Simple Tire Roundup: Performance Winter Tires
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. The Blizzak combines winter traction with dry-road handling and ride. The Blizzak LM-60 uses a high-silica content winter tread compound with a directional design, featuring independent tread blocks and 3-D zigzag sipes to move water away from the tire’s footprint. The Blizzak is built with Bridgestone’s UNI-T construction, with twin steel belts and a spiral-wound nylon element. The Blizzak LM-60 performs well enough in snow to be branded with the industry’s Mountain/Snowflake symbol on the sidewall.
- Continental ExtremeWinterContact – Continental’s winter performance tire uses a tread compound that stays flexible even in very cold temperatures, enhancing snow and ice traction. The ExtremeWinterContact features an asymmetric tread pattern for road manners and foul-weather traction; the lateral grooves have elevated bases for a stiffer tread surface, and high-density sipes for wet weather and snow. The ExtremeWinterContact features a winter tread depth indicator that shows through when the tire reaches approximately 50 percent wear.
- Dunlop Graspic DS3 – This latest generation of Dunlop studless ice and snow tires uses Dunlop’s Digital Rolling Simulation II technology, a computer-enhanced design that optimizes winter traction. The Graspic DS-3 is designed with a silica-based glass-fiber-reinforced tread compound, with a symmetric independent-block tread design for grip in snow and ice. Three-dimensional interlocking sipes and stiff tread blocks help improve wet and dry traction. The first 55% of the Graspic DS-3’s tread uses Dunlop’s high-trip silica tread compound, while the remaining 45% is molded from an all-season tread formulation.