With Bad Weather on the Horizon, Now's the Time for New Tires

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 by Doc Horvath

While most passenger car tires come new with at least 10/32" of tread depth, most people don't realize that once the tire has less than 6/32" of remaining depth, your wet road and snow traction capabilities dramatically decrease. Even if the tire looks like it has plenty of life left, do yourself a favor by grabbing a penny and doing a quick tread depth check. If the top of the Lincoln Memorial is exposed, your tire is under 6/32" and should be replaced heading into winter. For more information about checking your tread depth with a penny, check out my previous blog post "What Your Change is Telling You About Your Tread Depth."

Tire Rack recently wrapped up an extensive test of the newest all-season tire offerings from Bridgestone (Turanza Serenity Plus), Continental (PureContact with EcoPlus Technology), Michelin (Primacy MXV4) and Yokohama (AVID Ascend H- or V-Speed Rated) to see which ones delivered on their promise of a quiet and comfortable ride with good traction when the weather gets bad.

With the Michelin Primacy MXV4 well established as the top-ranked tire in our Tire Survey Results and our in-house track and Real World road tests, the newcomers from Bridgestone, Continental and Yokohama had big expectations to meet. While we'll have to wait for the snow to fly to complete the picture, our initial findings showed that the Michelin was still among the best, but not the best. 

On our 6.6-mile loop of back roads and highway stretches, all four tires were evaluated in conditions similar to what most would expect as part of their daily commute. The Michelin continued to set the bar high by providing a soft and quiet ride without compromising handling. Bridgestone's Turanza Serenity Plus wasn't far behind by providing just a hint of harshness over rough pavement. Continental and Yokohama's models ranked lower, with slightly less capability to smooth out the roughest spots.

During the testing on the track, we were able to introduce other common elements of your daily drive, like simulated on-ramps, tight street corners and even emergency steering maneuvers. To give a more complete picture, we tested the tires on both dry and wet road conditions.

In dry, the Michelin and Bridgestone offerings again led the field, both delivering crisp handling and predicable response to driver input. The Continental received high marks for responding quickly to steering input, but fell behind by not holding the turns as well as the others. 

Once the sprinklers were on, the Continental demonstrated the best wet traction, with the Bridgestone a close second. Both the Michelin and (most notably) the Yokohama were a few steps behind the other competitors, leaving us wanting a little more grip and confidence in the tires.

With so many capable tires with very similar abilities, it came down to the narrowest of margins with the Bridgestone Turanza Serenity Plus coming out on top. For a complete recap of our test, take a look at "Testing Grand Touring All-Season Tires."

Comments on With Bad Weather on the Horizon, Now's the Time for New Tires

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 by Michael:
Do you guys at TR ever test all-season tires at the hockey rink?
Thursday, October 4, 2012 by Michael:
Just re-checked your YouTube, and you had the Continental DWS on the ice hockey rink.
Still stuck deciding 225/55 16 Continental DWS or 215/60 16 Continental PureContact (for 16x6.5" wheel)
Thanks guys/gals, you're the best
Friday, October 5, 2012 by doc:
Mike,
The Pure Contact is still too new to tell how it will do on snow, but we would expect it to be more comfortable and quieter than the high performance Extreme Contact DWS....
Saturday, October 6, 2012 by Michael:
Thanks Doc. I can't believe it has already been over three years since the Conti DWS came out.
I hope that the PureContact matches the traction (same A traction rating) of the DWSs, but with superior treadlife (700 vs. 540), and higher refinement, because we are going with the newer Conti PC.

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