Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70

Friday, February 7, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.

Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.55
 
 

2008 Chevrolet Impala LT
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 4,000
Location: Fishkill, NY
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 4,000 Miles on Tires
January 02, 2014

I purchased a complete snow tire package from Tirerack including steel wheels, hubcaps, TPMS, and Blizzak WS70 tires. I commute to work 90 miles round trip daily on a parkway with lots of hills and turns. I have already driven in three snow storms with these tires and are amazed on how good they handle the snow and ice. They make a little noise on the highway and my gas mileage has dropped a tiny bit but it isn't a bad tradeoff for the confidence and safety they provide. I have yet to find a hill that I couldn't conquer in the snow with these amazing snow tires.

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Bridgestone Blizzak LM-25 RFT

Friday, February 7, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.

Bridgestone Blizzak LM-25 RFT Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.1
 
 

2013 BMW 335i Cabriolet
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 1,000
Location: West Harrison, NY
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 1,000 Miles on Tires
January 09, 2014

second pair of these tires originally ran on a 2011 335xdrive coupe. The tires were great especially in snow, I used last set for approximately 26k miles, they were still good and had plenty of treadwear left. Just put these on a RWD convertible with an M sport package. Bought the 17 inch wheels to replace the staggered 19 inch summer rims. Couldn't feel safer with my wife driving it in her commute over the Tappan Zee Bridge in the snow. If you live in a cold weather area, snow tires definitely stop quicker in cold weather!

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin Pilot Super Sport

Monday, February 3, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.

Michelin Pilot Super Sport Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.62
 
 

2006 BMW M3 Coupe Competition Package
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 9,500
Location:  
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 9,500 Miles on Tires
November 26, 2013

Use these as my street tires, in 255/35R19 front and 275/30R19 rear, mounted on a set of Volk TE37SL wheels (19x9.5" & 19x11") on my extensively modified M3. For reference, track tires are usually PS Cups, or Nitto/Hoosier R-comps.

First off, these are the ONLY Street Tires I have run on this car that aren't immediately overpowered by the brakes, which are StopTech Trophy 6P/4P 380mm/355mm 2pc that I use for competition. Braking distance is better with these than anything else that is daily driveable, and in the wet I have more traction than I would have ever thought possible especially from these widths!

With a quite stiff race suspension, these tires have improved ride quality and decreased noise, with no perceptible change in NVH since new.

Control is phenomenal, with very good feedback and they are very communicative as to their limits, while allowing throttle on oversteer but being perfectly easy to reign back in.

Since going with these for my M3, I have also swapped to them on my GT3 RS and they're every bit as good there.

Another benefit is that they weigh in at about 2.5lbs less than other comparable tires, and in my pursuit of decreasing drivetrain loss as much as absolutely possible, the extra 10lbs of unsprung weight combined with the 28lb from the wheels is immense.

11/10.

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the General Altimax Arctic

Friday, January 31, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.

General Altimax Arctic Reviewer's Overall Rating: 7.8
 
 

2011 Honda Accord Crosstour
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 2,000
Location: Coeymans Hollow, NY
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 2,000 Miles on Tires
January 14, 2014

Tire Rack Team set me up with a great "Winter Wheel & Tire Package" for my car... These Altimax Artic's are a great set of tires. These studded tires (on all four wheels) preform as well as Nokian's best and they are quieter. I have used Nokian tires for years... These Altimax Artic's provide great handling in light or heavy snow and during icy road conditions. You will not be disappointed with these tires or Tire Rack's service. -- Steve

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60

Monday, January 27, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.


Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60Reviewer's Overall Rating: 7

2007 BMW 550i Sedan Sport Package
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 500
Location: Chicago, IL
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 500 Miles on Tires
December 26, 2009

I decided to use my OEM wheels to mount these tires. I was somewhat skeptical prior to purchasing them and did a ton of homework. Chicago winters are extremely harsh. Having a sport sedan, I wanted to keep the sporty look during the winter months while maintaining some level of performance. I have driven in ice, (heavy) snow, rain and extreme cold. I felt extremely confident (handling and performance) with these tires. I don't know how other tires perform but I'm sold on these for the long haul.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the BFGoodrich g-Force Sport COMP-2

Monday, January 27, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.

BFGoodrich g-Force Sport COMP-2 Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.29
 
 

2012 Ford Mustang GT Coupe
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 30,000
Location: Valrico, FL
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 30,000 Miles on Tires
January 13, 2014

I just purchased my 2nd consecutive set of these tires in a 275-40/19 for my Brembo package 5.0. My spirited driving consists mostly of lateral acceleration and an occasional downshift around familiar curves. I know for a fact that I'm not pushing the suspension or the tires past their comfort zone, but enough to keep my wallet and I comfortable. Lol

The first time I bought these tires (December '12), I was at 27k miles on factory Pirellis. (Nothing like taking up two lanes with a 3rd gear downshift at 60 on a stock setup.) and immediately felt the difference, even during the break in period. I just purchased my second set (1/8/14 at 56k miles) and it reminded me of how much I love them. Even in Florida's random terrential downpours and nearly bald tires, the car wouldn't act stupid.

Not sure if I got the full experience from the original set either because within 2 weeks of getting them I took a road trip to Maryland/Pennsylvania (Mountains, ice, snow, slush, sleet, salt, the fun stuff. Lol) and they handled suprisingly well. 12/25-12/30 they handled snow suprisingly well. I was very cautious on the mountain (With a line of 4x4s behind me and a little bit of spin going up hills. Lol) Never once lost it or felt as if I would have needed to call the insurance company.

At 420/406 and just an Anti-Roll Bar kit (To take out the wheel hop from having a cheap factory single center mounted UCA.), I pulled a 1.97 60'/12.2 @ 116. Wheel spin expected, but happy for a street tire. Performs just as well on the street with some VHT. They lose their pizzazz after about 15k, but are still reliable for daily commute. From what I've read and experienced with them, they have a decent inner structure that leaves you confident in familiar corners. I say that because you never know what's around the corner and towards the end, my completely worn Brembos could lock them up (Feel the ABS pulse) at 30 mph.

(Running out of space) Great tire. Save yourself $800+ for upgrades.

 

Don't Let a Little Snow Stop Your Ford Fiesta ST

Friday, January 24, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Did you visit your Ford dealer to test drive a Focus ST but end up with a 2014 Fiesta ST instead? You can't go wrong either way, however it's hard not to be swayed by the Fiesta ST's amazing power-to-weight ratio. 197 horsepower moving a mere 2,720 pounds gives you go-kart handling with plenty of power.

This is all fun until winter, as the vehicle's low curb weight and 205/40R17 Bridgestone Potenza RE050A Max Performance Summer tires make winter driving almost impossible.


Winter / Snow Tire Size:

There will be some variance in sizes depending on where you live, but most Fiesta ST drivers are best served by running 185/60R15 in the winter. This size gives you a footprint that's about 1" narrower, while maintaining the same overall tire diameter. Narrower tires will cut through moderate and deeper snow while providing good grip in packed snow and on ice.

Wheel Choice:

Ford does an amazing job channeling all that power without losing the battle to excessive torque steer (the tendency of a vehicle to veer straight ahead under hard acceleration). Ideally, you'll want to stay close to your 17x7" Original Equipment wheel's 47.5 mm offset. In theory, a significantly lower offset wheel will add torque steer. 

Tire & Wheel Package

Using the above information, if I had a Fiesta ST, I'd order a set of 185/60R15 Michelin X-Ice Xi3 tires on 15x6" 47mm offset steel wheels.

185/60-15 Studless Ice and Snow Michelin X-ICE Xi3 $103*
185/60R15 Michelin X-Ice Xi3
15x6 47ET Steel Wheel $50*
15x6" Steel Wheel


View all winter options available for your Ford Fiesta ST and create a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package today!

Great Gift Ideas from Tire Rack

Friday, January 17, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

Are you unsure of what to get that loved one for his/her birthday? Perhaps they have been searching for a new Tire & Wheel Package, but you do not know which one to purchase. Maybe they are shopping for dedicated winter / snow tires and you aren't positive of the correct size to purchase.

The answer to this problem is as easy as buying a Tire Rack gift certificate. The gift certificate is truly the ultimate gift. It's available in $25.00 to $5,000.00 amounts and is deliverable my mail, as a paper certificate, or as an email, which can be sent directly to the recipient in minutes!

Aside from gift cards, Tire Rack also has an assortment of other small items that are a perfect gift to go along with new tires and wheels:

Purchase a Tire Rack gift certificate for the car lover in your life!

Stop Slipping in the Snow! The Optimal Snow Tire Solution for the 2014 Audi SQ5

Friday, January 3, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Did you get a 2014 Audi SQ5 to fill your need for compact crossover speed? With 354 hp and 346 ft-lbs of torque channeled through Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive, you've got the power to haul.

All good fun until the weatherman calls for some snow. Now, you find your SQ5 slipping and sliding instead of stopping on a dime. You have stressfully discovered that your Original Equipment 255/40R21 Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GTs (most common O.E. tire) are lacking snow grip. No worries, with just a few clicks on our website, your SQ5 will be good to go in the snow.

Winter / Snow Tire Size

Your Original Equipment Dunlops are not going to perform in snow because their summer compound turns brittle at cold temperatures coupled with a tread size consisting of large tread blocks without biting edges and sipes. A few of you may need to tweak your snow tire widths, but most snowbelt drivers are best served by staying with 255 width tires. The SQ5's 4550 lb. curb weight limits the utility of going skinnier, especially given the spirited nature of many SQ5 drivers.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

As you enter your SQ5 make and model information in our website's Upgrade Garage, we'll ask whether or not you have rubber or metal valve stems. Please go out to your SQ5 and tug at your valve stems. If they move they're rubber, if they don't, they're metal. If they're rubber, your SQ5 uses the ABS-based Indirect TPMS, if they're metal, you'll need Direct TPMS sensors available at $81 per corner. Neither system requires dealer initialization.

Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package

255/50-19 Michelin Latitude X-ICE Xi2 $265*
255/50R19 Michelin Latitude X-Ice Xi2
Bright Silver Sport Edition WX5 $159
Bright Silver Sport Edition WX5


I like the Studless Ice & Snow Michelin Latitude X-Ice Xi2's balance of ice and packed snow grip combined with decent dry road handling. The Sport Edition WX5 provides good value along with being a great match to the SQ5's overall styling.

Now you've got the power and control to make your SQ5 handle anything winter may bring.

Tire Rack Tire Storage Rack: The Ultimate Storage Solution

Monday, December 30, 2013 by Marshall Wisler

The Tire Storage Rack is a well-engineered solution to help organize your garage and keep extra tires or Tire & Wheel Packages out of the way. With a flexible design that allows room for today's performance-oriented tires and wheels, the Storage Rack can also be adjusted to accommodate less aggressive tire widths.

Its adjustable rack quickly attaches to wall studs providing a convenient and safe storage method. A heavy-duty construction has been load tested to a weight capacity of 400 lbs.

With an inner width of 52" the Tire Rack Tire Storage Rack can accommodate four tires roughly 13" wide. This makes the rack large enough for even the widest of sports car tires and most large truck tires.

The Tire Rack Tire Storage Rack is a great long term solution to keeping your garage floor clean and free of clutter. Tire and wheel storage done right!

Caring for and Getting to Know Your Bridgestone Blizzaks

Friday, December 6, 2013 by Neal O'Neal

Once a winter / snow tire has been installed, you should know that the handling traits and personality of your car will feel different compared to the tires you took off. Fresh winter tires start life with deeper tread depths, a more open design and much softer compounds than your alternate set. These features help create great deep snow and ice traction, but also cause more tread squirm and reduction in steering response.

Before a tire is cured after production, a release agent called "mold release" is applied to prevent the tires from sticking in the mold. Some of this release agent is left on the tire's surface, which will result in a slight reduction of traction until worn away. Normal break-in period of a few hundred miles will wear the release agent off.                                             

The Blizzak WS, or Winter Studless line, features a dual tread compound that when viewed through a microscope, the outer Multicell compound resembles the appearance of Swiss cheese as it contains millions of uniformly distributed microscopic pores that are constantly being exposed as the tread surface wears. These pores also help wick away the thin layer of water that develops on top of icy and snow-packed roads. A Blizzak's tread compound comprises the top 55 percent of the tire's tread depth with an underlying base winter compound making up the remaining 45 percent.

The Blizzak LM, or Lamella line, is their performance winter family of snow tires. This compound features tread designs with thin sipes to form thousands of rows of snow-biting rubber. LM tires trade some ice and snow traction for higher speed capability and better steering response. These tires feature a single winter tread compound.


Bridgestone Blizzak WS70

Bridgestone Blizzak LM-32


Just like any other purpose built dedicated winter tire, the Blizzak should only be used during the winter season. Typically, Blizzaks and other snow tires should be used between late November and early April.

Create a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package with the Brigestone Blizzak today to help you have the easiest winter driving experience possible!

Does My Audi Need Tire Pressure Monitor Sensors?

Thursday, December 5, 2013 by Marshall Wisler

Many Audi owners looking for a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package this season question whether or not their vehicle is equipped with TPMS sensors. While TPMS has been required on all new vehicles sold in the United States since 2007, not all models use a directly mounted transmitter type pressure sensor to relay this data. 

On many new Audi models, especially those made after 2010, tire pressure is monitored based off of rotational speed. When a tire loses air pressure, the rotational speed of that tire is changed, and while 1-2 psi will not make a large enough difference to trip the system, a loss of perhaps 5-10 psi will. Once the difference in rotational speed is noted by the vehicle's wheel speed sensor, a message is then passed along to the driver.

This new type of ABS monitoring isn't quite as accurate, however it enables customers to purchase a new wheel and tire set without also purchasing direct TPMS sensors.

To find out if your car requires direct TPMS sensors, simply search by vehicle.

Steel Wheels for Winter Tires

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 by Colin .

Steel wheels are a popular option for drivers who experience harsh winter conditions. One of the main advantages to using a steel wheel compared to an alloy wheel is price. Because they cost less, they allow customers who wouldn't typically consider buying wheels with winter tires, the option to do so. Other descriptions of steel wheels that help drivers make their decision, include:

  • Typically available in black or silver finish
  • Basic styling can often be updated with wheel covers
  • Meet the basic needs of drivers who want the convenience of a winter tire package without the additional cost of an alloy wheel

The best way to see if we have steel wheels for your vehicle is to create a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package. After you enter your vehicle information, you'll be able to see if we have them available for your application. Steel wheel are not available for every vehicle.

If you would like dress up the appearance of your steel wheels, take a look our selection of wheel covers

What Type of Wheel Should You Buy for Winter?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013 by Neal O'Neal

When purchasing a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package, choosing a wheel can be a challenge for some. We offer aluminum alloy wheels for almost every vehicle and steel wheels for select vehicles. Are you having trouble deciding on what wheel to pick? Take a look at the tips below to help you decide which type of wheel suits your winter driving needs.

Aluminum Alloy Wheels

  • Stronger than a steel wheel and weighs less
  • More styles available to help enhance the look of your vehicle
  • Allows for more brake clearance
  • Manufactured to precise standards to meet exact fitment and performance needs
  • Require more maintenance to protect finish against elements such as salt and sand

Steel Wheels

  • Black or silver finish depending on the application
  • Wheel covers available to help enhance the style
  • Less expensive option compared to alloy
  • Meets basic needs of someone looking for a winter package without maintenance of alloy wheels

Our steel and aluminum wheel options will accept factory tire pressure monitors which will come pre-installed. All necessary hardware is included at no cost, as well as complimentary Hunter Road Force mounting and balancing. Tackle winter's elements this year by creating your own Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package!

Winter / Snow Tires and Wheels for the Tesla Model S

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 by Steve Huffman

Are you looking for winter options for your new Tesla Model S? We have the best selection of tires and affordable winter wheels for your vehicle.

If you're looking strictly for a set of dedicated winter tires and you have the stock 19" wheels, take a look at the Bridgestone Blizzak LM-32 or Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D. Both of these are fantastic Performance Winter / Snow tires that will give you optimum winter grip, but maintain the sporty handling characteristics you're accustom to with your Tesla.

Bridgestone Blizzak LM-32
Bridgestone Blizzak LM-32
Dunlop Winter Sport 3D
Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D
Sport Edition WX5
Sport Edition WX5
Rial Lugano
RIAL Lugano


Tesla owners with the 21" dedicated summer tires will definitely need a tire that provides winter grip. We would suggest you downsize to one of the 19" options (as narrower tires are recommended for winter driving) listed above and wrap them on either the Sport Edition WX5 or RIAL Lugano. The WX5 is available in both a black painted and bright silver paint finish, while the Lugano comes in a bright silver paint and titanium gunmetal finish. We can also equip your new Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package with TPMS Sensors. Have your Tesla prepared for winter by creating a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package.

Is Narrower Always Better When it Comes to Winter / Snow Tires?

Friday, November 8, 2013 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Recently, I received a call from a longtime Tire Rack customer who was looking for a new set of winter / snow tires for his hybrid SUV. He was surprised to see our Preferred Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package didn't feature a narrower tire size. Many drivers benefit from a narrow tires ability to cut through deeper snow, but every driver needs to weigh both the advantages and disadvantages of a narrower size. Below you will find what you need to consider when you assess whether or not to go narrow.

Across the snowbelt, there's a wide variance in the intensity and frequency of deep snow blizzards. If you're not residing in the darkest blue areas in the map above, you have to weigh how much grip you’ll lose with a narrower tire on dry roads. All snow tires, especially those in the Studless Ice & Snow category, will sacrifice dry grip and the narrower footprint will exacerbate this loss.

The weight of your car also will play a role in your selection. Does it have all-wheel drive to power through snow? Narrower snow tires are particularly helpful on lightweight cars like the MINI Cooper because you end up with more weight per square inch of contact patch; and more weight equals more grip. Your narrower snow tires will let you cut through deep snow. With a heavier car like the Toyota FJ Cruiser, you can run a moderate size and still be fine. 

For additional help in choosing the right winter tire, read "Size Selection of Winter / Snow Tires."

Best Winter / Snow Tires for a BMW 335i

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 by Colin .

Just like any vehicle, a BMW 335i will really benefit from running winter tires during the colder months. Even if you own the all-wheel drive model, a winter tire will help you steer and stop with confidence in snow and on ice. The most popular winter tires we offer to BMW customers come from Bridgestone, Michelin and Dunlop. Offerings in this category for the 335i are divided into two performance categories.


Performance Winter / Snow

Tires in this category will keep a lot of the handling you enjoy from your 335i but still provide very good winter traction. The main disadvantage to performance winter tires is that they won't have the same level of ice and snow traction as Studless Ice & Winter tires. If you live in an area that doesn't see large amounts of snow and ice or where the roads are normally plowed, this may be the best category for you.  

Studless Ice & Snow

Studless Ice & Snow tires are designed for drivers who want to maximize snow and ice traction without using winter tire studs (if you're interested in studded tires, check out tires in the Studdable Winter / Snow category). These tires will maximize your snow and ice traction by trading in some handling in dry and wet conditions. Some models exhibit this more than others, but none of them offer the precise steering response and cornering stability as a Performance Winter / Snow tire.

Purchasing a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package will give you the convenience of switching your tires on your own and ability to downsize your wheels and tires. Downsizing often reduces your overall cost and opens up more options in winter tires. Also, narrower tires will give you better winter traction than a wider option, so if you have a staggered wider rear set-up, switching to a square narrower set-up will help.  

For more help selecting the proper winter tire, read "Size Selection of Winter / Snow Tires."

Steel Wheels for Volkswagen Vehicles

Monday, November 4, 2013 by Ben Rooney

Starting this year, we now offer a new 16" steel wheel for Volkswagen applications. It's similar to the wheel it replaced, but is designed to accept the ball or radius seat lug bolts that come with your VW. These wheels are economically priced at $58 each* and are intended for use with Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Packages. The wheel isn't designed to fit Original Equipment hubcaps. For those who would like to purchase hubcaps, view our aftermarket wheel covers.

The 16x6.5" wheel will fit most smaller Volkswagens, however it does not fit larger models like the Passat, Tiguan and Touareg. Audi and VW often share fitments, but the newest Audi models tend to have brakes that are too large for these wheels, while many older Audi models can use them. To check availability for your specific year, make and model, shop by vehicle.

Following the link above will allow you to enter your vehicle's information and browse options available for building a winter package. If you need only the wheels, click the "Skip to Wheels" option at the top of the list of available tires. To learn how we know what wheels are an option for your vehicle, read "How We Know What Fits."

*Prices subject to change

Top Dedicated Winter Performers to Consider

Thursday, October 31, 2013 by Neal O'Neal

Do you live in an area that sees low to moderate snowfall? Are the roads you experience in the winter typically plowed, but you still need traction in the snow? If this sounds like what winter driving is like in your region, then consider a winter tire in the Performance Winter / Snow category.

A few popular tires to consider within the category include the Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60, Blizzak LM-32 and Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D. All three options provide similar performance when it comes to snow traction and dry road handling and cornering. When comparing very closely, the Bridgestone tires move the balance closer to the snow traction side, while the Dunlop does slightly better in dry conditions. Both brands are an ideal choice for someone who wants to retain some clear road handing and response, but also needs to get home at night before roads have been plowed.

Drivers who live in more of a rural area, or experience heavy snowfalls, should lean towards a Studless Ice & Snow tire. Two great options in the category are the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 and Michelin X-Ice Xi3. I've noticed in my experience with both, that the added tread depth of the Blizzak helps with deep snow traction. Michelin's X-Ice Xi3 performs a little better on icy surfaces and tends to handle a bit tighter on clear roads due to the 2/32" difference in depth compared to the Blizzak.

Whether you're looking to buy Performance Winter / Snow or Studless Ice & Snow tires, it's best to order early as stock goes down throughout the fall and winter months. Ordering early when most products are still available will allow you to choose what you want to buy. Begin shopping and create your Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package today!

Why Won't My Tires Work in the Snow?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 by Hunter Leffel

A majority of drivers on the road utilize a single set of tires for year-round use. As the winter season is approaching, some will discover a severe lack of traction. Why is this?

Let's start with the most surprising of possibilities, you could have a set of summer tires installed on your vehicle. This is a very popular set-up when purchasing a European vehicle. We are even seeing some performance vehicles manufactured in the United States coming to market this way, for example, the Ford Focus ST and Chevrolet Camaro SS. It can be a real shocker the first time you head out on a damp, cool morning to find yourself going sideways through a roundabout. A summer tire can lose upwards of 40% of its grip in temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Another possibility can come from simple wear and tear. In order to achieve what many will feel is acceptable snow traction, you need a tire with tread depth over 5/32". To put this in perspective, most all-season tires start at 10/32". Wet traction diminishes around the 4/32" mark and tires are considered legally worn out at 2/32". If your tires were working last year, there's a chance they could not do as well this year. To learn more about the proper tread depths to handle weather conditions, read "When Should I Replace My Tires?"

Lastly, new vehicles are coming with wider tires. Wider isn't your friend when it comes to snow traction. The wide tires are dispersing the weight over a broader area (less pounds of weight per square inch) and the tires are in effect floating on the snow. How do you fix this? Minus Sizing helps you during the winter months because it combines taller profile tires with smaller diameter wheels to help with snow traction. When purchasing your Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package, choose a narrower tire. For additional help selecting the proper winter / snow tire, take a look at "What are the Different Types of Winter / Snow Tires."