If you live in an area that gets cold enough and sees enough winter precipitation to warrant buying winter tires, there’s no substitute for the traction they can provide. Winter tires have come a long way since the heavy-tread, noisy “snow tires” or “mud grips” that were on your dad’s station wagon a generation ago. Modern winter tires offer better ride, road manners and handling than they did in previous years. That doesn’t, however, mean that they are good year-round.
Winter tires are designed with a tread formulation that stays flexible at lower temperatures, which is their chief advantage over all-season tires. All-season tires tend to harden and stiffen at sub-freezing temps, compromising traction and control. The flip side ...[more]Read More
You’ve got a big set of mud tires on your truck or SUV, you should be able to go anywhere and do anything with those chunky, meaty treads, shouldn’t you? Not necessarily.
Mud tires can present several different problems when driving on snow or ice. The deep voids and chunky lugs of mud tires are designed to self-clean, meaning they eject soft mud, dirt and bits of gravel from their voids, just by centrifugal force. As tires self-clean, they have a fresh surface to bite into mud with every revolution. Think for a minute, though, about the consistency of snow that’s easy to pack into a snowball – that deep, powdery snow can easily pack its way into the voids and lugs of your mud tires and stay there, drastically cutting down on traction. When that happ ...[more]Read More
So what’s the difference between winter tires and other designs, such as all-season tires or mud tires?
Winter tires have come a long way since your dad’s clunky, heavy-treaded “snow tires” or “mud grips” of a generation ago. Winter tires are specifically designed with a rubber formulation that stays flexible in sub-freezing temperatures. That flexibility is essential for proper traction on dry or wet pavement either one; other tire designs will become stiffer and hard at low temperatures, encouraging wheelspin and a poor connection with the pavement.
The down side of this is that winter tires tend to harden at temperatures above about 40 degrees or so, meaning poor handli ...[more]Read More
The Ultra Grip is Goodyear’s winter/snow tire, studdable for extreme conditions and designed with a silica-enhanced tread compound for flexibility at freezing temperatures. The Goodyear Ultra Grip features a directional tread design and aggressive tread pattern, with bold shoulder blocks for stability in dry conditions and even treadwear. Wide grooves in the tread help move loose snow and slush away from the tire’s contact patch to resist hydroplaning. Along with sipes cut into the tread for extra biting edges in ice and snow, the shoulder and intermediate tread blocks can accept alternating rows of optional metal studs for hard-packed snow and icy roads (where legal). The Ultra Grip’s tread pattern is tuned and computer-optimized to help ...[more]Read More
The Hankook Winter iPike is a great choice for drivers of smaller sedans or crossovers who need an affordable winter tire. The Winter iPike W409’s tread formulation is designed to stay flexible in subfreezing temperatures, with a wider footprint for more positive handling. A dense pattern of sipes at the center of the tread enhance traction in wet, snow and slush, with an innovative V-shaped tread pattern to move water away from the tire’s footprint. The Winter iPike W409 can also be equipped with six rows of studs for extreme conditions (where legal).Read More
Bridgestone’s Blizzak WS70 is a strong selling winter tire, and for good reason. The Blizzak WS70 is actually the fourth generation of Bridgestone Winter Biter tires, with plenty of technological and design advances to reflect that evolution.
The Blizzak WS70’s tread compound is designed with Bridgestone’s NanoPro-Tech silica-enhanced Tube Multicell formulation on top of their standard winter compound. Tube Multicell technology is designed with thousands of microscopic tubes and cells incorporated into the rubber, helping to wick water away from the tire’s contact patch; as the tire’s tread wears, new pores and tubes are continuously exposed. The compound is also designed for flexibility at freezing te ...[more]Read More
Winter tires have changed and evolved a lot in the last couple of decades…the days of heavy-treaded, noisy “snow tires” (or as your dad might have called them, “mud grips”) are pretty much over with, and many states don’t allow metal-stud tires on pavement. So in winter, you have to cope with glare ice, deep snow, slushy roads and packed snow…but you still want a winter tire that’s quiet and presents decent handling, ride and road manners on dry, clear pavement. So let’s have a look at some of our choices:
- Bridgestone Blizzak LM60 – Bridgestone’s Blizzak LM-60 has long been a favorite of ours, and for good reason. T ...[more]
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Nokian Hakkapelitta 5
Designed for SUV’s, the Nokian Hakkapelitta 5 is a winter tire that provides excellent, stable handling and first-rate surface grip. Nokian’s ecologically-friendly winter tread compound incorporates rapeseed oil and low-aromatic formulations for grip, flexibility and low rolling resistance, with a double block tread compound for traction in deep snow. Polished main grooves help evacuate snow and slush from the tire’s contact patch; tread wear indicators alert the driver to minimum tread depth. Lastly, the Nokian Hakkapelitta 5 can be set up with studs for extreme condition, where legal.
The Nokian Hakkapelitta 5 is truly a winter tire, with an aggressive tread pattern and higher noise ...[more]Read More
Michelin’s Pilot Alpin PA3 uses their innovative Green-X standard for environmentally-friendly design and low rolling resistance, with Michelin’s sunflower-oil-enriched Helio tread formulation for flexibility in freezing temperatures, traction and handling performance. The Helio tread compound is molded into an asymmetric tread pattern, with a unique pattern of variable-thickness sipes. The sipes at the inboard side of the tread are wider for wet weather, while the outboard sipes are narrow for dry conditions. The Pilot Alpin PA3 is constructed with polyester cord under two steel belts, with more polyamide cord banded around the belts for strength and ride comfort.Read More