Are your all-season tires up to the task of getting you to where you need to go this winter? All tires need three things in order to provide effective winter traction.
- Tread depth - Industry experts and even some governmental agencies recommend a minimum of 6/32nds of an inch of tread depth for driving in the snow. Tires with low tread depth are reduced to nibbling at the snow for traction rather than biting into it.
- Tread pattern - Tires that are optimized for snow and ice traction have multiple biting edges with many independent tread blocks and lots of sipes.
- Tread Compound - Unlike summer performance tires, tires that work well in winter are designed to remain pliable to provide grip in freezing temperatures.
If your tires are lacking in any of these three areas, they will not be very effective in the snow. The best tires for winter driving are, of course, dedicated winter / snow tires. A set of four dedicated snow tires provide optimal traction when winter weather is at its worst. If your situation does not allow for dedicated winter tires, your next best option is to choose an all-season tire with good snow traction.
In order to help us find out which all-season tires perform best in snowy conditions, we took a trip to northern Sweden to drive at some of the best winter test facilities in the world.
As you can see in the video, there was a noticeable difference in the traction levels among these four new all-season tires. The General AltiMAX RT43 was best followed by the Goodyear Assurance All-Season. The tire that finished in fourth "struggled" to accelerate, brake and corner in the snow even at full tread depth.
Not sure if your current tires have enough tread left for this winter? Then take a look at "Can My Winter Tires Last Another Season?"