Snow tyre vs Winter tyre

 There are snow tyres and there are winter tyres.  

 Snow tyres are basically the same as the first radial tyres with larger treads.  Winter tyres have an advanced rubber formula and different tread design.  

 Both are good, but if you want the best traction, I highly recommend "Winter" tyres.   

 While there are differences between tires of either flavor, I want the best traction so I go for Winter tyres.

 That said, I know many of us have a tendency to call both types of tyres "snow" tyres.  

 I believe we can best serve those who may not know there is a difference to point it out from time to time.

Are there any ‘snow tires’ any more?

From the TireRack:

Are there any ‘snow tires’ any more?

Looks like tirerack uses the terms interchageably.

It’s a matter of shelf-space and shelf-life…Oh, did you want studs with those??

I think there are very few people (less then 10% of the population) who NEED snow/winter tires…

People who drive rwd and drive in snow…it’s a good idea to get snow/winter tires.

People who drive fwd or rwd but live in Mountain regions…or live around the Great Lakes where lake effect snow of 200" a year is common.

The rest of us…any decent all season tire is MORE then acceptable. Here in NH (one of the snowiest regions in the country (not counting the rust belt around the Great Lakes)…we only average about 40" of snow a year…Most will come in MAYBE 5 storms…That works out to 5-10 days a year of actually driving ON snow…We do get some ice storms…but all-season tires and good driving skills is all you need for that…

“I think there are very few people (less then 10% of the population) who NEED snow/winter tires…”

It’s maybe less than that where I live. Doctors and emergency personnel probably woud benefit to a degree worth the cost and inconvenience. However, most of those people in my neck of the woods drive SUVs.

I live where “lake effect snow of 200” a year is common." and I have for decades. I live 20 miles from the local town and schools, etcetera. My wife and I have always commuted over 50 miles to work.

When the weather turns bad (and it often does), I have found that one of the following usually is the problem:
You can’t see to drive with any type of vehicle or tires.
If you can see then you sometimes can’t tell where the road is ( road, shoulders, fields all look the same ).
You have no business being on the road. Stay home before you kill somebody.

Schools and businesses are closed when the weather is bad enough that traction is a problem. Traction is the least of the weather related problems.

I don’t need or want snow tires / winter tires. Give me something that will let me see in blizzard conditions and in ice fog and in white-outs and we’ll talk. Then I might have a use for them.


“People who drive rwd and drive in snow…it’s a good idea to get snow/winter tires.”

The benefit of winter tires that most folks who do not have them do understand is superior control stopping and cornering. It is a good margin over all-seasons. The control and cornering that is superior comes into play even in 2" of wet slippery snow/slush or ice. This happens quite often in my locale of NH. Even weekly.

Its an old school idea and full misunderstanding that winter(snow) tires are simply made to get you moving better. Yes they do that however that is not the real benefit.

I have driven in NH for 20+yrs including steeper roads in the white mountains with a mix of AWD, 4wd, rwd, FWD and coupled to all-seasons, performance all-seasons and winter tires. I know the difference.

Its simply a great safety enhancement to winter driving by a good margin. That all being said I am going around on all-seasons/AWD with better winter traction on both my vehicles.

The control and cornering that superior comes into play even in 2" of wet slippery snow/slush or ice.

So that means you can increase your speed from 10mph to 12mph…Taking corners on snowy, slippery surfaces higher then 15mph no matter what you drive or what tires you have on your vehicle is going to get you in trouble. As I said…may be better…but driving skills and slowing down work better.

Not true, you can drive typically at the posted speed limit. If you can share your experiences on winter tires I interested.

The worst part about good winter tires is you do not realize a bit how slippery it really is out. Only observation of other vehicles is how you know.

I’ve driven my in-laws Avalon with blizzak. They live in the snow belt in upstate NY. Were they better then my wifes Lexus in snow with all-season tires…Yea…but for light snow…didn’t notice much of a difference at all. Taking a corner at 15mph IS the recommended speed limit. Now if you’re talking about a highway corner…then the blizzak do have an advantage…Again…for those very very few days that it happens in NH…just can’t justify it.

So the 5-10 days of several inches of snow…plus the 10+ days of driving on 1-2" of snow…to me…doesn’t justify buying snow tires. And MOST of the time we still drive on plowed roads… Well over 1 million miles of driving…NH just doesn’t get enough snow to justify buying snow tires. The mountains do…but then we take my SUV with 4wd and good all terrain tires. If I moved back to Pulaski…then I’d be buying the best snows for my wifes fwd car.

Besides Not Necessary, They’re Not Practical. I Keep Four Cars On The Road In The Winter (More In Summer) And I’m Not About To Purchase 16 Or Even 8 Extra Tires Or Tires/Rims And Then Screw Around Changing Them And Storing Them.

At one time I ran winter tires and even studded ones, but it was a pain for what I got out of it.

My quiet Mud And Snow tires work just fine, thank you. We drive larger heavier FWD vehicles and traction, cornering, and stopping are not a serious problem. As I’ve said, it’s visibility that is the dangerous element of winter driving for us.

Some things that one can have on a car are desirable, but not necessary or practical. I keep the situation as simple as possible. I need more maintenance items like I need tap dance lessons.


CSA is right…When it gets that bad, stay home…It’s not worth wrecking your car to “run errands”…

I have used Mud & Snow tyres for many years (mine aren’t quiet, but I play the radio loud) they work very well in snow. The downside is that there is some traction loss in rain, but since I expect it, I can compensate for this. My biggest rant is the cars that have AWD, Traction Control and Stability Control and the people driving them thing that makes the car invunerable to snow and ice. Nothing I hate worse than the dimwits driving such cars in snow and ice passing on curves, going at the max speed limit and just generally driving as if it were mid-July. I do agree, if you do not need to be driving in snow and ice, stay home and watch the dimwits slide into each other on TV.

View the test videos at these links (especially the third one) and then PLEASE stop posting silly messages that talk about how winter tires don’t help. We all know that your speed should be based on conditions but winter tires give you more traction. Period. End of story. I live in the Great Lakes snow belt and commute 150 miles a day. All the “smart people” who think winter tires don’t help are usually in the ditch by the side of the road, especially people driving SUV’s with AWD.

I agree that a good all season can give many reasonable snow performance in less demanding areas. Unfortunately, they don’t address the ice traction problem as well as winter tires, and, they more rapidly loose their winter snow traction as they wear.

Generally, Snow/winter tires have much better snow traction then a new all season, even when the winter tires are worn to the wear bars. It is actually cheaper to rotated summer/ winter tires as you get much longer “safe wear” out of both. The recovery cost that must initially be born out, is the extra rims. This too pays for itself over time.

I will also continue to argue that awd and 4 wheel drive cars and trucks are MORE in need of winter tires because of the greater speeds and worse conditions people tend to drive them in. To venture out in a hazardous snow storm with 2wd is no more foolish then going out with an awd car clad with all season tires. Both decisions can be fool hardy. It makes no sense to me for those who buy awd cars in heavy snow country because they can’t be bothered with winter tires, IMHO. In tests I have read, awd cars accelerate faster with all season tires then a 2wd car with snow tires. Once the awd car gets tp that higher speed, the driver and passengers are SOL…

I think the folks who post negative about winter tires are mostly doing it for self justification purposes. Some admit more than others.

I only agree with naysayers they are not a need for majority of drivers. However a really nice an amenity/safety enhancement they on certain days can be a lifesaver or relive some stress in a tough commute.

My wife like winter tires however can go out with bald all-seasons and even spin a car without much stress. Other folks like my mum who recently discovered winter biased tires were petrified in the conditions. Now she has pretty good confidence and knows that if she slips with her Nokian WR’s on a Subaru that she likely should not be out and parks the car.

The easiest way to prove superior winter traction is jamb the ABS brakes to the floor on a straight road with all-seasons on snow and then try winter tires. You will get little to no chatter with winter tires. The ABS goes crazy with all-seasons which means its really slippery.

How much snow do we actually get here in Southern NH?? We average about 30" a year…Sorry…but that just isn’t enough snow for me to justify snow tires…There are winters where we had less then 10" of snow…and that all came in one snow storm. So the rest of the winter we’re driving around on dry streets with WINTER tires…Southern NH doesn’t get enough snow to justify snow tires. Now if we continuously have winters like we did a few years ago…sure then maybe it’s justified…but on average in Southern NH…no way…Been driving in snow too long in areas that get more snow in a month then Southern NH has EVER seen in on year.

Again missing the point. Winter tires do not just excel in “snow” but on ice, black ice, slush and cold wet/dry pavement. These conditions happen every year irreverent to the average snowfall. Especially black ice which is treacherous.

The idea of snow accumulation as the only event justifying snow tires is the old way of looking at it. They are called winter tires for another reason.

Mike I am not saying you need them. However I find people negate and self justify them without any real experience with modern ones across the conditions.

I agree with andrew_j. Winter tires aren’t even that big of a deal once you buy them. You slap them on before the winter and take them off in the spring. Your “all season” tires last twice as long so you aren’t really buying extra tires. The only expense is the extra set of wheels to mount your snow tires. I do my own tire rotations and it is easy enough to rotate winter tires on and off the car. My son is 17 and will be driving on his own for the first time this winter. I would never let him drive in the winter without winter tires.

Did anyone watch the videos I posted above?