Should I Buy Performance Winter / Snow Tires or Studless Ice & Snow Tires?

Monday, December 3, 2012 by Gary Stanley

Many drivers have decided to purchase a set of four winter / snow tires this season. Why? So they no longer have to dread driving in winter conditions! When selecting your new set of snow tires, make sure to get the right choice for your driving style and the climate where you reside.

If you live in an area that doesn't see much snow during the winter, and you like to drive and corner fast on cold, dry roads, then consider an H-rated or V-rated Performance Winter / Snow tire such as the Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60, Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D or Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3. Tires in this category are designed to enhance dry road handling and trade some snow and ice traction to get it. Available in many of the low profile sizes used as Original Equipment on sporty imported and domestic cars, Performance Winter / Snow tires are branded with the mountain/snowflake symbol.

You may want to look into a Studless Ice & Snow tire like the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70, Michelin X-Ice Xi2 and Continental ExtremeWinterContact if one or more of the following are true about how and where you drive:

  • You live in an area that gets heavy and/or lake effect snow
  • You are often driving on packed snow and ice
  • You are willing to give up some dry grip and steering response for maximum winter traction
  • You require more confidence when driving in winter conditions

Choosing between Performance Winter / Snow tires and the more aggressive Studless Ice & Snow may be difficult for some. The decision is a personal choice of what you're willing to trade - snow traction or dry road handling. If you're still unsure, I'd suggest going with the option with better snow and ice traction. Keep in mind that driving on dry roads is easier, it's when roads are covered with snow and/or ice that the situation gets more challenging. 

Search by vehicle to find the tire that's right for you to handle winter conditions.

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