As we help our customers prepare for winter driving conditions, one of the most common questions we hear is: what are the best rated winter tires?
Since there are many different ratings systems for winter tires, the answer to this question varies depending on which organization’s ratings you read. However, we have some pointers as you compare winter tire ratings and decide which winter tires are best for your vehicle! For even more information about finding the best winter tires, click here to download our Ultimate Guide to Winter Tires.
Not All Winter Tires Are Created Equal
If you’ve ever driven in a Canadian winter, we don’t need to convince you that winter tires are a smart investment for your vehicle. Unless you live somewhere that only gets snow overnight which is completely cleared by 6am, chances are you’ve had to drive to work, run errands, or make it to an appointment in snowy conditions—which can be very stressful and dangerous without proper winter tires.
While virtually all winter tires will provide enhanced safety over summer or all-season tires in wintry conditions, the specific model you choose has more to do with your vehicle, where you drive it, and how you drive it than any one ratings system.
Regardless of which style of tire you choose, always look for the Severe Service Winter Tire designation on the side of the tire. It looks like a snowflake symbol in front of three mountain peaks and indicates that the tire meets the winter traction requirements of the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada.
Best Rated Winter Tires For Cold Weather
If where you live regularly experiences extremely cold weather, look for a winter tire that is rated to perform well when the temperature dips. Some of the latest winter tires will maintain their elasticity—and provide better gip—even at -30°C. All-season tires and some lower-performance winter tires will harden in cold weather, meaning you lose traction and could have difficulty braking, turning, and accelerating.
Best Rated Winter Tires For Extremely Icy Conditions
If you regularly drive on very icy roads in the winter, studded tires could be your best choice. Studded tires are restricted in most provinces, meaning you can only use them on your vehicle between October and May (exact dates vary by province). Studded tires have small metal studs embedded in the tire which bite into ice and provide better traction. If there is no ice, the studs can damage the road surface, which is why they’re generally restricted to use during winter months only.
Modern studless winter tires are also an excellent choice for icy road conditions. Advances in tire technology—including the latest rubber compounds and tread design—have lead to the development of studless tires that provide equal grip and advanced flexibility.
Best Rated Winter Tires For Snow & Slush
Most Canadian drivers need to drive on packed snow or in slush during the winter season. Even plowed roads can be snowy, and if the temperature rises then we have to deal with slippery slush.
To drive safely in these conditions, the best winter tire choice will feature directional tread and sipes. Directional treads are usually V-shaped patterns in the treads with large grooves between tread blocks. These serve to direct accumulated packed snow and slush out and away from the tires, ensuring that you’ll maintain proper traction and control.
Sipes are small slits in the treads themselves that also help direct slush and water away from the tire. These help to reduce braking time in icy, snowy, or slushy conditions.
Find The Best Rated Winter Tires At Tirecraft
Once you’ve decided which style of winter tire is the best for your vehicle and your typical driving requirements, visit your nearest Tirecraft dealer for expert advice and installation. Our dealers are experienced in sourcing, installing, and maintaining premium tire brands like:
- BF Goodrich
- Toyo Tires
- And more!
Are you ready for winter driving? Click here to find the Tirecraft dealer nearest you now!