or call the shop before placing your order so that you may clarify your questions and understand what you’re obtaining.

Master Henry

Meet Master Henry, the prolific Australian author with a flair for capturing the essence of lifestyle, travel, and fashion in his captivating prose. Hailing from the land Down Under, Henry weaves vivid tales that transport readers to exotic destinations and infuse his writing with a touch of Aussie charm. With a keen eye for trends and an innate understanding of the finer things in life, Master Henry's work transcends conventional genres, offering a unique blend of sophistication and wanderlust.

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