Snow-rated all-terrain tires vs. winter tires

Yaj Yak

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https://www.tirebuyer.com/education/all-terrain-vs-winter-tires



A movement is afoot in the all-terrain tire category.

Snow-rated all-terrain tires are becoming the new norm. These tires are visually distinguished with the three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) symbol, denoting the ability for “severe snow service,” on the sidewall:



Just a short while ago, the severe snow service rating was a feature that separated the excellent in the all-terrain class from the average and subpar. Now even some “budget” all-terrain tires qualify for the severe snow performance rating.

For decades, all-terrain tires have been used by northern-climate drivers through four seasons. The fact that manufacturers are more commonly putting all-terrain tires through snow testing and performance validation before bringing them to market is a positive development. It's recognition on the part of manufacturers of how all-terrain tires are often used, and ultimately making certain that all-terrain tires are “snow-worthy” makes American roads safer in the winter.

However (you knew that was coming, right?), seasoned and observant winter drivers might have already noted that we're talking only about snow performance here. That's because qualification for the three-peak mountain snowflake symbol involves longitudinal (straight line) traction testing on packed snow, specifically.

As a winter driver, how often are you faced with nicely packed snowy road conditions?

It's the exception, not the rule for us Michiganders. Here in the Great Lakes State we get our fair share of picturesque lake effect snow, but also ice, rain, slippery frosted pavement, wet snow, and frequently, what could be referred to as “winter slop.” A blend of all of the above, plus a fresh couple of inches to conceal what's actually occurring at road level. You know, just to keep you on your toes and white-knuckled…

And it's in these more common, variable winter conditions that the performance merits and singular purpose of true winter tires comes to the fore. While certain all-terrain tires have the traction characteristics to achieve a reasonably high level of straight-line snow traction, they remain a compromise as compared to true winter tires in all other driving conditions.

The reason has to do with engineering and design purpose. All-terrain tires have to work on-road and off-road, in wet and dry road conditions, when it's 100° F and 20° F. They also typically possess a high level of puncture resistance to facilitate off-road adventure, which requires certain durability characteristics – which aren’t necessarily complementary to wintertime traction.

Winter tires, on the other hand, are designed strictly to manage winter conditions. Near or below freezing, ice, snow, mixed conditions, cold wet roads, and cold dry roads. As such, the design and construction of a winter tire is a direct reflection of the specific intended use.

Have a look at this side-by-side comparison of a snow-rated all-terrain tire (left) vs the Cooper Weather-Master WSC winter tire (right). Spot any differences?



The Weather-Master WSC is a studdable winter tire. Those pen-tip sized holes can be plugged with studs to contribute next-level traction, especially in icy conditions. (Studs are not legal in all states.)
While the all-terrain tire features some siping, sipes are quite literally everywhere on the Weather-Master WSC, even down the central rib of the tire. These grooves open up and close as the tire rolls, which helps to keep the tire in constant contact with the road surface. Sipes significantly improve traction in wet, slushy, and snowy road conditions.
Cooper's patented "Snow Groove" directional design increases traction by encouraging snow-on-snow grip. Translation: Ever made a snowball? If so, you know that snow sticks to snow. The Weather-Master WSC’s tread is designed to become packed with snow, to use that natural traction advantage.

But arguably the most important design distinction between snow-rated all-terrain tires and true winter tires is something you can’t actually see at all: The tire tread compounds are fundamentally different.

The reason, once again, is design purpose and intended use. Winter tire compounds are designed specifically to function in temperatures near or below freezing. In these temperatures the tire compound remains pliable, which is critical to proper interaction with the road surface. By contrast, dedicated summer tires drastically harden in freezing temperatures, which prohibits road surface interaction. Snow-rated all-terrain tires certainly do a better job than summer tires of remaining pliable in cold temperatures, but the pliability of winter tires in freezing temperatures is on another level.

In conclusion, snow-rated all-terrain tires are definitely a positive step, but drivers shouldn’t confuse these tires with true winter tires. The adage “choose the right tool for the job” still applies here. To achieve uncompromised winter traction in all varieties of wintertime road conditions, a full-fledged winter tire remains a necessity.

Stay tuned for future updates. We'll be putting a set of Cooper Weather-Master WSC tires on our Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk, and plotting to defeat winter.
 

EmersonHart13

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I still feel good about my Duratracs. Yeah they aren't perfect but they get the job done down here on the southside where we get more bullets than inches of snow.
 
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Yaj Yak

Yaj Yak

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right, it really seems like 3 peak rated all terrains are going to be a "GOOD NUFF" situation for most users.

i just didn't know the real differences and that's why i looked, and then was like fuck it, posted the article.
 

EmersonHart13

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There has to be compromises. I mean one day they might come up with some crazy science that allows adaptable rubber but by then [MENTION=396]Mike K[/MENTION] teslas will be driving us around in hover cars and it won't matter.
 

DEEZUZ

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What pussy needs snow terrains let alone 4x4
 
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Yaj Yak

Yaj Yak

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definitely no one in indiana, where it never fucking snows.
 
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Yaj Yak

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To evaluate snow traction, we measure the distance it takes for our Chevrolet Silverado, in two-wheel-drive mode, to accelerate from 5 to 20 mph on packed snow. Tires that have better snow traction need to travel less distance to reach 20 mph. We use GPS instrumentation to record the distance.

No surprise, if you need to drive in severe snow conditions, a dedicated winter/snow tire offers the best snow traction. Those tires needed an average of 80 feet to reach 20 mph.

But the all-terrain and all-weather tires with the mountain/snowflake symbol we tested were not quite as good. On average, they took 98.2 feet to reach 20 mph, shorter than the average distance for all-terrain and all-season tires that without the mountain/snowflake symbol.
https://www.consumerreports.org/winter-snow-tires/choosing-best-winter-snow-truck-tires/

CR's take: If you frequently drive in wintry conditions, then go with dedicated winter/snow tires. While the all-terrain and all-weather tires with the mountain/snowflake symbol that we tested do offer improved snow traction over the all-terrain and all-season tires that lack the symbol, don't confuse them for dedicated winter/snow tires.
 
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Yaj Yak

Yaj Yak

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There has to be compromises. I mean one day they might come up with some crazy science that allows adaptable rubber but by then [MENTION=396]Mike K[/MENTION] teslas will be driving us around in hover cars and it won't matter.
i agree entirely.
 
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Yaj Yak

Yaj Yak

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reason this all came up was because i was looking at these:




55k mile tread wear warranty with 3 peak symbol.
 

EmersonHart13

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I honestly didn't expect allterrains and all seasons to be so close in that result.
 
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Yaj Yak

Yaj Yak

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nor did i

i really wish they said what tires they used for that part
 

EmersonHart13

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Also I'd love to see a Mud Terrain.... Or more specifically the ones used on Jeep Rubicons added to the mix.....
 
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Yaj Yak

Yaj Yak

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also what was interesting is m+s means dick regarding a tire's performance and just regards it's appearance :rofl:

fucking marketing term :bowrofl:
 
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Yaj Yak

Yaj Yak

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i think that may be the only group that doesn't exist on TCG.
 

EmersonHart13

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I don't miss them.

I think the volt is getting snow tires this year. Eco Tires are the worst AS tires in the snow. God they were awful last year and then were fairly new.

If they sold Duratracs in the right size, I'd be :nutz:
 
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Yaj Yak

Yaj Yak

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yeah wife's awd crv came with eco tires and it was straight terrifying first snow :rofl:

eco tires are basically skateboard wheels im pretty sure.
 

EmersonHart13

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Agreed, or left over summer tires.... lol
 
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Yaj Yak

Yaj Yak

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wow, tirerack actually has this on a tire listing i just read:

DescriptionSizesSpecsWarranty
Lea en español
The Geolandar A/T G015 is Yokohama's On-/Off-Road All-Terrain tire developed for drivers of light trucks and SUVs looking for a tough and durable tire capable of withstanding off-road duty while providing long treadlife and year-round traction, even in snow.

A chip- and tear-resistant Triple Polymer tread compound is molded into an aggressive, symmetric tread design to allow for easy cross-rotation and improved wear characteristics. Focus on the tread block pitch variation enhances comfort via reduced noise levels. The optimized tread pattern features deep circumferential grooves for water evacuation and hydroplaning resistance, with 3D sipes and lug grooves specifically shaped to increase the number of biting edges for all-season traction in light snow.

The tire's internal construction consists of two high-tensile steel belts on top of a two-ply polyester cord casing and a spirally-wrapped nylon reinforcement to blend stability with ride comfort.

Note: Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015 tires meet the industry's severe snow service requirements and are branded with the three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) symbol.

Note: While non-winter tires featuring the three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) symbol provide additional longitudinal snow traction beyond what all-season (M+S) tires not bearing the symbol can deliver, they do not match the capability of a true winter tire in all adverse weather conditions.
https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Yokohama&tireModel=Geolandar+A/T+G015&sidewall=Blackwall&partnum=875SR8G015&AID=13697786&PID=7913187&SID=431&cjevent=3359115cb46011e983ae00500a240613
 

ilikemtb999

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:likes:



I’d get a set of snow tires for the hoe if I found them cheap enough. Probably just end up with new ko2’s or general at2’s
 

Gav'sPurpleZ

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+1 for Toyo open country AT IIs
truck is a beast in the winter and rides quiet in the summer. Great wet / rain traction.

+1 for toyo celsius tires for SUVs and/or cars
 

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