Do I need winter tires?
This is a very charged question that is often hotly debated by professionals of all backgrounds. Ultimately, however, the answer depends on your discretion as a driver and your seasonal winter climate. Tire technology has come a very long way in the past few decades, allowing many all-season tires to perform surprisingly admirably on snow and ice. So if you live in a climate where winters are milder and it can snow but only a few times out of season, you might be able to get by with a quality set of all-season tires. However, if you live far north of the Mason-Dixon line and regularly see snow every winter, such as in the Great Lakes region, high up in the Rocky Mountains, or further north and through our northern neighbor, snow tires are an absolute must and comes with our highest recommendation. In some parts of Canada and Europe they are even required by law due to the harsh winters.
Are there any disadvantages to winter tires?
Winter tires are specifically designed to optimize grip while taking advantage of other features that affect a vehicle’s driving performance, such as: B. Braking, acceleration, handling, noise development, ride quality and fuel consumption. While winter tires are ideally there to provide the best grip, they do, but at a cost. Winter tire compounds, or the materials that make up the tire in general, are softer than your everyday all-season or warm-climate performance tires. More grip means more friction, which uses more fuel, while the more aggressive tread patterns can result in more noticeable road noise. In addition, the softer compound means they are more prone to wear and do not last as long as harder all-season or performance tires. And for some, changing snow tires any time of year means additional maintenance costs, which can be a problem when money is tight. But if you can swing it, the peace of mind and security that winter tires offer is priceless.
Are there different types of winter tires?
Yes. Much like there are different levels and grades of performance, all-season, all-terrain, etc., there are similar variations in winter tires. There are performance winter tires which, as the name suggests, are geared towards performance applications; normal winter tires suitable for most vehicles; those designed for light and heavy trucks; All-terrain winter tires for the off-road gurus; and more recently winter tires geared towards electric vehicles. Which snow tire is best for your application depends on where you intend to drive during the snow season and your vehicle type. There are also studded, studdable or studless tyres, which we will explain below.
How do I determine the need for studded, studded, or non-studded tires?
In addition to the tire class, there are three different types of winter tires. Studded tires are specially designed for the most extreme winter conditions such as hard-packed snow and ice; Studded tires are non-studded tires that can be retrofitted with studs. and studless tires that make up most average winter tires. It is important to consult your local laws as studded tires or studded tires with the intention of adding studs to reduce road wear are illegal. Only in more extreme winter climates like Canada and through the Rocky Mountain passes are studded winter tires allowed on the road.
Are run-flat winter tires any good?
Run-flat winter tires allow you to drive up to 80 km after a puncture. This is made possible by hardened and reinforced sidewalls that can support a vehicle’s weight over a very limited distance (allowing you to either drive home or to a reputable tire shop) if the tire fails to hold air. However, there are several trade-offs to consider. These hardened sidewalls often negatively impact ride quality, accentuating road imperfections and bumps. They may also not grip as well as some non-runflat tires due to the lack of sidewall compliance as the tires contour over surfaces. This solid sidewall also reduces flexibility should the tires need to be “aired” for more grip. Also, they tend to have a higher premium over standard tires, which are often not worth the extra cost for the compromises they make. However, run-flat tires are ideal if your vehicle does not have a replacement or tire repair kit.
I was recommended a tire brand that is not on this list. are they still good
Our list is very limited to five choices, making our task of choosing the best winter tires very difficult. There isn’t a well-known manufacturer that doesn’t produce a winter tire with decent performance. However, some do a better job than others in certain aspects and are often reflected in the price. While our list attempts to summarize the best snow tires, we strongly encourage you to research as much as you can beyond this list to find the best snow tire for you and your application.