Winter Tires are built from the ground up to deliver safety and control in snow, ice, and cold weather conditions. Many car and truck owners think all-season tires can offer that same kind of performance, but that’s not true.
The compounds used in all-season tires generally begin to harden and lose traction when the temperature goes below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Winter tires use special rubber compounds designed to improve a vehicles performance, traction, handling and braking in all cold weather conditions including ice and snow.
Drivers shopping for winter tires this 2011 season won’t be lacking options. Tire manufacturers have spent a lot of time developing winter tires and here are three models to look for at local tire retailers.
Bridgestone BLIZZAK WS-70
Designed for coupes, sedans, crossover vehicles and minivans, the Blizzak WS70 is the fourth generation of Bridgestone WinterBiter tires.
The studless winter tire offers outstanding performance in the wintertime by taking advantage of Bridestone’s unique patented designs.
The Blizzak WS70 has a dual-compound tread. One layer is a standard winter compound and the other is Bridgestone's NanoPro-Tech silica-enhanced Tube Multicell compound. The Tube Mutlicell compound is layered on top and features thousands of microscopic tubes and cells. These are uniformly distributed throughout the compound to prevent water from building-up between the tire’s contact patch and the surface of snowy and icy roads.
As the tread wears, new tubes are constantly exposed along the tread for consistent performance. Basically, the compound gives the tire superior grip in cold weather and bite when dealing with snow and ice.
The Blizzak WS70 includes other features to enhance dry road performance while maintaining snow, ice and wet traction. This tire has four main circumferential grooves that helps disperse water from the tire's contact patch to improve hydroplaning resistance and enhance braking.
Michelin X-ICE Xi2
The Michelin X-Ice Xi2 is another winter tire built for coupes, sedans and minivans.
The Michelin tire is a great value with its low rolling resistance and meets the company’s Green X standard. Michelin guarantees that the tires energy efficiency is at the top of the market in that given category of tires. For vehicle owners, that means reduced fuel consumption and emissions of C02 gasses.
This branding doesn’t mean the tire sacrifices anything in performance. The X-Ice Xi2 is designed so it is prepared to handle the coldest winter driving conditions around the world.
The tire uses Michelin's patented FleX-Ice silica-based winter tread rubber compound. The compound enhances the tires traction in snow and ice, but also remains firm at higher temperatures for traction on wet and dry roads. The compound is
molded into a directional tread design that pushes water and slush away from the tire to improve hydroplaning resistance.
The Firestone Winterforce is another great option for drivers of coupes, sedans and minivans looking for winter tires.
Firestone Winterforce features a winter tread compound that’s molded into an aggressive directional tread pattern. It has tread blocks that are siped, and also can be studded, so the tire has biting edges for traction on ice or in snow.
It also has independent tread blocks with high-density siping to improve the grip on the road. This works well with the tire’s intermediate and shoulder tread blocks. Internally, the features twin steel belts.
If you're thinking your tires will have you slip sliding away this winter, stop at a local tire store and learn more about getting the right winter tires for your vehicle. There are many great winter tire rebates. Winter won't wait and neither should you.
Read the Full Story