What to Look For in a Winter Tire

winter tires in snow

There’s no snow on the ground in the Lower Mainland yet, but the mercury is definitely dipping down to the single digits. And did you know at temperatures below 7 C, the rubber compounds in all-season tires harden, compromising traction even if the street is dry? That’s why dedicated winter rollers are always recommended, and below we show you what to look for, as well as compiled a list of three of the best models on the market right now.

three peak mountain snowflake

Things to consider when shopping:

  • Some varieties are studded — that is they have embedded small metal pins to dig into compact snow and ice. Recommended for use in extreme conditions only, the downside is they’re noisy and can damage pavement. 
  • Sizing — skinnier tires do a better job of cutting through the white stuff than big wide ones. Discuss with your retailer to ensure proper fitment. 
  • Look for the three-peak mountain snowflake symbol branded on the sidewall. This indicates it meets or exceeds the required testing criteria to function in harsh winter environments. 
bridgestone blizzak ws90

Bridgestone Blizzak WS90

Released just at the beginning of the year, the WS90 is a flagship sedan and minivan winter tire. Featuring an all-new tread compound using the company’s EdgePerformance Technology, there are many interlocking sipes (thin slits) designed to grab onto driving surfaces.

michelin x-ice xi3

Michelin X-Ice Xi3 

Another car and van tire, the X-Ice Xi3 is proven player in the segment now in its third generation. A few proprietary highlights include Micro-Pumps in the tread that absorb water and maximize proper contact with the road, and MaxTouch Construction improving, among other things, wear life, which is rated at a healthy 60,000 kilometres. 

yokohama iceguard g075

Yokohama iceGUARD G075

Brand new for the 2019 fall and winter season, Yokohama’s latest addition is the plus-sized iceGUARD G075 made with crossovers and SUVs in mind. Fitting wheels between 16 and 20 inches, the tread pattern has special zig-zag shaped grooves providing loads of grip. Additionally, the low heat generating rubber reduces rolling resistance translating to better fuel efficiency.

Ready to buy? Speak to your local OpenRoad parts department for competitive pricing.  

Posted by Benjamin Yong

Benjamin Yong is a freelance journalist and communications professional living in Richmond, B.C. He is often found writing about cars and the auto industry, amongst other things, or driving around in his work-in-progress 1990 Mazda MX-5. Twitter: @b_yong Instagram: @popuplights