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A Guide To Buying The Best Winter Snow Tires in 2011

Updated on November 6, 2011

Excellent Traction On Icy Roads

How To Choose The Right Winter Snow Tires

Due to the large amount of tire choices, It can sometimes be overwhelming when choosing a good winter snow tire for your vehicle. It can also be very confusing when it comes to understanding what the letters and numbers mean on your tire. This article will help you understand general tire information and jargin so that you can make a smart decision when you decide to buy winter tires.

When it comes to general tire information, there are specific ratings that are given according to the performance of the tire. These specific tire ratings are categorized as traction rating, treadwear tire rating, Temperature rating, and Speed Rating. Then there are the numbers on the tire that represent the size of the tire that is required for your vehicle. As an example a tire size of 235/40/18 translates to a tire that is a width of "235" in size, the middle number "40" represents how thick or thin your tires will be between the road and the rim - sports cars generally have lower numbers like "40" or "35" because sports cars have low profile high performance tires. The last number is "18" which represents the size of the rim that the tires will go on, if the number is 18 that means you have 18 inch rims on your car.

  • Traction Rating - The traction rating or traction grade of a tire represents the stopping performance of a tire. The highest traction rating is AA and the lowest traction rating is C. The AA traction grade would indicate the tire that has the best stopping abilities, and C would be tires that do not stop as fast as an AA tire.
  • Treadwear rating - Knowing the treadwear rating or treadwear grade of the tire is important if your concerned about buying a tire that is going to last a long time. Treadwear ratings that are high like 600, will generally last a lot longer than a tire with a treadwear rating of "200". Generally, tires with a treadwear rating of 200 or less are racing tires with softer rubber. The highest treadwear rating I've ever seen was 600.
  • Temperature Rating - The temperature rating represents how well a tire will perform under higher temperatures. The temperature grades start with A and end in C, temperature grade A tires will perform better as tires accumulate heat when you drive on them.
  • Speed Rating - The Speed rating represents the maximum speed that those tires were designed for. The lowest speed rating for a tire is L which means that the recommended maximum speed for that tire is 75 mph / 120 km/h. Other speed ratings include.

M - 81 mph maximum speed

N - 87 mph maximum speed

P - 93 mph maximum speed

Q - 99 mph maximum speed (studless and studded winter tires)

R - 106 mph Maximum speed (light truck tires)

S - 112 mph maximum speed (family sedans and Vans)

T - 118 mph maximum speed

U - 124 mph maximum speed

H - 130 mph maximum speed (sports sedans and tires for sports coupes)

V - 149 mph maximum speed (sports coupes and tires for sports cars)

Z - in excess of 149 mph

W - 168 mph maximum speed (exotic sports cars)

Y - 186 mph (exotic sports cars)

Some other things you want to know about tire ratings

You will often find these letters on the tire in this form 235/45ZR/18 W88 - this would indicate a very high performance tire that is meant for high speeds. Additionally, sometimes you will see tires that say M + S Tires - this means that the tire is ideal for mud and snow.

Review: The Best Winter Snow Tires in 2011

Below you will find a short list of snow tires or winter tires that got excellent ratings and reviews from the people that used the tire. I have recently done a lot of research on good snow tires for 2011 and I think that you will find that these are some of the best tires you can get for snow, icy roads and winter weather.

Lets Start With The Top Rated Winter Tires in 2011

  • Bridgestone Blizzak WS 70 - This tire was optimized for snow and ice, is comparable to the Michelin X-Ice Xi2. This is one of the most popular winter tires and is a great choice for serious winter conditions that involve driving on snow and ice. This tire was also reported to have a great performance all around.

Michelin X-Ice Xi2 Snow Tire

This tire had great reviews from users because reports stated that it performed really well all around, even on dry roads. Not a noisy tire, excellent ride comfort. I have this tire on a ford explorer and I would definitely buy this tire again.

Continental ExtremeWinterContact

This is a great tire for snow and ice conditions and has shown to work well in environments that involve deep snow. This tire is not only more affordable than the Michelin X-Ice, but it also performs well all around as a tire.

Latitude Alpin SUV Performance Winter/Snow Tires

This has been a very popular winter tire because its a great winter tire, and is designed for crossover vehicles or SUV's. It also has a quite and smooth ride, and it has a great tread life rating. Has Stabiligrip technology. I haven't personally used this tire, but I heard great things about it from various places. It was rated a 9 on wear life, a 10 on fuel efficiency, a 9 for handling, 9 for ice traction, 9 for snow traction. This is a great tire for the money.


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    • Ercolano profile image

      Sam Walker 6 years ago

      Well, interesting hubs, I came to reciprocate and perhaps read a creative piece, but instead I find you have your finger in many pies. Very interesting. I bought new tires last year, but I found out that the iPad can be jailbroke and all sorts of other stuff... I'll know where to come as things come to mind. I would say you are very good at what you do.