Performance Winter Tires - How well do they really work?

Thursday, September 3, 2009 by BJ Joines
When selecting a winter tire that is most appropriate for a vehicle, one needs to factor in many different variables to make a decision. How much snow will the vehicle see? Is there snow or ice on the ground most of the winter or are the roads regularly clear? How "spirited" is the vehicle driven on clear days? A couple of winters ago I asked myself these same questions and decided to change into a performance winter tire. 

I live in the Great Lakes region and we do get a good amount of snow and ice each year. However, our roads and highways are plowed well and often clear of snow for much of the winter. I decided to go with a performance winter tire that I hoped would provide a more sporty feel and crisper steering response than the basic studless ice and snow tires I had run in the past. After running the performance winter tires last season, I couldn't be happier with my selection. 

I purchased the Dunlop Winter Sport 3D tires in size 235/40R18 for my Audi S4. I had some doubts as to how well an 18" performance winter tire would work in the snow. Once that first snow hit, I knew I had made a great decision. The Winter Sport 3D tires were great in the snow despite the wide tread patch and low sidewall profile. As you can see in the picture below, I didn't have any problem getting traction in the deep snow.

The Dunlops really shined on the dry roads as well. They offered much more responsive handling than all of the previous snow tires I'd used. They were also quiet and comfortable on the car. I found them to be a great all-around snow tire that is perfect for those who really love to drive their cars. 

Here are a few of the best Performance Winter / Snow tires available at Tire Rack today:

Dunlop Winter Sport 3D
Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60
Michelin Pilot Alpine PA3
Pirelli Winter 240 SottoZero

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