The winter tire market is a vast one, and it can seem like picking the right tires for your vehicle is the hardest part of the whole process, but in reality, it is quite simple.
Woody Rogers, tire information specialist with Tire Rack, says: “Think about the worst types of weather you may encounter, and how often it will happen to you.”. Make sure your priorities are transparent, including snow and ice traction and clear road handling, and driving fun.”.
It is common knowledge among professional drivers that a car is only as good as its tires. Even if you buy a car with the best handling and the most advanced all-wheel-drive system, if you can’t put the power down with proper traction, all those millions of dollars in R&D are worthless.
A winter tire is an impressive feat of engineering. Water, slush, snow and salt are controlled and pumped out from underneath through intricate channels within the tread, while the soft rubber composition adapts to the road and grips it, regardless of freezing temperatures.
The reason that winter tires look so much more extreme in their design than summer or all-season tires is because of this. Winter tires are designed to keep you going in the right direction, because unlike summer tires, whose near-slick surface can cause you to aquaplane, their tread effectively shovels and pumps water out of the way while still gripping firmly.
It is often said that winter tires are the best tools for the job; they are a necessity for cars that will be facing winter weather.
Bridgestone Blizzak WS90
There are a number of good snow tires available on the market these days, but the Blizzak WS80 is one of the best. Blizzak is ideally suited for compact cars, coupes, sedans, and minivans, however there are other models of the Blizzak available for different types of vehicles such as SUVs and pickup trucks.
The Editor of Auto Guide Commerce, David Traver Adolphus, has purchased three sets of Blizzak for his vehicles, and he says they helped him deal with the cold Vermont winters.
A big part of what makes the Blizzak so good is its circumferential grooves and lateral grooves, which are designed so that water, slush, and snow will be channeled away from your feet.
Moreover, there are also 3D zigzag sipes that give the tire extra biting edges that give it the grip it needs. Furthermore, the tire employs a next-generation compound, which is covered with a water-loving hydrophilic coating and contains microscopic bite particles.
The tires you can get from these companies are some of the best winter tires you can buy, but they are quite expensive. As a starting point, they are more expensive compared to most winter tires, and they do not come with any unique warranty coverage.
Despite Bridgestone’s announcement of the Blizzak WS90, the Blizzak WS80 is currently on sale on Tire Rack since the Blizzak WS80 has been discontinued. Although we have not been able to get our hands on the new WS90 yet, we will be sure to update this post as soon as we are able to test it against the WS80.
Michelin X-Ice Xi3
X-Ice Xi3 is one of Michelin’s most capable winter tires, and is also one of the most popular choices. There are three generations of winter tires available from the brand and this is the third generation. The tires are suitable for coupes, sedans, family vans and small crossovers.
One of the most important aspects of X-Ice Xi3 is that it features a low rolling resistance construction, which should help improve the fuel economy of your vehicle.
In the tread, a silica-based compound is used, and shoulder and intermediate tread blocks are independently designed with micro-pumps and variable angle Cross Z-sipes, which can provide better traction and wet weather performance in the winter.
Those worried about high-speed performance will find their worries assuaged by the fact that the Xi3 is equipped with a structure that includes twin steel belts as well as a spirally wound nylon cord. The last feature of the tire is a special wear indicator, which alerts the driver when ice and snow traction will be compromised.
The Continental Viking Contact 7 is available in a broad range of sizes, from those made for 15-inch rims to those that fit a 20-inch wheel. The result is that the tires are suitable for all types of vehicles, from compact cars to giant crossovers.
A massive range of sizes is available for the Continental Viking Contact 7, including models made for 15-inch rims and those molded to be used on 20-inch wheels. Thus, this tire can be used by nearly all cars whether they are compact cars or gigantic crossovers.
Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3
There is yet another solid and popular winter tire from Italian tire maker Pirelli, and this time it is the Winter Sottozero 3.
In regards to these tires, one of the big selling points is that they can either be standard or run-flat.
The high-density sipes to improve braking distances should be of interest to those who experience cold weather when there is little snow on the ground. According to Pirelli, the winter compound is shaped in a directional pattern with an enlarged contact patch, allowing for increased traction and handling.
It is possible to see the arrow-shaped center blocks, which are designed to evacuate water and slush, and the shoulders, which are rounded. Compared to some of the other tires, the snow performance of the X2 doesn’t seem to be as strong, but people like the cold weather and ice performance of the tire.
One of the major issues with the tires is the fact that there is no warranty on treadwear and the tread wears out very quickly, in addition to the high price. In addition to having a shorter lifespan than non-directional tires, directional tires cannot be rotated on your car from corner to corner, which means they wear out faster.
Firestone Winter force 2
For those living in places where studded tires are allowed, this particular tire from Firestone is the only one on this list that is stud-capable. Secondly, the Firestone Winter force 2 comes with a five-year workmanship and materials warranty, providing an important level of protection for the winter tires you use on your car.
It contains deep grooves and large lateral notches, in addition to open shoulder slots to help channel slush and standing water, and to reduce hydroplaning.
The tire makes use of twin steel belts as well as a polyester casing, combining strength with ride quality, according to Firestone.
They have a wide range of sizes, a variety of studded options, and a decent warranty. These are relatively affordable and you can get a studded option that will work with any vehicle.