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Winter tires question

My little Nissan Versa drives a bit slippery when it rains. Would a winter tire make a difference for wet weather? Also, does the old rule “you get what you pay for” apply to tires? I checked two different brands of winter tires one of which is over $20 more than the other. Then there’s another tire that is $70 more. Is it worth the extra dollars? I live in St. Louis which has hot & humid, sometimes wet, summers; winter has both ice and snow. Please advise. Thanks.

No, a winter tire will not help you in warm, wet weather. And, its tread would wear so rapidly in warm weather that you would be throwing your money away. That is why people who use winter tires in the winter are advised to switch back to their “regular” tires as soon as the threat of snow is over for the season.

How old are your current tires? If they are older than 5 or 6 years, it is very possible that the tread rubber has hardened to the point of providing less traction in wet conditions. Or, perhaps those tires are just not well-rated when it comes to wet traction. If you go to you can view all of the tires that are available for your car, and you can compare their ratings for traction, road noise, tread wear, etc.

If you do decide to buy winter tires for the winter, the consistently top-rated ones are the various Michelin X-ice tires. They are usually more expensive, but they are worth the extra expense.


@VDCdriver is completely right. I would discourage you from winter tires. Some good all season tires will do great. I live in northern lower Michigan and I have never had the need for winter tires. But some do.

Yes, but because there is no standard for what constitutes an “all season” tire, a tire manufacturer can put that designation on anything–regardless of how unsuitable it might be for winter driving.

Perhaps you have been luckier than I have been, because I can vividly recall driving my 2001 Outback in snow for the first time, with its OEM Bridgestone RE-92 “all season” tires. Despite having the best AWD system in the business, along with traction control and vehicle stability control, it was–literally–all over the road in snowy conditions. That caused me to buy my first set of winter tires, and the difference was like night and day.

A few years later, I dumped those crappy Bridgestone RE-92 “all season” tires, and replaced them with BF Goodrich all season tires, which were superior in every way. Of course, I still switched over to my Michelin winter tires just before the snow began to fall.

Because there is absolutely no standard for what constitutes an “all season” tire, it behooves people to do their due diligence (via, Consumer Reports, etc) before buying tires. Otherwise, you could easily wind up with an “all season” tire that is essentially useless in winter conditions.


You make very good points here. I think I am fortunate in the respect that where I buy my tires the service representative is extremely familiar with brands of tires, types of tires and vehicle compatibility.Also seeing as I have family, I don’t skimp on cost

still recall the time i sold a set of almost new winter tires to an owner of a fairly new subaru in january. i looked at his tires and they were bald. slicks. no tread. in MN?

Yes, you are fortunate!
A few years ago, a friend of mine went to the largest chain of tire stores in my region, and the salesperson recommended a particular model of Bridgestone tires for my friend’s Rav-4. Before finalizing the purchase, he phoned me, and while he waited on the phone I did some online due diligence for him.

I found that this particular model of tire had been discontinued about one year previously, and that it wasn’t highly-rated when it was new. I recommended that he drive away, and I accompanied him to a different tire shop the next day, where he bought a set of highly-rated Michelins for only a little more money than the original shop was going to charge him for OLD Bridgestones that they were trying to unload.

The moral of the story–as far as I am concerned-- is that relying on a tire salesman’s recommendations without verifying them through other sources could result in buying some crappy tires.

Slippery in the rain means that you have lousy tires for rain. Find some tires with TRACTION A on them. You probably don’t even have to look for that if the tread has a good pattern. Some tires say M&S but are no good at all and others are fine. I like Dunlop Signature II. I’m running Sumitomo Ice Edge now and they were cheap for 225/65 17 size. I can’t advise you to do the same. I’m tired of paying $130 a year for changeover. I’ll see how it works out. At 36 PSI, I think they’ll make it.

Traction rating is only for stopping on wet pavement, it has nothing to do with accelerating or cornering.

Time for new tires. Its as simple as that. Yours have clearly worn to a point they don’t evacuate water like they did when newer. If its only a $20 per tire difference for a premium brand quality tire vs a no name one, buy the premium. It will probably have better traction, make less noise and last longer, which is the reason it costs more.

Yes, with caveats. Good tires are expensive, but some lousy tires are also expensive. Best practice is to do your research amongst the available tires for your particular vehicle.

Also keep in mind that the Versa is not a heavy car and will be more prone to hydroplaning in general than heavier vehicles. Tire technology has come a long way regarding channeling water away from the contact patch, but it’s not magic. Go too fast in any vehicle and you will hydroplane no matter what rubber you’re running.

This video gives a good explanation of the differences between all-season tires, winter tires, and high-performance summer tires: