Picking the right snow tire for your car can be a daunting task if you don’t know what to look for. As a consumer, there is a laundry list of factors you need to consider. Below are some categories of concern that need to be addressed when in the market for a new set of snow tires and 5 top picks that will help you arrive home safe during inclement weather.
A snow tire or winter tire is a tire designed for exactly what it sounds like, snow. By nature, a snow tire is more flexible in colder weather in order to keep a larger footprint on the road. Performance tires as well as those not categorized as “winter tires” are often more rigid and thus provide less traction in harsh weather. That being said, there are many factors to consider when seeking out the right tire for your vehicle. Categories such as fuel efficiency, dry performance, wet performance, quiet ride, ride comfort, wear life, winter performance and ice performance are all factors that need to calculated into the decision. This need not however be an exhausting experience. Provided are 5 snow tires that made the cut in overall ability from Bridgestone, Goodyear, Pirelli, Michelin, and Continental.
The five winter tires chosen were the Blizzack LM-60 by Bridgestone, the Eagle Ultra Grip Performance by Good year, the winter 210 Sottozero by Pirelli, the Pilot Alpin PA2 by Michelin, and the Extreme Winter Contact by Continental.
At the top of the list is the Blizzack LM-60. The Blizzack lineup has been used in all sorts of automotive circles from high performance cars to minivans and for good reason. The LM-60 provided superb traction in snow and low friction surfaces and offered excellent dry condition manners without excessive road noise in the cabin. Blizzacks from Bridgestone will run you approximately $140-$260 dollars per tire, but they would be a worthwhile investment, especially if you need to be somewhere in bad weather.
Another tire in the lineup is the Sottozero by Pirelli. Pirelli is known for their performance tires and soft compounds, but the Sottozero provided excellent response and grip in both snow and ice, making it a great formidable opponent for other winter tires on the market. Pricing for these tires will however carry a steep price tag ranging between $115 to a whopping $350 dollars per tire.
Next in the winter tire lineup was the Eagle Ultra Grip Performance by Goodyear. These tires while more conservative in their tread design offered appropriate traction in both wet and dry conditions. The Ultra Grips are categorized as a snow tire however they offer better fuel mileage than typical winter tires, and seem to ride more like an all terrain tire. This Goodyear tire setup will run you between $60 and $150 depending on your setup making this the least expensive out of the 5. Michelin’s Pilot Alpin PA2 however will set you back in the vincinity of $150-$260 per tire. Michelin, which is known for supplying many high performance vehicles with OEM equipment such as the Dodge viper, has offered up a quality winter tire with the Alpin PA2. The PA2 offers excellent hydroplaning resistance, wet and dry traction and amazing ride quality over rough surfaces. This tire gets 2 thumbs up but the typical pricing of Michelin is definitely a detractor for this product.
Lastly Continental comes into the game with its Extreme Winter Contact. Depending on your application the Extreme Winter Contact will set you back between $60 and $190 dollars. For its price the Extreme Winter Contact provides for excellent light and deep snow traction, wet traction, and ride comfort while maintaining an acceptable noise level. Tread life however, appears to be one of the weak points of this product. Although it was expected to have a more pronounced wear rate when compared to non-winter tires, the Continental offering appears to only last 10,000 miles before winter weather becomes an issue for them, which is not something we would like to see.
Whatever tire you decide on, always remember to shop with your mind and your wallet. Never get pressured by a salesman because of a “deal”. Stick to the facts and pick the “right” tire for the winter weather, it might just save your life.