Simple Tire Comparison: Snow Tires vs. Studded Tires
Snow Tires VS Studded Tires
Remember studded tires? Tires with noisy metal studs driven into the tread? They’re pretty hard to beat for traction in really extreme winter conditions. If your area regularly gets ice and heavy snow, if you live on a hill or out in the country where roads are seldom plowed, or if you have no choice but to put in a lot of miles in winter driving conditions, studded tires (or “studdable”) may be the thing you’re looking for. Remember, though, that studded tires aren’t legal in some states, so do your homework before making that decision.
But let’s talk about “snow tires,” or winter tires. They’ve come a long way in the last few decades…the old truck-style snow tires (or as your dad might have called them, “mud grips”) with a heavy, noisy lug tread are pretty much gone. They’ve been replaced by winter tires with advanced tread compounds that stay flexible in the coldest weather and sophisticated tread patterns that not only provide traction, but move water and slush away from the tire’s contact patch to avoid hydroplaning.
Winter tires are now available in performance styles, with H- or V- speed ratings for drivers of sports sedans and other sporty vehicles. Traditional studless ice and snow tires are what most drivers will need in bad weather, as they offer good road manners on dry pavement and enhanced traction when things get nasty.
What’s more, the technology of getting torque and horsepower to the road has changed. Cars are now equipped with vehicle stability control, traction control and ABS brakes, making winter driving less risky and nerve-wracking. These advances don’t necessarily mean you’re going to get better traction, but they can help prevent you from spinning your wheels on acceleration or going into a skid while braking.
The upshot? Things have changed a lot when it comes to tire technology, and unless you live someplace like Rochester, Maine or the Dakotas…you can probably get by just fine with conventional studless winter tires.