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Drive Safe Through Snow and Ice Using the Best Winter Tires

When the freezing temperatures, snowstorms, and black ice arrive for the winter season, there is no substitute for dedicated winter tires. All-season tires are a misnomer no single tire can perform well in all weather. Unless you enjoy the idea of sliding into the ditch or barrier for something as simple as an emergency lane change, the best winter tires in 2021 are a must on your car. Needless to say, it is not wise to leave winter tires on your car year-round as the warmer temperatures will wear out the soft compound within a matter of weeks.

Compare The Best Winter Tires Of 2021

Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 Winter Tires - Best Winter Tires Overall

Although Nokian is not very well-known in North America, this Finland-based company has for years been making the best winter tires available. The Hakkapeliitta R3 is the follow-up to the critically acclaimed Hakkapeliitta R2, delivering increased traction and handling despite the previous tire not really needing improvement. This tire easily handles deep snow without sacrificing road manners in dry conditions, and ice traction is miraculously high for not being a studded tire. The only downsides to the Hakkapeliitta R3 are the high cost of entry, spotty availability, and the difficulty in pronouncing the name when your friends and family remark on the effortless grip and stability in the worst possible conditions.

Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 Winter Tire - Runner Up

For driving enthusiasts, the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 is the obvious and best choice. This winter tire delivers the crisp responses and high levels of grip you'd expect from a summer tire, while being able to face the hard conditions of winter. A new silica-based rubber compound shortens stopping distances when compared to the previous Pilot Alpin PA3, as well as increasing low-temperature flexibility. While these tires aren’t meant for deep snow and won't display the same levels of grip on snow and ice as a non-performance-oriented snow tire, they provide excellent traction and handling on both wet and dry roads (as well as in light snow and icy conditions).

The Pilot Alpin PA4 maintains a solid amount of grip overall, with excellent dry pavement stability and responsiveness while ride quality is decent. Unless you live in an area where you’ll regularly be faced with deep snow, the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 winter tire is the perfect choice for the driving enthusiast.

Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 Winter Tire - Honorable Mention

The Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 are essentially performance tires adapted for use during the winter. If you hate driving during the winter months because of the squishy and imprecise feeling of most winter tires, the Winter Sottozero 3 may be a good option for you. These tires provide crisp handling and plenty of feedback, with good traction in both wet and dry conditions.

Although the Winter Sottozero 3 tires do well on light snow and ice, they won't fare as well in harsh conditions as they’re best-suited for mild winters. If you want to be able to enjoy the sporting characteristics of your car during the winter, the Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 are a good choice.

Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 Studded Winter Tire - Consider

The Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 Studded tires are among the best winter tires available today. The unique stud design allows these tires to claw into ice and packed snow while special rubber compounds and tread design enhance grip and handling.

The previous version of this tire, the Hakkapeliitta 7 Studded, held the Guinness land speed record for a car on ice until it was supplanted by the current Hakkapeliitta 8 Studded winter tire. These tires handle extreme winter conditions outstandingly well, with users commenting that even driving on sheer ice feels like regular pavement.

Performance and handling are predictable and controllable with a feeling of driver confidence at all times. Perhaps the only downside to these tires is they’re not suitable for dry and wet performance, as the case with all studded tires. However, for extreme winter conditions, it’s almost impossible to do any better.

Pirelli SCORPION ICE & SNOW Winter Tire - Best SUV & Truck Winter Tires

Although Pirelli is known mostly for making high-performance summer rubber fit for supercars, they know a thing or two about winter tires. The Scorpion Ice is Pirelli’s offering for SUV/Truck winter tires, and it compares favorably against many of the popular winter tires sold today. The versatile tread design incorporates plenty of grooves to effectively channel water and slush away from the contact patches, decreasing the likelihood of hydroplaning in a critical situation.

The tread blocks are full of snow traction-enhancing sipes, ensuring you’re not caught off guard by freshly fallen powder. Although the overall traction levels on slippery surfaces are nowhere near what Nokian has to offer, the Pirelli’s Scorpion Ice winter tires strike a great balance between traction and handling that won’t disappoint owners of sporty SUVs/trucks.

Buyer's Guide

Best winter tires

Snowy and cold weather conditions affect movement on the road. It doesn’t matter if you are using an all-wheel-drive; winter tires will boost your car’s performance while giving you more confidence on the road.

Tires have unique features which differentiate them from each other. Some tires do better in deep snow, while others perform better on ice. Some regions permit studded tires while others do not. Some tires come with bright slits for proper grip, while others have aggressive and rugged patterns. The world of winter tires can be pretty confusing, especially if you are a novice, but this guide will help you.

Do you need winter tires?

In colder climes, even all-season tires get stiff and rigid, affecting their ability to perform. The reduction in grip is a big problem for drivers looking to control their cars on roads.

The limited nature of frozen tires regarding sidewall flex means they are often hard to predict on snow-rutted roads. When a car tire freezes, the tread wears out faster than usual. Winter tires are made using a unique compound that allows them to stay flexible and soft in the coldest conditions. Also, they are stickier in harsh temperatures, thus giving you better control in ice and snow than most other tires will. These tires also have unique tread patterns, which provide more surface area for better grip.

Note that there is a perfect time to put winter tires on. Usually, all-season tires lose their effectiveness at about 45 degrees Fahrenheit. This means when you begin noticing your breath in the wind, you need to change tires. Make sure you install the winter tires before the first snowfall.

What to consider before buying winter tires

Here are some things you should know before choosing the right winter tire.

Know your tire size

One of the first questions you will be asked when you walk into a store is your tire’s size. The easiest way to identify this is by looking at the sidewall, where you will find a code.

What type of road will you be driving on?

Are you looking to drive on side roads, city roads, or highways? If you are someone who goes and finding often, you should buy high-quality tires.

Ice tires or snow tires?

Ice tires are better because they offer good traction on ice and snow. But your choice depends on where you will be driving.

Explore options

Several dealerships are willing to offer you good deals, but this doesn’t mean you should settle for them straight away. Scout for several offers and suggestions so that you can get the best deal.

Don’t mix-match

Using different brands of tires on your car is a terrible idea. It can cause poor handling and premature wear on some components. If you have an SUV, this is even more vital. Ensure you install four identical tires from the same maker.

What are the benefits of using winter tires?

Winter tires have several advantages; some of them include the following.

Helps maintain traction

With all-season tires, expect the tires to become frozen and stiff in winter, causing them to lose grip while on ice. The materials used in making winter tires ensure they have a good grip even on ice.

They are safer

The thread used on winter tires bites into the snow. This gives maximum traction and exceptional handling. This ensures safety and stability during winter.

They come with discounts

Several insurance companies offer rewards in discounts to clients who change to winter tires.

Tips for storing and maintaining winter tires

One challenge with seasonal tires comes with storing them. Here are some tips that should help you keep your extra tires.

· The first thing to do is clean the tires before keeping them away. When dirt sits on your tires for a long spell, it can damage them.

· When you are done washing them, place the tires in a bag to not evaporate the oils on the tire.

· Search for a cool place to store the tire, which is fantastic, preferably inside. In a situation where your tires have rims, you can keep them away with ease.

· If the tire is not on rims, you may store them in an upright position.

Caring for your snow tires plays a massive role in determining their durability and lifespan. When caring for snow tires, make sure you choose the right tire for your car. For instance, if you are using a sports car, a lightweight tire should suffice. But if you are using an SUV, you may need a higher load capacity.

Make sure you drive carefully to avoid accidents and keep your tire in good condition. Drivers who drive at high speed and take sharp turns may need to replace the tires more often. You should be within safe driving speeds.

The car’s weight and tire pressure play a vital role in how a tire reacts. Keep the car lightweight and always check the tire pressure. When you drive using a deflated tire, you increase the flat tire’s chances and cause increased strain on the tire. Finally, make sure you service the car as often as possible.

What do winter tires cost?

Winter tires cost between $150 and $190. The cost may be higher with some tires brands, but the good news is that they are often durable.

Studded vs tires brands, studded winter tires.

Many states have banned using studded tires for some years now, while others still do. The ones that allow studded tires only permit those with rubber studs instead of metals. Although stud tires can bite into snow, they don't do well in other weather conditions because they cause damages.

Instead, studless winter tires depend on sharper tire edges, deeper tread designs, and flexible rubber materials to navigate through ice and snow.

FAQs

Q. When should you fix winter tires?

Have your winter tires fixed by the close of October. Doing this early will help you avoid unwanted surprises.

Q. What is the speed limit when driving with winter tires?

The highest speed limit of the tire is often indicated on them. When you exceed this speed, you are exposed to an accident.

Q. What is the lifespan of winter tires?

Several factors affect the lifespan of a winter tire. A standard tire should last at least four seasons.

Q.Do I need to use winter tires on my SUV

?
Yes, you do. In rough winter conditions, all seasons tires cannot grip ice-clad surfaces, which cause poor traction.

Final thoughts

While searching for winter tires, the core factor to consider is the traction they give on ice, snow, and slush. The perfect traction will help boost safety on a cold and wintery road. Also, check to see if the tire you want to get is tested and designed to navigate the harshest winter weather. In summary, quality and function should be the core criteria.

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