February 5, 2008
Snow and ice are the most challenging conditions drivers typically face; and the tires they use can make a big difference. New cars, vans and light trucks are usually fitted with either summer or all-season tires as Original Equipment (O.E.). Summer tires are designed to provide traction in dry, wet and warm conditions, but were never intended to encounter winter's cold, slush, snow and ice. All-season tires are designed to provide traction in a wider range of temperatures, but we've found they can perform like a Jack-of-all-trades, master of none. Only today's dedicated winter / snow tires have proven to be able to blend good noise comfort and winter traction.
In order to better understand how much traction these types of tires provide on ice, several members of the Tire Rack Team conducted tests with our local skating rink's glare ice replicating the slippery intersections often encountered during winter.
While summer tires weren't designed to ever encounter winter's snow and ice, we included them in our test to show just how helpless they can be when driven out of their element in comparison to Original Equipment all-season tires and aftermarket winter / snow tires. Our evaluation used 2008 BMW E92 328i coupes representing rear-wheel drive vehicles equipped with new, full tread depth 205/55R16-sized tires mounted on 16x7.5" wheels.
When winter's cold, slush, snow and ice arrives, drivers often need tires that provide their best traction when the road conditions are at their worst. We expected the summer tires to finish in last place on the ice, but we included them in the test because we are all too frequently surprised to read consumer reviews criticizing their summer tire's traction in snow and on ice (summer tires aren't designed to be driven in snow and on ice). The results also reflect the compromises all-season tires have to accept to provide year-round capabilities. In the end, only today's high-tech studless winter / snow tires have proven to consistently blend good noise comfort along with traction in snow and on ice.
Bridgestone Blizzak WS60 (Studless Ice & Snow): The Blizzak WS60 is Bridgestone's Studless Ice & Snow winter / snow tire developed for the drivers of coupes, sedans, minivans and crossover vehicles looking for traction on winter's slushy, snow-covered and icy roads. The Blizzak WS60 represents the third generation of Bridgestone WinterBiter tires designed to deliver wintertime traction and control that inspires driver confidence by getting the most out of the vehicle's potential. Read more.
Bridgestone Turanza EL400-02 and Turanza EL400 w/UNI-T (Standard Touring All-Season): The Turanza EL400-02 and Turanza EL400 w/UNI-T are Standard Touring All-Season tires developed to meet the Original Equipment and replacement tire needs of drivers for their sporty coupes, sedans and vans. Turanza EL400 tires are designed to provide a luxury appearance, long wear and responsive handling along with dry, wet and year-round traction, even in light snow. Read more.
Bridgestone Potenza RE050A Pole Position with UNI-T Technology (Max Performance Summer): The Potenza RE050A Pole Position with UNI-T Technology was developed for sports car, sports coupe and sport sedan drivers. The Potenza RE050A Pole Position is designed to provide exceptional dry and wet road traction along with more responsive handling than the Potenza RE050A. Like all summer tires, it is not intended to be driven in near-freezing temperatures, through snow or on ice.
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