What Makes a Winter Tire?

So you might be wondering what the differences are between a winter tire and an all-season tire…actually, the differences are pretty significant.

  • Winter tires are designed with a rubber formulation that stays flexible in sub-freezing temperatures. That flexibility is important to traction in snow and slush, as a summer tire would stiffen and harden below freezing and compromise traction.
  • Winter tires have a more aggressive tread pattern, with deeper voids to help evacuate slush and snow from the tread. They also often feature circumferential grooves to move slush and water away from the tire’s contact patch to avoid hydroplaning.
  • Most tires now feature sipes, a network of tiny cuts in the tread that provide additional biting edges for tract ...[more]

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Simple Tire Comparison: Nokian Hakkapeliita 7 vs. Vanderbilt Arctic Claw

Nokian Hakkapeliita 7

If you’ve got a heavier vehicle like a full-sized truck, sedan or SUV, the Nokian Hakkapeliita 7 is an excellent choice. Nokian uses an innovative winter tread compound with canola oil, silica and non-aromatic oils for low rolling resistance, flexibility at subfreezing temps and excellent traction. The Hakkapeliita 7 has a symmetrical, directional tread pattern that can be used with rows of studs for extreme conditions (where legal). The Hakkapeliita 7’s tread design incorporates straight shoulders with a center section designed for dry asphalt, and a layer of air between the studs and the tire carcass to suppress tire noise and cushion ...[more]

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Winter Tires vs. All Season Tires

Winter Tires vs All Season Tires
Tire technology has come a long way in the last 20 or so years, and the big heavy-treaded “snow tires” (aka “mud grips”) of years past are pretty much gone. Newer winter tires offer great traction and handling in a tire that also has low noise and civilized road manners. But what’s the difference between a winter tire and an all-season tire?

All-season tires, on the other hand, are built with different tread compounds and tread patterns, and are usually quieter and better-riding than most winter tires. All-season tires and winter tires both now are designed with sipes, rows of tiny grooves cut into the tread. As the tire rotates through water or snow, the sipes provide thousands of biting edges to dig in and provide traction.

It’s i ...[more]

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Essential Tire Tools to Keep in the Car

We all have a toolbox in the garage or inside the house, but what about in the trunk of the car? What if you're on the road and you get a flat tire? Do you have everything you need to take care of it from the road?

It's even more important to keep some tools in the car when you're traveling a long distance because you never know what could happen along the way. Check out our list of essential tire tools to have with you at all times and you'll have a little more piece of mind every time you travel. All of these tools can be stored in the trunk or spare tire area of your vehicle.


If you need to remove nails and other foreign objects from a tire, pliers are your best friend. They also come in handy for grabbing small objects in a pinch. ...[more]

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Simple Tire Roundup:Best Rated Seasonal Tires


There are a lot of tires out there on the market, and once you start trying to get information on the ones you’re looking for, it can be enough to make your head spin. We took some time to narrow down the best rated tires for you:


·       Michelin X-Ice Xi3If you regularly have to deal with snow-packed or icy pavement, the Michelin X-Ice Xi3 is up toward the top of our list, with a quiet ride and great traction.

·       ...[more]

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Simple Tire Review: Mud Terrain Tires

Mud terrain tires have to do more than just look tough – they have to get you into the rough places and get you back out again. Mud terrain tires typically have an aggressive tread and deep lugs with self-cleaning bars to eject mud and stones. They also usually feature a rubber compound that’s suitable for off-road or on a dry highway, and extra layers of steel belts and nylon reinforcement in the tread and sidewall to resist punctures and cuts from rocks and other obstacles. In other words…mud terrain tires are just tough tires that mean business once you get off-road!

·       Goodyear Wrangler MT/R with KevlarYes, that’s right…the same Kevlar that ...[more]

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How to Check Tread on Tires

Tread depth is crucial to your safety! Once the tires on your car get below a certain minimum tread depth, your steering, handling and traction are compromised seriously enough that your car is considered unsafe to drive. Most states cite 2/32” as a minimum tread depth, but the truth is that your traction in wet weather or snow can be treacherous long before the tread makes it to 2/32”.
Most tire brands have “wear bars” embedded in the tread grooves, at a right angle to the tread. Once the wear bars start to show through, it’s definitely time to replace the tires.

The oldest rule-of-thumb test is the “Lincoln head penny” test – insert a penny into the tread, with Lincoln’s head pointed down. If the tread doesn’t come to the top ...[more]

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Tire Safety Tips

Tires are something that many drivers take for granted…but they shouldn’t. Tires are as big a part of your car’s overall safety as anything else. These are all things to keep in mind when it comes to tire safety:

  • Proper inflation – Underinflated tires will cost you money in premature tread wear and increased rolling resistance (which means a hit on your gas mileage). Worse than that, though, underinflated tires will compromise your vehicle’s handling and steering, and can dangerously overheat on hot days or long trips. Modern radial tires won’t begin to show signs of deforming until they are at least 30% low on pressure, so just eyeballing a tire won’t tell you if it’s underinflated. Rubber is porous and even brand-new tires lose air, so make a poi ...[more]

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What Kind of Tire Do I Need?

“What kind of tire do I need?” We hear this question pretty often, and there’s no pat, easy answer for it. We can help you go in the right direction, though.

Obviously, you want tires that are going to get the best traction in dry, wet or wintry conditions, for starters. Chances are you’ll also want good ride comfort, treadwear and noise control. Those factors will will drive some of your decision just by itself (and we will get into that in a minute). You may have a vehicle with lots of miles on it or a vehicle you may not want to hang onto for much longer, so you might decide for a less-expensive set of tires or ones with less of a treadwear warranty.

What kind of vehicle do you drive? Sedan, sports coupe, light truck, minivan, SUV?  What’s ...[more]

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When to Get New Tires

When to Get New Tires

You may be wondering when you should get new tires…they are a big investment and you don’t want to jump the gun, right? You also don’t want to push your luck with tires that are worn-out and running on borrowed time. Here are some tips:

  • Run your hands along the surface of the tires. Feel for any irregularities like unevenly-worn spots or a rippled edge to the tread (also called “feathering”). These are indicators of suspension or steering issues that can contribute to tire wear, or an indicator of tires that haven’t been rotated frequently enough. Feel for any tread separation or possible bulges or cracks in the tread surface. If you detect problems like that, the tire is in imminent danger of failure and needs to be replaced right awa ...[more]

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