Snow Tire Speed Rating

I’m buying snow/winter tires and a tire dealer was advising me to avoid Michelin X-Ice (which he sells) because the speed rating of Q is lower than my car’s (2004 Jetta GL) rating of H. Is this something I really need to consider for my winter only tires?

He/she is just covering his butt legally. You will be okay with a lower speed rated tire its just that handling is not as wonderful which is a normal with true winter tires.

When I bought my Michelin X-Ice tires, I was initially skeptical about the handling, due to the Q rating. As it turns out, even on dry roads, they handle superbly. In fact, I am tempted to say that their handling is slightly better than my other tires, which are BF Goodrich Touring T/A with a speed rating of H.

If it wasn’t for the relatively fast tread wear in higher temperature situations, I would be tempted to use those Michelins year 'round. In my opinion, you can buy those tires with confidence. I am a very satisfied customer, due to their great winter traction as well as their good handling on dry roads, a relatively low noise level and better tread wear characteristics than most other winter tires.

I would not worry a lot about it, assuming you don’t push the speed limit, but I also believe it is wise (I never said I was wise) to use tyres that meet the manufacturer’s specifications.

Q is 99 mph sustained speed. H is 130.

Personally, I’ve had my car over 99 mph a number of times. If you’re like me, you may want to heed his advice. Visit and for consumer feedback on winter tires that satisfy your car’s capabilities.

Now everyone will beat up on me for violating the speed limit. But those that do have to be honest with themselves.

Well, I also speed on occasion, but I have never taken my car over 85 mph (for a very brief time), and I do not intend to do so. Even though the original tires for my car were rated for higher speeds, I really don’t think that I am endangering myself or anyone else by using winter tires rated for “only” 99 mph.

Also–IIRC, the winter tires that are rated for higher speeds are also the ones that have less traction on snow and ice. You know–give and take. In order to be rated for higher speeds, it is probably necessary to forego some snow and ice traction. That is one of the reasons why I chose the Michelin X-Ice tires, rather than the more expensive Michelin winter tires.

How often do you do that during winter with the prospect of snow and ice on the road? My summer tires go on when the weather is conducive to faster travel.

Yeah, I’m not condoning what I do, just suggesting that it’s important for the OP to be honest with him/herself when making this particular decision.

Thanks to all for your help.

Speed rating probably means that he tire will come apart if certain speeds are exceeded for a certain period of time. If you aren’t driving over 90 MPH, you probably don’t have to worry.

Speed rating is an important issue in Germany and other countries with much higher speed limits. In the US, it is a non-issue, except for New Mexico or some areas with no daytime speed limits.

Having Michelin X-ICE tires on one of may cars, I think the safety aspects far outweigh any hypothetical dangers. Agree, the dealer is trying to put boiler plate over his buns.