Winter driving can be treacherous, but with the right tires, you can ensure safe travels on icy roads. Discover what tires are recommended for winter driving and gear up effectively for the season.
- Winter tires, also known as snow tires, are specifically designed to provide better grip and control in snowy and icy conditions.
- The tread rubber of winter tires is flexible in low temperatures, allowing for optimal traction and stopping power.
- The tread pattern of winter tires features deeper tread depths, increased slots, and sipes to dig into snow and provide maximum traction.
- It is recommended to use a full set of winter tires, rather than just two, to ensure balanced traction and handling on all wheels.
- Winter tires should be mounted before the winter weather hits and should be replaced with all-season or summer tires when temperatures rise.
Top Winter Tire Recommendations
When it comes to winter driving, having the best tires can make all the difference. Here are some top recommendations based on winter tire reviews and expert opinions.
“Successor to the X-Ice Xi3, the X-Ice Snow should offer lower rolling resistance, better ice braking, improved resistance to hydroplaning in wet and slushy environments. The brand claims this tire will last one additional winter over the competition. While we can’t speak to that, we enjoyed X-Ice Snow tires on our long-term Volvo S60 T8, particularly for their surprisingly normal feel in dry conditions.” – Mentioned Source
“Since 1932, Nokian has been a pioneer in the winter-tire world. In fact, the Finnish manufacturer invented the winter tire. The Hakkapeliitta R5, Nokian’s top-line winter tire, uses a highly aggressive tread pattern and silica compound to find grip in deep snow and ice. The Hakka R5 is a zero-compromise winter-tire option, but that superiority comes at a premium price.” – Mentioned Source
Additional Winter Tire Recommendations:
- Bridgestone Blizzak WS90
- Continental VikingContact 7
- Cooper Discoverer True North
- Dunlop Winter Maxx WM02
“The Blizzak WS90 improves on the previous-generation WS80 with an updated tread design and compound, increased tread life, and more available sizes than ever before. After mounting the WS90 on a few long-term cars, we have no doubt that the WS90 is even more capable than its predecessor. We’ve been impressed with the deep-snow traction and overall performance, but still find these tires to be noisier than some competitors.” – Mentioned Source
“The VikingContact 7 from Continental is arguably its best snow tire yet. A specialized rubber compound containing canola oil helps the tires stay more flexible in extreme cold and is also more environmentally friendly to manufacture. The tread pattern is composed of innumerable biting edges and sipes for maximum snow traction.” – Mentioned Source
“In addition to having an exploration-inspiring name, the Discoverer True North is a great winter-tire option for cars and SUVs alike. Cooper claims the True North has the highest silica content of any Cooper winter tire, giving it great ability to dig into icy surfaces. To that point, our long-term Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid was able to traverse Donner Pass in California during the dead of winter (without chaining the tires) with little effort.” – Mentioned Source
“The WM02 is Dunlop’s second generation of the Winter Maxx tire. Like the WM01, the Dunlop uses an asymmetric tread pattern that is supposed to help it run quietly. The Winter Maxx typically is a bit more affordable than some other tires on this list. That’s not to say they’re of lower quality; the previous-generation WM01 nearly matched the braking performance of the best tires in our 2015 winter tire test.” – Mentioned Source
|Michelin X-Ice Snow||Lower rolling resistance, better ice braking, improved resistance to hydroplaning||Optimal performance in snowy and icy conditions||Available for various types of vehicles|
|Nokian Hakkapeliitta R5 Winter||Highly aggressive tread pattern, silica compound for grip in deep snow and ice||Zero-compromise winter-tire option||Available for various types of vehicles|
|Bridgestone Blizzak WS90||Updated tread design and compound, increased tread life||Impressive deep-snow traction and overall performance||Available for various types of vehicles|
|Continental VikingContact 7||Specialized rubber compound, biting edges and sipes for maximum snow traction||Arguably Continental’s best snow tire yet||Available for various types of vehicles|
|Cooper Discoverer True North||High silica content for great ability to dig into icy surfaces||Great winter-tire option for cars and SUVs||Available for various types of vehicles|
|Dunlop Winter Maxx WM02||Asymmetric tread pattern for quiet running||Affordable and high-quality winter tire option||Available for various types of vehicles|
Michelin X-Ice Snow and Nokian Hakkapeliitta R5 Winter
The Michelin X-Ice Snow and the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R5 Winter are two popular choices when it comes to winter tires. Let’s take a closer look at what makes them stand out.
The Michelin X-Ice Snow, successor to the X-Ice Xi3, offers a range of impressive features. It boasts lower rolling resistance, which improves fuel efficiency, as well as better ice braking and improved resistance to hydroplaning in wet and slushy conditions. Michelin claims that this tire can last one additional winter compared to its competitors. Our experience with X-Ice Snow tires on a long-term Volvo S60 T8 revealed a surprisingly normal feel in dry conditions, making it an excellent choice for those seeking reliable performance in various winter conditions.
Nokian, a pioneer in the winter tire industry since 1932, offers the Hakkapeliitta R5 Winter as its top-line winter tire. This tire features a highly aggressive tread pattern and a silica compound that provides superior grip in deep snow and on icy surfaces. While the Hakkapeliitta R5 is a zero-compromise option for winter driving, it does come at a premium price. However, its exceptional performance and ability to tackle the harshest winter conditions make it a worthwhile investment for those who prioritize safety and reliability on the road.
|Michelin X-Ice Snow||Lower rolling resistance, improved ice braking, resistance to hydroplaning||Excellent performance in various conditions||For cars and SUVs|
|Nokian Hakkapeliitta R5 Winter||Highly aggressive tread pattern, silica compound for grip on snow and ice||Superior performance in deep snow and icy conditions||For cars and SUVs|
Choosing the right winter tires is crucial for safe and reliable winter driving. The Michelin X-Ice Snow and the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R5 Winter are both excellent options that offer unique features and top-notch performance. Consider your specific driving needs and budget when deciding between these two models. Remember, investing in high-quality winter tires is a smart choice to ensure optimal traction and control on snow and ice-covered roads.
Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 and Continental VikingContact 7
If you’re looking for winter tires that offer exceptional performance, the Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 and the Continental VikingContact 7 are worth considering. Let’s delve into their features and advantages.
Starting with the Bridgestone Blizzak WS90, this tire is an improvement over its predecessor, the WS80, with an updated tread design and compound. It offers increased tread life and a wider range of available sizes. Our experience with the WS90 on long-term test cars has shown impressive deep-snow traction and overall performance. However, some users have noted that these tires can be noisier compared to competitors. If you own an SUV, the Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2 is a recommended option.
On the other hand, the Continental VikingContact 7 is touted as one of Continental’s best snow tires to date. Its specialized rubber compound contains canola oil, allowing the tire to remain flexible even in extreme cold conditions. The tread pattern boasts numerous biting edges and sipes for maximum snow traction. The VikingContact 7 comes in a range of sizes to fit most vehicles.
Comparison Table: Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 vs. Continental VikingContact 7
|Bridgestone Blizzak WS90||Updated tread design and compound, increased tread life, wide range of available sizes||Impressive deep-snow traction, overall performance||Recommended for various vehicles|
|Continental VikingContact 7||Specialized rubber compound with canola oil, numerous biting edges and sipes||Maximum snow traction, flexible in extreme cold conditions||Recommended for various vehicles|
These winter tires are designed to provide excellent grip and control in snowy and icy conditions. While the Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 offers improved tread life and deep-snow traction, the Continental VikingContact 7 stands out with its unique rubber compound for extreme cold flexibility and maximum snow traction.
Ultimately, the choice between these two tires comes down to personal preference and the specific needs of your vehicle. Consider factors such as your typical driving conditions, vehicle type, and budget when making your decision. Remember that installing a full set of winter tires is recommended for optimal performance and safety.
Cooper Discoverer True North and Dunlop Winter Maxx WM02: Reliable Options for Winter Driving
The Cooper Discoverer True North and the Dunlop Winter Maxx WM02 are two reliable options for winter driving. Designed specifically to handle snowy and icy conditions, these tires offer enhanced traction and control, ensuring a safer driving experience during the winter months.
Key Features of the Cooper Discoverer True North:
- High Silica Content: The Cooper Discoverer True North is equipped with a high silica content, which allows the tire to maintain excellent grip on icy surfaces. This feature provides enhanced traction and stability, reducing the risk of skidding or sliding.
- Directional Tread Design: The directional tread pattern of the Cooper Discoverer True North helps to channel snow and slush away from the tire, improving traction and reducing the risk of hydroplaning.
- Wide Shoulder Blocks: The wide shoulder blocks of this tire provide additional stability and control during cornering and braking, enhancing overall performance in winter conditions.
Key Features of the Dunlop Winter Maxx WM02:
- Asymmetric Tread Design: The Dunlop Winter Maxx WM02 features an asymmetric tread design that provides optimal grip on both dry and wet surfaces, as well as in snowy and icy conditions. This design allows for improved handling and responsiveness.
- Biting Edges and Sipes: The tire is equipped with numerous biting edges and sipes, which enhance traction on snow and ice. These features help to increase grip and control, providing confidence and safety on winter roads.
- Silica-Enhanced Compound: The Dunlop Winter Maxx WM02 utilizes a specially formulated silica-enhanced compound that improves flexibility in cold temperatures, maintaining grip and performance in winter conditions.
Both the Cooper Discoverer True North and the Dunlop Winter Maxx WM02 are available in a variety of sizes to fit most types of vehicles, including cars, SUVs, and light trucks. It is important to select the appropriate size for your vehicle to ensure optimal performance and safety.
When choosing between these two options, consider your specific driving needs and the conditions you will encounter. The Cooper Discoverer True North is an excellent choice for those seeking exceptional traction on icy surfaces, while the Dunlop Winter Maxx WM02 offers a well-rounded performance on both snow and ice.
|Cooper Discoverer True North||Dunlop Winter Maxx WM02|
|High silica content for enhanced grip||Asymmetric tread design for improved handling|
|Directional tread pattern for better traction||Biting edges and sipes for increased grip|
|Wide shoulder blocks for stability||Silica-enhanced compound for flexibility in cold temperatures|
“The Cooper Discoverer True North and the Dunlop Winter Maxx WM02 are two reliable options for winter driving. Designed specifically to handle snowy and icy conditions, these tires offer enhanced traction and control, ensuring a safer driving experience during the winter months.”
In conclusion, whether you choose the Cooper Discoverer True North or the Dunlop Winter Maxx WM02, both tires provide excellent performance and safety in winter driving conditions. Consider your priorities, driving habits, and the specific conditions you will encounter when making your decision. Remember, investing in a set of winter tires is a crucial step in ensuring your safety and the safety of others on the road during the winter season.
Make the Right Choice for Winter Driving
When it comes to winter driving, your choice of tires can greatly impact your safety on the road. By following a winter tire buying guide and considering the specific needs of your vehicle, you can make an informed decision and ensure a safer winter driving experience.
Winter tires are specifically designed to provide better grip and control in snowy and icy conditions. They are made with tread rubber that maintains flexibility in low temperatures, unlike all-season or summer tires that can stiffen in the cold. The tread patterns of winter tires are also different, with deeper tread depths and increased slots and sipes to dig deep into snow and provide more traction.
It’s recommended to install winter tires on all four wheels of your vehicle. Mounting only two winter tires can lead to imbalanced handling and reduced stopping power. Whether your vehicle is front-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive, having winter tires on all four wheels ensures optimal traction, stopping, and cornering performance.
It’s important to mount winter tires before the winter weather hits. A general rule of thumb is to install winter tires when temperatures consistently drop and you can see your breath. Additionally, it’s advisable to have winter tires mounted on their own set of wheels, making it easier to switch them out for the warmer months and prolonging their lifespan.
Remember to remove winter tires once the winter season ends. Winter tires are designed for cold conditions and their softer rubber compound wears out faster in warm temperatures. Driving on winter tires in the summer can compromise their performance and lifespan.
By choosing the right winter tires and following these guidelines, you can confidently navigate winter roads with improved traction and control. Prioritize your safety on the road by investing in winter tires that are suitable for your specific vehicle and the winter conditions you frequently encounter.
Q: Is it worth getting winter tires?
A: Unless you live at a lower elevation that never sees snow and ice, the answer is yes. Even if you travel to higher elevations only during the holidays or go skiing just a few times a year, it’s wise to have a set of four winter tires mounted on a set of wheels and stored so you can swap them out without much cost or hassle.
Q: Do you need all four tires to be winter tires?
A: Definitely. Having snow tires on only the front or the rear will mean more squirrely handling in all conditions, resulting in unexpected skids and reduced stopping power on snow and ice.
Q: Can winter tires be used year-round?
A: Oh, they can—but you’d be squandering a very valuable (and expensive) resource. You don’t need deeper treads or biting edges during warm-weather driving, and the tires’ softer compound will cause them to wear out far more quickly when they’re used in warm temperatures.
Q: Are all-season tires good for snow?
A: All-season tires have become extremely popular; indeed, the majority of today’s cars roll right off the assembly line already outfitted with them. They offer decent traction in light to moderate snow and the occasional winter storm. However, around the Car and Driver office, we refer to them “no-season tires,” because while they have decent performance in a variety of conditions, they excel at none of them.
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