Looking for the Best Run-Flat Tires for Snow and Ice?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 by Zig Ziegler

Many customers I speak with are surprised to learn their BMW, MINI or Mercedes tires are performance summer run-flats. When beginning to shop for tires the customer and I will address issues they disliked about their previous tires and many will explain that their run-flats did not perform well in the snow and ice. Many don't understand that the tires were intended for summer use only.

Summer tires are dramatically different in construction and rubber compound. The rubber compound is optimized for operating in temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit and has no siping in the tread blocks to provide a more stable foot print for quicker steering response and better handling. In colder temperatures, the summer tire's rubber compound will become hard and more plastic like. It can even be damaged because the tire becomes too brittle from the colder environment.

An all-season tire has a rubber compound designed to stay more pliable in a wider range of temperatures. The tire will be softer in winter weather, which will allow it to conform to the road and handle better when the temperature begins to drop. In addition, the all-season tire has siping to allow the tread blocks to flex, which creates hundreds of more bitting edges for snow and ice traction. 
 

Bridgestone Potenza RE960AS Pole Position RFT
Bridgestone Potenza RE960AS Pole Position
RFT
Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus ZP
Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus
ZP

  

Yokohama AVID ENVigor ZPS
Yokohama AVID ENVigor
ZPS
Pirelli P Zero Nero All Season Run Flat
Pirelli P Zero Nero All Season
Run Flat


If you're looking to replace your current run-flat summer tires with another run-flat that has good capabilities in the snow, ice and winter weather, I would recommend the Bridgestone Potenza RE960AS Pole Position RFT, Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus ZP, Yokohama AVID ENVigor ZPS or Pirelli P Zero Nero All Season Run Flat. All four of these options had great success as a non-run-flat version, therefore the manufacturers decided to turn their successful performance oriented all-season tires into a run-flat offering to cover the emerging need.

To see if any of these snow and ice capable run-flat tires are offered for your car, shop by vehicle. You can also use the sort tab in the left-hand column to only show run-flat tires.

Comments on Looking for the Best Run-Flat Tires for Snow and Ice?

Sunday, October 21, 2012 by Harri Levo:
Hi, I am looking for BMW X5 2008 winter, run flat, tyres with spikes 235/60-18". Do you where to get this kind of tyres ?
Tuesday, October 23, 2012 by Zig:
We have the Pirelli Winter Carving Edge in 235/60R18 for $176/tire and can have them studded for $15/tire.

Here is a Link to the tire:

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Pirelli&tireModel=Winter+Carving+Edge&partnum=36TR8WCEXL&vehicleSearch=false&fromCompare1=yes&wtpackage=true&affiliate=WC3
Tuesday, November 6, 2012 by Alan:
I have a new BMW 328i XDrive on 17'rims, currently with stock Continental Run Flats, but live in NH. What winter tires do you suggest for snow/ice, as well as cold dry or wet roads for the winter season. I have used Nokia Hakkas before. Also, run flats or regular for this model?
Tuesday, November 6, 2012 by Zig:
I'm assuming you would be using the size 225/45R17, for a run flat winter tire I would recommend the Bridgestone Blizzak LM-25 RFT currently $215/tire. In standard tire I would use the Michelin Primacy Alpin PA3 currently $183/tire. Either of these would be the very best in winter weather.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012 by zig:
In regards to my comment on 10/23/12, there Pirelli Winter Carving Edge is a non run flat tire. There is currently no run flat winter tire choices in the 235/60R18 size Harri was asking for.
Saturday, December 1, 2012 by Erhan :
I have BMW 2013 X3 328xi model, it has 245/50 R18 all season Flat Run Tires. I am looking for winter tires since I will be in Whistler this winter. Should I but just tires or tires with rims. An what would be the price for both option and how much is installing?
Monday, December 3, 2012 by Zig :
Ehran,

There is no general rule of thumb for which is better but buying wheels and tires give you versatility of changing out winter and summer tires at your leisure from your own home. The wheel tire package usually has more upfront cost but once you factor in a few years of mount and balance fees the price ends up being pretty close to the same. Just 245/40R18 run-flat winter tires start out at $852 for the set before shipping. If you did wheels and tires together you could have run-flat winter tires installed on alloy wheels starting at $944 for the set before shipping. Please give me a call or email if you need more specific assistance.

Zig
Saturday, December 8, 2012 by Jay:
I just got a 2008 BMW X5 with 20 inch tires. I'm looking for advice on which tire and rims I should get for winter driving. I'd prefer a studless RFT but wonder if there are other options too.

Thanks!
Monday, December 10, 2012 by Zig :
In the winter time most BMW owners with an 08' X5 will use the 18" wheel and tire option. You will use an 18" alloy wheel with 255/55R18 tires at all 4 corners. This would be the same as the Base X5 models and you will find many more wheel and tire combinations using this size. The easiest way to find winter tire/wheel packages would be to enter your year, make & model on our homepage and then click "Winter" as your product search and follow the link to "Build Your Own Package" and select 18". If you need more specific help please contact me directly.
Friday, May 3, 2013 by Charles:
I have a 2010 328 i xdrive with 16 inch tires. I've never used winter tires in my life (crazy i know as i'm from Edmonton, Canada). Im looking for advice on which all season run flat tire would be the best in the winter. I'm stuck between the Bridgestone RE960, Pirelli P7 or just buying another set of stock continentals that were on before.

Thanks!
Friday, May 3, 2013 by Zig:
The Pirelli P7 in the 205/55R16 is a summer only run-flat so it would be never be recommended for snow and ice. In that size the Bridgestone Potenza RE960AS Pole Position RFT would be my first pick for better snow and ice traction. I have attached a link to the tire below:

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Bridgestone&tireModel=Potenza+RE960AS+Pole+Position+RFT&partnum=055HR6RE960PPRFT&vehicleSearch=true&fromCompare1=yes&autoMake=BMW&autoYear=2010&autoModel=328i xDriveSedan&autoModClar=BaseModel&affiliate=WC3
Friday, May 3, 2013 by Zig:
The Pirelli P7 in the 205/55R16 is a summer only run-flat so it would never be recommended for snow and ice. In that size the Bridgestone Potenza RE960AS Pole Position RFT would be my first pick for better snow and ice traction. I have attached a link to the tire below:

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Bridgestone&tireModel=Potenza+RE960AS+Pole+Position+RFT&partnum=055HR6RE960PPRFT&vehicleSearch=true&fromCompare1=yes&autoMake=BMW&autoYear=2010&autoModel=328i xDriveSedan&autoModClar=BaseModel&affiliate=WC3
Saturday, August 9, 2014 by pat:
looking for one set of tires for a lexus is300. I am more interested in a tire with good winter traction than a great summer tire. Is there an all season tire with good snow traction?
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 by marshall@tireack.com:
Pat,
One of the most popular All-Season tires for the IS300 is the Continental Extreme Contact DWS. This tire still handles well on dry pavement due to its high speed rating, but has a good amount of biting edge for winter use. -Marshall@tirerack.com
Saturday, November 8, 2014 by britteny:
I am looking for winter tires for my 335i. It currently has 18" wheels but im going to switch them out for 17". I am currently in florida but im moving to Colorado so I have no idea what tires to get. I am thinking a performance winter tire? They do a good job of clearing snow out there ive heard.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014 by Paul:
Morning, I am looking for winter snow package for a BMW 328GT with "M" sport package. Rims are 18" but will go to 17" for winter. Really would like to stay with the Run Flats. Was hoping for the Michelin xi-3's or Blizzak WS80's but not sure they come in RF's. We do alot of driving in IL / WI/ IN. so any advice would be appreciated. Thanks
Thursday, November 13, 2014 by Tire Rack Team:
Britteny, when downsizing to 17" wheels we suggest using a 225/45R17 on all four corners. Two of the strongest winter performers we have are the Bridgestone Blizzak and Michelin X-Ice.-- marshall@tirerack.com
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 by Tire Rack Team:
Paul, as long as the car doesn't have M Sport Brakes, downsizing to 17" is possible and commonly done. Neither the WS80 or the X-Ice tire comes in a run-flat, however many customers have had good success with the Bridgestone Blizzak LM-32 RFT. http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Bridgestone&tireModel=Blizzak+LM-32+RFT&affiliate=BF7
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 by Beto Salgado:
I recently purchased a 2012 BMW 550i Gran Turismo w/Sport Package (non-xdrive) and seeking a recommendation and possible best combo on "winter" only tires and wheels. It currently has 20" (staggered) but because it has the sport package my understanding is I can only go as small as a 19"? RF or non-RF is cool as long as I have the TPMS option in there to monitor if non-RF tires. Thank you
Friday, November 21, 2014 by Tire Rack Team:
Beto, our records indicate that 18" wheels can clear the caliper and be used on a sport package 550i GT. In 18" or 19" sizes we offer options with and without run-flat tires. Given the depth of your question, it may be best to give us a call. We can be reached at 800-428-8355 from 8am-8pm EST M-F and Saturdays from 9am-4pm. -- marshall@tirerack.com

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