--The basics :
Get snow tires
appropriate to your climate and driving style. If you don't see much snow during the winter, and you like to drive/corner fast on cold dry roads then look into the "high performance" winter tires like the Bridgestone Blizzak LM32
, Dunlop Winter Sport 4D
or the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4
If your area gets heavier snow or you just really want some extra confidence when conditions are at their worst, then look into a more aggressive snow tire. Among the best of this type are the Blizzak WS-80, Michelin XI3
. Winter tires like these will offer the best in snow and ice traction, but will give up some dry road responsiveness over the more performance-oriented snow tires to get that additional winter traction. These tires have come a long way in the past ten to fifteen years, with a couple now made in H speed ratings that are not as squirmy as those of the past.
You may want to lean towards one of the more aggressive snow tires like those listed above if one or more of the following are true :
-Your geographical area gets heavy snowfall and/or lake effect snow.
-You are often driving on packed snow and ice.
-You are just willing to give up some dry grip and steering response for maximum safe winter traction.
-Your do not have the option of staying off of the roads when conditions are severe.
-These tires are for a newer driver or for a driver who needs much more confidence when driving in winter conditions.
Choosing between these two categories may be difficult and is mostly a personal preference choice for the trade off between snow traction versus dry road handling. However it is important to keep in mind what your worst conditions will be as that is the time when you'll need the traction the most! Driving on a dry road is pretty easy, it is when the weather gets rough that things get more challenging.
--New/Updated this season and reminders from last season
Last year, Bridgestone replaced their top snow and ice traction tire, the Blizzak WS-70, with a new model, the Blizzak WS-80,
. The newer tire has a higher speed rating, more stable handling than previous generations while improving snow and ice traction. After a full winter season of experience with the new WS80, we have been impressed with the tires winter capabilities and it now holds the top spot in our customer survey data. This continues a trend of these more aggressive snow tires getting slightly better in snow and ice over the years while getting much better in regards to dry road feel. While they are not performance tires, these are not nearly as squirmy as aggressive snow tires of the past. They feel more like an all-season tire in dry conditions.
Also new last year on the value-side of the studless ice and snow tire market, was the Yokohama iceGUARD iG52c.
While this tire didn't quite keep up with the best tires in our ice testing, it was a very close third and its price point is noticeably lower in most sizes. After a year of data and feedback, we can still recommend this tire for a good choice for those looking for a more value-oriented studless winter snow tire.
--A final word of advice
: Don't wait too long. Ordering early when most products are still available lets you choose what you want to buy rather than being forced to settle for what is left over. Best to be ready with products in hand before it snows so that you can put them on when you are ready rather than waiting for a shipment to arrive after the first snow. We should have most inventory available in early October. Tires and wheels purchased together are mounted and balanced at no charge to make changeover easy.
Here is a direct link to the winter tires area
Please remember to refer to 'Gary Audiworld when you order online so that I can look over the order and click the signature link to get the forum credit for the sale.