Top 10: Best Snow Tires for Cars
When the winter season sets in, drivers are often among the first to curse the cold and wish the conditions on the road were better. Many people have not really accustomed themselves to preparing their cars for the winter and snow season, which, as you will learn, does not take much.
The best way you can retain control of your car during the snow season is by buying the best snow tires for cars that are designed to provide better handling and braking capability through better traction on ice, slush, or cold snow covered roads. You can also make sure your brakes are good, you have a portable jump starter, tire inflator, and spare tire.
If you live in a place where the “winter weather” is not so extreme, all-season tires would probably do for you all around the year.
However, if you drive in snowy conditions during the winter months, there are a few benefits to purchasing snow tires you should know about.
Why Buy Winter Tires for Your Car?
The tread compounds and tread designs of the best winter tires are specifically made to provide optimum control and performance in cold, winter, and snowy conditions.
The tread compounds of these tires are designed for optimal control and performance when the temperatures drop below 45 degrees, thereby providing quiet, comfortable ride on cold, dry roads.
Snow tires are still beneficial even when a vehicle has ABS braking and traction control. These driver assist features help prevent wheel spins caused by overpowering, hence preventing the brakes from locking as a result.
While ABS and traction control helps improve driver safety, they do not technically improve with wheel traction on snowy roads. The only way to increase traction during the cold season is by getting better tires built for such specific conditions.
Buying the best snow tires for cars in the winter season is an excellent way to extend the life of your all-season or summer tires. Swapping out the wheels for the cold months also protect the original or aftermarket alloy wheels from harsh cold weather elements which quickly deteriorate wheels and rims.
Some snow tires have a feature that allows for easy installation using studs or small metal pins that are inserted into the tread. These studs are designed to enhance the traction of the wheels in icy conditions.
However, note that these studs are not legal everywhere. It is advisable that you check with your municipality or state before installing them.
Buying Snow Tires? Always Buy a Set of Four
To maintain the traction, control, and safety of your car, it is advisable that you install the entire set of four tires rather than replace just a pair. If you got a car buffer you would just get 1 pad or 1 clothe- its a necessity.
Most people find it convenient and cost-effective to have two sets of wheels—one all-season set to run on most of the year and a special set of snow tires for the winter season.
This makes it easy to switch all wheels at a go when the driving conditions change without spending a fortune on buying tires last-minute.
Mixing all-season and summer tires with snow tires on the same car may cause the front and rear axles of the car to have unequal traction and control
So, seriously impacting on the handling capability and safety of the vehicle, particularly in emergency situations.
When all the four tires of your car have consistent traction, the drive is dependable, the car is easier to control, and it is safer to get from point A to point B on an icy cold road.
Top 10 Best Snow Tires Reviews
Snow adds a new dimension to the equation that complicates everything. As important as good car tires are, driving in the winter is much easier than on snow-covered frigid winter roads.
If you are looking for the best snow tires for cars to use in the cold season, here is a list of the ten snow tires you should check out.
If you are looking for highly dependable winter tires from a renowned name on American roads, Goodyear should be your go-to brand.
The company offers a full line of Ultra Grip tires for the snow season, starting with a basic version that provides more traction for your car no matter how cold and dry the road is.
The best thing about the Goodyear Ultra Grip is that the make offers filaments for virtually all types of sizes of tires on the market. The standard Ultra Grip is often sufficient for most drivers because it offers better snow traction than any other all-season tires without any serious ride and handling sacrifices.
The WinterContact SI line of snow tires is a brand new tire unleashed for the 2015/16 season. It is a major improvement from its predecessor the Extreme WinterContact tire by Continental.
This is a highly acclaimed tire known for its superior traction in both extreme snowy conditions as well as summer driving conditions.
This new version from a relatively new entrant in the winter tires market features Continental’s new PolarPlus technology that boosts traction at extremely low temperatures and a symmetrical design that boosts stability at speeds higher than 130 mph.
The Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 snow tires can be defined by a single word—legendary.
Blizzaks are known to be among the best snow tires for cars in the market because of their wet traction and snow and ice performance even at extremely low temperatures.
If you are familiar with Blizzak’s tires, you will know the WS70 series which was famed for stable handling and firm tread blocks that eliminated the ‘squishy’ feel when driving on wet ground.
The new and improved WS80 features a footprint design that distributes pressure across the tread and a Tube MultiCell Compound that dispels water, ice, and snow.
According to Bridgestone, the tire’s biting edges enhances the WS80’s ice and snow traction by as much as 10 percent.
More on the Blizzak Tube MultiCell Compound
The General AltiMax Arctic wins the best studdable tire of 2016.
This snow tire is built for serious snow duty and extreme cold seasons, the rubber is made to stay flexible even when road temperatures dip into the subzero.
The multi-angle sipping on the entire surface of the tire goes a long way to improving traction, and the directional pattern grooves help improve stability as well as water evacuation at high speed.
If you live in a state where it is illegal to use studs, the Altimax Arctic offers excellent performance in any winter weather no matter how cold the road gets.
Snow racers and Subaru drivers who want the best studded tires, then the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 is the absolute must-have tire for driving on the worst possible snowy conditions. These permanently studded tires are among the most advanced you find on the market now.
The studs on these wheels bite into the ice and snow which allow for an incredible grip and an impressive cushion between the treads and the rest of the tire. This reduces road noise, tread wear, and road wear—the most common downsides of studded tires.
Do you drive a high-performance car with a powerful engine? How do you deal with traction problems when driving in the snow? Porsche approves the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 for both exotics and performance cars—and for a good reason too.
This tire is built to perform exceptionally well in both the dry road and on the snow.
While it may be a bit pricey compared with other options in the market, it is a big step up in performance. The Alpin PA4 features an asymmetric tread pattern with locking 3D sipes that offer better traction even at very low temperatures and slippery driving conditions.
Drivers living in areas with mild winters and driving high-performance cars would find Pirelli’s Winter Sottozero 3 are the ideal tires when the snow starts to fall.
This tire offers plenty of traction in both ice and snow without compromising ride smoothness and vehicle handling whether the roads are dry and cold or wet and fair.
In more extreme conditions or for tougher road conditions, the Sottozero Serie II is a better alternative because it offers better handling, slush traction, and exceptional handling capability expected from a performance tire.
The irregular siping in the center tread of the Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 offers a superior grip, and the inner angled treads get a hold of the corners to reduce hydroplaning.
The best bargain tire for outstanding performance while driving in the snow is the iceGUARD iG52c from Japanese manufacturer Yokohama.
This is a studless snow tire that performs commendably well in both wet winter and dry conditions thanks to its tread compound made from silica, multi-layer carbon, and resin-coated shelled microbubbles.
This affordable tire offers the benefits of a thick center rib and a definitive control block that keeps the tire in maximum contact with the road for increased driving stability and dry traction.
It is the best product to go for if you want performance and dependability at a great price.
Michelin designed the X-Ice Xi3 as a fairly-priced wheel that offers an all-round everyday performance.
When tested on ice and snow, the tire offers very good handling and traction capabilities in both cold and dry and cold and wet conditions.
It is the ideal tire for a regular coupe, sedan, crossover, or minivan with a food fuel economy but still demands good performance traction.
One of the best features of this tire is that it comes with wear indicator bars that let the driver know when traction in the snow is compromised.
Are you looking for a high-performance entry-level snow tire? Japan-made Falken Eurowinter HS449 is a high-performance brand most popular for its dominance in the many high-profile drifting competitions and the American Le Mans Series.
Falken is a dominant tire maker who came up with the idea of a low-priced high-performance snow tire that offers dependable and strong performance in the snow as well as slush.
It features silica-enriched rubber, directional treads that provide ample traction on ice and snow, as well as 3D siping. This tire also has staggered rubber blocking that significantly improves performance on dry roads and performance.
The Best Snow Tires VS All Tires!
There are two main factors that determine just effective a tire grips the road: its tread design and tread compound. Snow tires, often referred to as winter tires, differ from regular or all-season tires in that the compounds used to make them are a mixture of products and chemicals can cut into the snow and get better traction on dry and wet ice.
The sophistication in the tire manufacture industry means that the snow tire has evolved into the winter tire, which not only handles snow but also runs smooth and reliably on freezing temperatures.
The main difference between the two is the tread design that grips both ice and snow and still remains supple in extremely cold conditions.
Winter tires feature closed tread patterns with tiny edges that grip the ice, and because these edges do not stiffen, they are just as effective in snow as they are in ice. It is justifiable, therefore, to say that snow tires and winter tires are one and the same.
Studded Tires vs Non Studded Tires
Driving in snow during the winter is a very dangerous and scary experience unless the car is equipped with the tires to handle the snow, slush, and ice. Winter or snow tires can be categorized into two: studded and studdless.
For a long time, studded tires were the only and must-have snow tires, but advancement in tire design and manufacturer has seen the emergence of new types of rubber compounds that led to the invention of highly effective snow tires without studs.
Studded tires essentially have small metallic studs embedded in the tread. These studs dig into the ice to provide improved traction.
Studless tires, on the other hand, are made from special rubber compounds, tread designs, and a range of other unique technologies that make them highly effective with great traction on snow and ice even without the metallic studs.
Note, however, that studs often cause damage to roads and pavements hence the reason they are not legal in all states.
Regular tires, or all-season tires, are designed and made to be used in a variety of road conditions including wet roads, dry roads, and even light snow. Snow tires, on the other hand, are specifically made to perform in extreme cold and snow situations. These tires provide improved traction in dry and wet cold conditions including ice, snow, and slush.
The rubber compounds used to make snow tires harden in low temperatures to grip the snow and ice surface, therefore providing better handling and safer driving of the car.
People who have to drive in places with extreme snow conditions during winter may find it necessary to buy a full set of snow tires because in such cases, it is almost impossible to drive with regular tires.
Many drivers often ask themselves whether they need buy special snow tires for the winter or they can just use the all season set they have used the entire year. The correct answer to this depends on many factors, top among them the severity of the snow on the roads they drive in.
You May Be Interested In: The Best All Season Tires
Many vehicles fitted with all-season tires offer a comfortable, quiet, and economical ride. However, when the snow falls, and the road is covered with a layer of ice, these all season tires are dangerous to drive in because they offer very little traction between the tires and the road and will make driving a nightmare.
There are many types of snow tires on the market today. Some are built for extreme cold conditions while others are ideal for mild snow and cold weather conditions. The right tires that offer superior handling and performance should provide the same amount of sharp handling and extreme grip on the snow as a summer tire.
Your choice of car tires not only determine how safe your driving will be, but also determine the smoothness of the ride, fuel economy, and the longevity of the tires.
It is very important to do some research to find the best snow tires for cars and experts advise that you evaluate your driving conditions to determine which ones best suit you, especially if you are an everyday driver.
With so many companies offering a wide range of snow tires touting unique technologies, drivers are counseled to take the time to understand how each of the technologies, treads, and tire designs affect their driving before settling on a particular tire type.