Choosing the Best Tires for Winter Driving

When the snow and ice hits Wisconsin, you need tires that protect you and your family with features that can withstand the worst winter driving weather. Most professional drivers will tell you that a car is only as good as its tires because even the best power and handling doesn’t mean anything without the proper traction.

Winter tires, also known as snow tires, are designed to transport your vehicle safely through even the harshest weather conditions. They are made from a special rubber compound that works better in cold temperatures, staying pliable to maintain a strong grip and better traction.

According to Automoblog, the top five winter tires for 2021 include:

  1. Michelin X-Ice Xi3
  2. Bridgestone Blizzak WS90
  3. Dunlop Winter Maxx WM02
  4. General AltiMAX Arctic
  5. Continental Winter Contact TS830

With so many options to choose from, deciding which tire to purchase can be challenging.

What to consider while shopping for winter tires, from traction to pricing

Are studded or studless snow tires better?

Studded tires might seem like the obvious choice to handle the slickest, snowiest roads, as they do have the advantage of providing more grip in icy and hard-packed snow conditions. But when pavement is dry or wet and there is no ice or snow, studs actually decrease traction potential. Tire Rack testing showed that studding a tire will increase both wet and dry braking distances by about 5%.

They also tend to create noise and are even banned in some states because of their potential damage to roadways. The best winter performers are usually studless tires, which provide the best possible traction in slush, snow and ice, without the excessive noise and pavement damage associated with metal studs.

Know your tire size

One of the first questions you’ll be asked when you head to the auto dealership or auto parts store is the size of your current tires. To determine this, look at your tire sidewall, which contains critical information such as width, aspect ratio and rim diameter. These measurements will help determine the best pick for your car’s new tires.

It’s also helpful to think in advance about how you will use the tires, which will help steer you to the right option.  For example, are you looking for reinforced tires that will provide better control when turning? If so, there are different types of trades – each with pros and cons, especially with noise levels.

Most manufacturers recommend that you avoid mixing and matching tires for optimal safety and performance. Mixing tires can also lead to poor handling and cause premature wear.

Consider your budget reports that winter tires can average between $150 to $190 per tire. While this may seem like a higher price than other tires, remember they are only used seasonally and you can store and use the same set of winter tires for two to three years, so you shouldn’t have to pay to replace them every winter.

Like with most purchases, it’s crucial to price shop at different tire stores – both online and offline – before making a final decision. In many cases, discounts and financial options are available if you’re not comfortable paying the full amount upfront. Be sure to ask a lot of questions that will help you determine the best tire for you, understanding that there is no perfect tire.

Along with safe tires, it’s important to make sure you protect yourself and your family with the right car insurance. Reach out to your local Rural Mutual insurance agent to find a policy that meets your needs.

The information provided in external website links is for general informational purposes only and does not form any recommendation or warranty by Rural Mutual Insurance Company or its affiliates.