Winter can be a tough time for all cars as winter brings along with it the onslaught of moistness (leading the way for corrosion) and icy and snowy roads and the standard car tires are not built well enough to handle those roads. The everyday tires are to be operated at optimum temperatures since the stiffness of rubber in the tires vary. Very low temperatures lead to the stiffening of the rubber compound present in tires thus reducing the ability of the tire to grip the road properly when driving. This means that the traction between the tire and the road surface is less leading to dangerous accidents. Though winter tires may remain useless for the rest of the year they become potential lifesavers during winter.
Winter tires are tires designed especially to be used on snowy and icy roads. These tires have treads with larger gaps that help in increasing the traction between the tires and the road surface. Some tires might even have ceramic or metal studs protruding out to increase traction on hard packed snowy roads. These winter tires optimally operate at temperatures below seven degree Celsius.
Winter tires operate on a variety of surfaces, including pavement (wet or dry), ,ice, or snow. These tires also help in braking and turning over icy roads which are generally risky without a winter tire.
So here arises the question
What are the necessary qualities of a best winter tire?
Here are the top four qualities one has to look out for
Strong Grip in Ice and Snow:
Winter tires have tread design with larger gaps than that of the standard tires so as to increase traction. Also some winter tires have metallic or ceramic studs that protrude out in order to improve their working. Tires which have passed certain traction tests under such conditions are entitled to display a “Three peak Mountain Snow Flake” on the sidewalls of the tire. The mountain/snowflake symbol indicates that the tires can perform well even under harsh winter traction conditions.
The ability to withstand wear and damage even under harsh conditions becomes crucial in the role of winter tires. The treads in particular need high level of reinforcement in order to resist wear and tear. Though the winter tires are made up of special rubber compounds that remain flexible under low temperature conditions. Care must also be taken to maintain the pressure inside tires as the pressure decreases as the temperature drops
There are different types of warranties for tires under various conditions but the most important warranty that comes into play in the case of a winter tire is the tread warranty. It is always advisable to purchase tires that have longer warranty periods and offer better cost solutions in case of tire failure.
Though other qualities may be important, it all boils down to the condition of a comfortable ride. Tires that do not cause any unnecessary conditions to customers are always preferred. Moreover tires that offer the driver comfort without causing any difficulty in maneuvering the vehicle always come first. Though installing winter tires only in the front or only in the back many cause difficulties in vehicle handling.
It is always better to buy tires from well branded companies as their tires have already been tested under different conditions and also because they offer better warranty options.
Here’s a list of some of the best winter tire brands.
A Japan based brand that excels both in all weather and winter tires.Yokohama tires are premium products and are priced to offer good value, with products consistently demonstrating superior performance and durability.
The Goodyear brand tires 2017 are manufactured not only for cars but also for trucks (heavy and light), airplanes and even earth mover machines.The Group’s wide brand and product portfolio offers consumers the ability to choose from a wide variety of high-quality products developed to suit their specific needs.
Headquartered in Tokyo, Bridgestone Corporation is the world’s largest tire and rubber manufacturer, delivering a wide range of innovative, premium products to over 150 nations and territories around the world. The Bridgestone product portfolio includes passenger and light truck tires, motorcycle tires, commercial truck and bus tires, aircraft and mining tires.
A legacy brand with roots dating back to 1900, Firestone has a comprehensive product portfolio that includes consumer and commercial tire manufacturing and service.
Pirelli is the fifth largest operator in the world in the tyre sector, leader in the “Premium” segment, the high range segments with high technological content. Founded in 1872, today Pirelli counts 19 tyre industrial plants, in four continents, operating through a widespread sales network in over 160 countries around the world.
A Brand of tires owned by the Sumitomo rubber company that was launched in 1983 and a standalone brand that focuses on ultra-high performance products.
List of 20 Best Snow Tires
20. Toyo Observe GSI-5:
A unidirectional tread design with crushed Walnut shells embedded to optimize traction both during accelerating and braking. It is also Moisture absorbent to ensure contact between the wheel and the surface so as to improve the performance of the wheel technology
19. Goodyear Ultra grip winter:
Apart from being branded with the Mountain-Snowflake symbol it also offers better affordability and compatibility. But care has to be taken in order to ensure that they are installed in sets of four only.
18. BFGoodrich Winter Slalom KSI:
Having pores that provide grip mechanism for continued traction on snow and ice with optimized sipe configuration that offers better tread block stability. It offers very good braking in the snow and also offers a very comfortable handling.
Difference between winter tires and all-season tires:
Winter Tires have deeper tread patterns specifically designed to dig down and bite into snow and ice. Moreover they are made from different rubber compounds that retain flexibility in cold weather, allowing the tire to perform well even during cold conditions.
Winter tires are often confused with all-season tires—however there is a big difference between the two.
1) Winter tires surpass all-season tires when it comes to traction in snow and ice
2) Winter tires do not perform well in dry conditions whereas all-season tires perform under both dry and wet conditions.
3) Winter tires perform well in all winter conditions (wet, snowy, slush sleet etc.,) whereas all-season tires perform well only in certain types of winter conditions like wet or snowy.
4) Winter tires have feature tread designs made specifically for ice, snow and other severe winter conditions.
5) Once winter ends winter tires need to be removed and standard tires have to be installed thus increasing the cost of ownership.
6) The tread compound of all-season tires can harden in low temperatures, so there’s less traction between the road and your tires. But winter tires use special rubber compounds that stay pliable in the cold, giving them better grip and improved braking, even in extreme conditions.