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Auto Maintenance & Care

Best Winter Tires

When the freezing temperatures, snowstorms, and black ice arrive for the winter season, there is no substitute for dedicated winter tires. All-season tires are a misnomer no single tire can perform well in all weather. Unless you enjoy the idea of sliding into the ditch or barrier for something as simple as an emergency lane change, winter tires are a must on your car. Needless to say, it is not wise to leave winter tires on your car year-round as the warmer temperatures will wear out the soft compound within a matter of weeks.

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Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 Winter Tires

Although Nokian is not very well-known in North America, this Finland-based company has for years been making the best winter tires available. The Hakkapeliitta R3 is the follow-up to the critically acclaimed Hakkapeliitta R2, delivering increased traction and handling despite the previous tire not really needing improvement. This tire easily handles deep snow without sacrificing road manners in dry conditions, and ice traction is miraculously high for not being a studded tire. The only downsides to the Hakkapeliitta R3 are the high cost of entry, spotty availability, and the difficulty in pronouncing the name when your friends and family remark on the effortless grip and stability in the worst possible conditions.

Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 Radial Tire

Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 Radial Tire

For driving enthusiasts, the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 is the obvious and best choice. This winter tire delivers the crisp responses and high levels of grip you'd expect from a summer tire, while being able to face the hard conditions of winter. A new silica-based rubber compound shortens stopping distances when compared to the previous Pilot Alpin PA3, as well as increasing low-temperature flexibility. While these tires aren’t meant for deep snow and won't display the same levels of grip on snow and ice as a non-performance-oriented snow tire, they provide excellent traction and handling on both wet and dry roads (as well as in light snow and icy conditions).

The Pilot Alpin PA4 maintains a solid amount of grip overall, with excellent dry pavement stability and responsiveness while ride quality is decent. Unless you live in an area where you’ll regularly be faced with deep snow, the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 winter tire is the perfect choice for the driving enthusiast.

Michelin X-Ice Xi3 Winter Tire

The Michelin X-Ice Xi3 could be described as the opposite of the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4. These winter tires prioritize snow and ice traction over the ability to handle sport driving on dry pavement. Flexible compound and innovative tread design allow for the X-Ice Xi3 to exert an authoritative grip in almost all winter conditions, resulting in tires that are easy and fun to drive with.

Performance is overall improved over the X-Ice Xi2, with responsive, predictable handling and short stopping distances. The X-Ice Xi3 functions much like a good all-season tire in cold conditions, with less of the tread squirm or imprecision usually seen with winter tires with good hydroplaning resistance. Once they hit snow or ice, these stud-less winter tires show they’re some of the best available for the price.

Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 Winter Tire

Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 Winter Tire

The Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 are essentially performance tires adapted for use during the winter. If you hate driving during the winter months because of the squishy and imprecise feeling of most winter tires, the Winter Sottozero 3 may be a good option for you. These tires provide crisp handling and plenty of feedback, with good traction in both wet and dry conditions.

Although the Winter Sottozero 3 tires do well on light snow and ice, they won't fare as well in harsh conditions as they’re best-suited for mild winters. If you want to be able to enjoy the sporting characteristics of your car during the winter, the Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 are a good choice.

Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 Studded Tire

Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 Studded Winter Tire

The Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 Studded tires are among the best winter tires available today. The unique stud design allows these tires to claw into ice and packed snow while special rubber compounds and tread design enhance grip and handling.

The previous version of this tire, the Hakkapeliitta 7 Studded, held the Guinness land speed record for a car on ice until it was supplanted by the current Hakkapeliitta 8 Studded winter tire. These tires handle extreme winter conditions outstandingly well, with users commenting that even driving on sheer ice feels like regular pavement.

Performance and handling are predictable and controllable with a feeling of driver confidence at all times. Perhaps the only downside to these tires is they’re not suitable for dry and wet performance, as the case with all studded tires. However, for extreme winter conditions, it’s almost impossible to do any better.

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Pirelli Scorpion Ice Winter Tire

Although Pirelli is known mostly for making high-performance summer rubber fit for supercars, they know a thing or two about winter tires. The Scorpion Ice is Pirelli’s offering for SUV/Truck winter tires, and it compares favorably against many of the popular winter tires sold today. The versatile tread design incorporates plenty of grooves to effectively channel water and slush away from the contact patches, decreasing the likelihood of hydroplaning in a critical situation.

The tread blocks are full of snow traction-enhancing sipes, ensuring you’re not caught off guard by freshly fallen powder. Although the overall traction levels on slippery surfaces are nowhere near what Nokian has to offer, the Pirelli’s Scorpion Ice winter tires strike a great balance between traction and handling that won’t disappoint owners of sporty SUVs/trucks.

Michelin Latitude Alpin LA2 Winter Tire

The Michelin Latitude Alpin LA2 is unique amongst SUV/truck winter tires in that it prioritizes responsiveness over outright snow traction, making it a better tire choice for owners of high-performance trucks and SUVs. That said, if you’re expecting the Latitude Alpin LA2 to deliver the astonishing traction levels on snow and slush that Nokian tires can deliver, you’re in for a disappointment. The tread design features plenty of grooves to channel water and slush, along with hundreds of sipes that help the Latitude Alpin LA2 dig into fresh snow. The ride is compliant without being bouncy, and the handling characteristics of this tire inspire confidence during winter driving.

Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 SUV Studded Winter Tires

The Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 SUV offers the ultimate studded winter tire for your SUV or truck. The unique stud design and tread design on the Hakkapeliitta 8 has been adapted to a tire durable enough for use with larger, heavier vehicles. These tires offer the best grip and handling from a studded winter tire available today, with the ability to make even sheer ice feel like a paved road. The tread design allows these tires to effectively evacuate water and slush, keep contact with the ground and providing relentless grip in even the most extreme winter conditions.

Bestcovery Staff
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