How to Choose a Winter / Snow Tire That Meets Your Needs

Saturday, September 4, 2010 by Larry Shead

When it comes to winter tires there are three types on the market. Studless Ice and Snow tires provide the best traction on ice and in packed snow conditions without the need for tire studs, while Performance Winter / Snow tires have the correct tread design, tread compound and tread depth to suit less severe winter conditions. Finally, there are the Studdable Winter / Snow tires that are designed to provide winter traction using traditional studdable tread designs and winter compounds for good snow and ice traction. Studded winter tires are not legal in all states and those states where they are legal typically have time frames when they can be on the roadway.

All winter tires will provide the best traction and vehicle stability when installed in sets of four on your vehicle.

When choosing what category of snow tire best meets your needs, consider the following.

How much snow and ice do you see on average during a winter season?

If your roads are generally clear and mostly dry, then you might be able to get away with a Performance Winter / Snow tire as opposed to the studdless variety, thus providing you with less noise, better tread life and greater sidewall stability.

Would you prefer to have the best winter traction, just in case the weather is worse than anticipated or to stay safe when traveling in your area?


The traffic in some areas is so congested that it is hard to predict when you are going to need to have the highest grip level to avoid sliding into someone when avoiding an accident even though there may not be much snow and ice on the roadway.

Whatever your needs may be, Tire Rack has snow tires to keep you safe and get you through even the worst weather conditions.

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