Do You Need Winter Tires If It Doesn’t Snow?

Are Snow Tires Worth It? Do Winter Tires Help When It’s Cold & Dry?
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It’s well known that winter tires will improve acceleration, braking, and handling in snowy and icy conditions, but if temperatures drop below freezing, will winter tires stop better? Summer tires typically have a glass transition temperature around 40-45 degrees F, and below this temperature the tires become hard and somewhat brittle. Is this enough of a difference to run winter tires, even if the road is dry? In this video we test to find out!

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Comments

Jeff Hurckes says:

You’re using the wrong winter tire. Michelin X-ices suck.

Kenny Wood says:

Wow that digital speedo is really laggy

Mario Shenron says:

Yeah, you need to repeat this test.

HeroXGaming says:

When im 16 this is my next science project

Pedro Ibañez says:

Mayte the ABS crew with the results?

Ian Petrie says:

The answer is yes yes yes! I live in Scotland where it is cold and wet all year around. I swear by winter tyres simply because of the way they grip in the wet, even in summer. I’ve found that they’re usually pretty happy until about 20-25C when they start squealing and smell funny. Given that in Scotland that is for about five days a year, they’re great all year around! In fact, in great Britain they’re fine if you live north of Manchester. I also get twice the mileage out of them…

orcinuses says:

I always wondered, that glass transition temperature is for cold tyres…
But if you make a long trip so the tyres warm up… does it have any effect at all?

Ryan Boyd says:

Wait a second… This wasn’t a comparison between winter and summer tires. This was a comparison between winter tires, and expensive high-performance racing tires (yes I understand these aren’t actual racing slicks – before the internet soils itself). It would have been more interesting to see a comparison between average joe summer tires, and winter tires. Still, the science behind the glass transition point was quite interesting. In Canada, most of us seem to use winter tires during the winter. Many dealerships offer options for storing your tires during off seasons too. Believe it or not we actually have hot summers. Not many Americans are aware of that. They just assume we all live in igloos haha.

David says:

20mm makes a big difference when it comes to tire size. Multiply that by 4.

Fro2 says:

Great video, I live in SC Upstate and it gets cold but rarely snows. I ride summers year round and I have always wondered this.

Ronald de Rooij says:

And everybody in my country is buying winter tires because it snows 1 day a year. Everybody says that they are better at dry roads and in the wet in winter too. Nope. Autoweek has tested this too and came to the conclusion that winter tires ONLY make a difference in snow and a bit on icy snowy roads. If the roads are clean in your country you can use summer tires far better all year round.

James Zawacki says:

Don’t know about all of that, but since I had my snow tires installed, my MPG has dropped by 3-4MPG for gas tank.

Murkle Q. says:

But why? If they’re softer, shouldn’t it be able to grip the road better?

No ID says:

Jason do one on studded vs non-studded winter tires.

Dbn Poldermans says:

Been saying this for years. It would have been nice to see the differences in percentages; like wintertyres need 28% more braking -distance. Thanks you for this vid, I can finally show everyone.

John O RA says:

Why are you dealing with the shift stick?? Hit clutch and brake and thats it, isnt it?

fredy gump says:

with my new snow tires, I’m noticing the TCS sensing wheel spin under moderate acceleration, when the wheels aren’t spinning. I think the sipes are flexing a lot? That’s probably why stopping distance is longer. Tirerack has test videos on ice, and there winter tires are considerably better.

Seth Tezyk says:

I’m wondering if the “performance” winter tires like the Michelin Pilot Alpins would perform differently. When I lived in New England I always ran those during the winter, because I did a lot of highway driving on cleared roads and they worked wonders. Now that I live in Texas I know my Pilot Super Sports even in the summer needs to heat up to perform well and when it drops to 40 degrees F or below they have very little grip. I’m surprised by the results of your braking test, but I think a handling test would be worth while as well.

David Cross says:

The winter tires were new wasnt they? They had not been broken in. Goodyear says five hundred miles with a list of conditions to be met to hopefully ensure the proper seating of internal components. Therefore the test is somewhat invalidated due to the winter tires not being broken in imho.

Eugenio Picado says:

To be fair at comparing to bridgestone re-71, shouldn’t you also use a high performance winter tire such as a nokian r2?

DH Johnson says:

Hop out quick and use a laser thermometer and check how hot the tires are actually getting during driving/testing situations ?

Riley Smith says:

NEVER TEST SUMMER TIRES IN THE WINTER BELOW 45 DEGREES

zacatetas says:

Only in snow do they grab better. Blizzacks handle like eraser heads, In my opinion no. But they are hilariously better in snow.

ilyasovich says:

Next test, All season tires

Oblithian says:

I was told that on dry roads (not frosted or icy) winter tires are always worse, nice to see your testing had the same results. That said, I think you should have used all-seasons as the test.

klimeji says:

So, your slightly worn high performance semi-slicks road was on dry better then fresh new regular winter tires – what a surprise! This test shows only that your particular summer tires in temperatures about zero are in better shape then your new winter tires. You need good tires all the time and good driver skills and common sense on top of that.

Martin Huang says:

So in winter, what if you have two summer tires on front or rear while two winter tires on the rest?

Calvin Lim says:

Engineering Explained – did you break in the winter tires yet before the test? The mold release might not have worn off yet either.

Aldo López says:

Very curious to see other aspects of this like handling in the snow, acceleration etc.

*Thè Venömøüs Åküma-Sâmä* says:

Wonder why tire temperature and pressure were not shown in the test. Also, would have been nice to see lateral grip testing as that’s one of the I think would be most relevant. Straight line stopping distance is nice to know but, in the real world when you lose traction, the car slides in several directions. Good test either way, always glad to see your content!

raiden derp says:

i wonder how my wrx’s “high performance” sottozero 3’s would do… too bad it would cost me 400$ to find out lol.

error0x0000034 says:

I’ve been following this channel for a while and loved that video. Here in Vienna we don’t have snow that often and streets are dry most of the time. As I’m not using the car very often I didn’t put winter tires on this year.

I didn’t think the stopping distances were that much longer. I actually feel quite a bit safer now using summer tyres tbh. Those meters extra could be very important on an accident..

Thanks for that test. I appreciate your work.

蒋昱 says:

I’d like to say. You better do this test during the summer time. Because I think summer tire and winter tire does have different residence.

SolarPL says:

Are both of your sets the same class of tire? Comparing an UHP tire with some winter tire (probably optimized for snow, not dry) is an misleading generalization. I run (stock) Continental SportContact 6 (235/35R19 Y) and Michelin Alpine PA4 (235/40 R18 W) on my FK2 Type R. Both performance oriented, top notch tires (but not semislicks).

You can feel the performance drop starting at around 15 deg C, especially on wet tarmac. At +5 deg, the traction on wet becomes miserable and even on a dry road I had little confidence to push the car. After switching to winter tires (which are one of the very best performance winter tires you can get,from what I know) the difference in wet traction and overall confidence is huge. Granted, I didn’t do braking distance tests or any direct dry flat out driving comparison (most of the time my local roads are a bit slippery in winter), but I’m sure that at 5 degrees or lower my winter tires would perform better. Well, maybe after some proper heat-up the summer ones would be better, but it’s kinda hard to heat up rear tires in an FWD car and keep the temperatures high during normal driving. Of course this may be partially down to the Continental tire, which isn’t that great on wet (only 6 mm thread when new) compared to some other UHP tires.

The car is relatively light, has over 320 hp and 400+ nm (FWD with an LSD), big brakes and an liftoff oversteer characteristic. So it’s easy to feel that tires do not do their job properly.

I think the main takeaway should be that it depends on tires, car and exact road conditions (a bit of water may make a difference, for example). If I had a “normal” car I’d probably stick with Michelin’s CrossClimate tires for all year driving.

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