Winter Wonderland

Monday, August 9, 2010 by Spencer Diaz
Thinking about winter tires? Wondering what the difference is between a winter / snow tire and an all-season tire, and whether of not you will need them?

The first thing to understand is that it is never really too soon to be thinking about winter weather. While it may still be warm outside, fall is on its way, and with it the first shipment of winter tires comes along. Why look this early? Winter tires are usually only produced once a year, and that's it. Unlike all-season tires, or even summer tires, we will usually only receive a set amount of winter tire applications; then after that it will be another year until we get more. Not a year goes by that someone looking for a specific winter tire has to settle for something different in November because the sales volume for that tire exceeded that of our received shipment. 

Does a winter tire really work that much better than an all-season tire in wintery conditions? Plain and simple, yes. Winter conditions are a complete culmination of freezing temperatures, snow, slush and ice, usually mixed with some blend of unpleasantness that makes road conditions a possible hazard for any driver, no matter the skill. A typical all-season tire will have a rubber compound meant to be a jack-of-all-trades style and formula, thus giving the driver the ability to drive in all temperatures and all conditions, albeit not with optimum traction in each. Its design incorporates some siping (all the little lines located on the tread) that help assist with biting in slick conditions, but these are minimal as winter grip is not the all-season tire's primary concern. Dedicated winter tires, however, incorporate a rubber compound that stays soft in the most freezing conditions. That, along with an exceptional amount of siping throughout the tire, allows it to have many more biting edges than any all-season tire would. 

So, you may be asking yourself, "What kind of winter tires do I need?" That really depends on the vehicle, its size and how you choose to drive. For many vehicles, we offer a choice between Performance Winter / Snow tires, Studless Ice and Snow and maybe a few Studdable tires as well.

While studded tires are only allowed in some states, people looking for studded tire-like grip without studs will go into a Studless Ice and Snow tire. These tires promote features like squared shoulder blocks, deep tread and extra-heavy siping to give the absolute best possible grip for wintertime. They are available in low-speed rated designs as their primary concern is the best possible traction in the worst possible conditions. 

Many of the most popular Studless Ice and Snow winter tires are:These models will shift slightly for light truck and SUV applications, but will adhere to the same primary functions.

The most popular Performance Winter tires are:The difference in performance on all of these selections comes down to what you want most out of the tire itself. Each has its own emphasis, which may include traction, longevity, handling and feel, that will cause one selection to be a better choice for the way you drive than another.

Reading survey results and checking out consumer reviews will help you make these decisions and ensure that you will get the best possible fit for your vehicle.

Original Equipment tires Vs. Aftermarket tires

Wednesday, May 5, 2010 by Connor Klink
A good percentage of the customers that I talk to with newer cars always seem to be unhappy with the O.E. (Original Equipment) tires that came on the car. One of the most common tires that I see on performance-oriented sedans is the Michelin Pilot HX MXM4. This tire is designed as a Grand Touring All-Season tire that will provide a smooth comfortable ride quality and low noise levels. The problem is that people make the assumption that since the tire is on a car with a lot of power then it must be a performance tire. Surprise! You just bought a car that can go really fast but doesn't offer great handling. This is a situation where maybe the vehicle manufacturer might have offered more than one option for the Original Equipment tire or you may need to purchase a tire that is more suited to your needs.

If you tend to be the type of driver that likes taking the highway interchanges faster than may be posted or when you find an open stretch of road you like to let the ponies under the hood loose then you should most likely be driving on performance-oriented tires. An example of some popular performance tires are the Bridgestone Potenza RE050A Pole Position, Michelin Pilot Sport PS2, Continental Sport Contact 3, or the Yokohama Advan Sport

However if ride comfort is the most important characteristic to you then you probably should be looking for a touring all-season tire to provide a smoother ride.  An example of some touring tires would be the Michelin Primacy MXV4 Plus, Bridgestone Turanza SerenityKumho Ecsta LX Platinum, or the  Continental Pro Contact.

Most vehicle manufacturers use tires to meet a specific type of characteristic for the vehicle they are designing. Regrettably those characteristics may not always match your style of driving. This is where Tire Rack sales specialists like myself come in. We can help you determine what type of tires may suit your needs better than the tires that came on your car or truck.


Thank you, Continental, for the Audi tires on this TT.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 by Tire Rack Team
To be specific, the Audi tires we speak of are Continental ContiProContact tires. And as an Ultra High Performance Summer tires, wet and dry traction will always belong to you, the driver.

Search all Continental tires for sale to find a set that works on your Audi. And while you're at it, you might want to consider purchasing a set of wheels, perhaps the O.Z. Crono HT wheels shown above. Or maybe some aftermarket Audi brake pads. At Tire Rack, we do our best to be your one-stop aftermarket shop.



Continental Winter Tires

Friday, November 13, 2009 by Tire Rack Team


If it's below 45 degrees where you live, it might be time for you to switch to a set of Continental snow tires. While anti-lock brakes, traction control and four-wheel drive can help your tires reach their full performance potential, they don't actually increase traction. Just acceleration, braking and cornering capabilities based on the traction your tires provide. In other words, you really do need winter / snow tires on snow- and ice-covered roads.

Continental Tire is one of the leaders in the winter / snow tire industry. They continually support the theory that summer and all-season tire tread compounds toughen up as temps fall below the 45 degree mark. And by "toughen up," they mean that the tires become rigid to the point where traction is compromised.

The ExtremeWinterContact is an excellent Continental snow tire, which has proven itself in the harshest of winter conditions. We recently tested it, along with a few other winter / snow tires, in Northern Sweden. ("Winter Testing at the Arctic Circle: Studless Ice & Snow") Continental would be proud, as the ExtremeWinterContact tires provided very good overall traction and stable vehicle balance. Steering was responsive, acceleration and traction were good and we felt very confident in braking capability.

Shop by vehicle
to see if these Continental snow tires fit your vehicle. If not, we'll suggest a few equally good options.

See all Continental tires for sale.