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Tire Rack has been the largest single source of Blizzak studless winter / snow tires in the United States since their introduction in 1993. We have tested them on ice and in snow, as well as driven on them through South Bend, Indiana's "mild" and "wild" winters. Over the years we havenít found any All-Season tires that have matched the Blizzak's confidence-inspiring combination of deep snow, packed snow and ice traction.
Blizzak WS (Winter Studless) tires feature dual tread compounds consisting of outer tread cap and underlying base compounds. When viewed through a microscope, the outer Blizzak Multicell compound resembles the appearance of Swiss cheese because it contains millions of uniformly distributed microscopic pores that are constantly being exposed as the tread surface wears. In addition to providing thousands of miniature biting edges, these pores help wick away the thin layer of water that often develops on top of snow packed and icy roads, allowing the biting edges to better adhere to the surface for more traction. The underlying base compound is a standard winter tread compound.
The Blizzak WS-tiresí Multicell tread compound comprises the top 55 percent of the tires' tread depth with a standard winter tread compound comprising the remaining 45 percent. When Blizzaks are approximately 50 percent worn, their "snow platform" tread depth indicators "connect" selected shoulder tread blocks to indicate that the Multicell tread compound is almost worn out, and that the enhanced snow and ice performance is about to end.
We have personal experience on a wide range of vehicles from sports cars to SUVs. Our experience, and that of our customers, indicates that Blizzak winter / snow tires will typically provide 12,000 to 15,000 miles of winter service before wearing out their Multicell tread compound. Therefore, Blizzaks are providing an estimated three to four winter seasons of wear from their Multicell tread compound for the driver who drives an average total of 15,000 miles per year (with 3,000 to 4,000 winter miles per year).
Blizzak winter / snow tires are not recommended to be reinstalled when their tread depth has worn down to the "snow platform" tread depth indicators before the start of the winter season.
As with any purpose-built winter / snow tire, Blizzak tires should only be used during the winter season to maximize their life span. Drivers should switch to their all-season or summer tires during the other seasons.
Drivers shouldn't run Blizzaks (or any other winter / snow tire) too early before or too late after the winter's core of late November to early April. This approximate four-month period represents the ideal time for winter tire use in many parts of the United States.
Winter tires don't wear in the snow, only when there isn't any!
All winter / snow tires require a break-in period of a few hundred miles to wear away the "mold release" applied during their manufacturing. The Bridgestone Blizzak is an extra deep treaded tire to provide enhanced deep snow traction and longer wear. So while Blizzak winter / snow tires are not as responsive and won't handle like standard passenger or performance tires, they will provide acceptable traction and predictable handling.
NOTE: If more responsive and higher speed capabilities are desired, Tire Rack offers Bridgestone Blizzak LM-series tires that enhance handling, however they can not match the ice & snow traction of Blizzak WS-series tires.
In contrast to the lug tread designs used on early snow tires, Blizzak LM (Lamella) studless performance winter / snow tires feature tread designs with thin sipes to form thousands of rows of snow-biting rubber. Initially developed to accommodate high-speed European driving, they trade some snow and ice traction for handling and high-speed capability by featuring a winter driving tread compound able to support their T-, H- or V-speed rating. Although these tires feature a single winter tread compound, they use "snow platform" tread depth indicators to identify when the tire should be retired from winter service.
Blizzak LM-50 RFT Run-Flat studless winter / snow tires are designed to provide continued mobility during winter driving and are only available in the 225/60R17 size for Toyota Sienna vans. While Blizzak LM-50 studless winter tires share the tread design of the Blizzak WS50, they trade the Multicell compound for a more robust winter / snow tread compound that can endure the additional stress and heat of being driven when flat for 50 miles at up to 55 miles per hour. Although these tires feature a single winter tread compound, "snow platform" tread depth indicators are used to identify when the tire should be retired from winter service.
See the complete line of Bridgestone Blizzak winter tires.