Performance Winter Tires: What to Know
A cold front is in the forecast, with no telling when it’ll end. Do you need to stow away your sports car? Whether it’s your daily driver or weekend warrior, high-performance winter tires can make a world of difference no matter what drive-type your vehicle is.
(Note: you may refer to them as "snow tires," but generally we prefer "winter tires" as they are designed to perform in all the road conditions and freezing temps associated with a harsh winter.)
For many people, the first snow of the year means garaging the convertible or coupe. But high-performance winter tires are designed specifically to be able to handle the power of performance vehicles in freezing temperatures, whereas summer and performance tires are not only compromised but can be unsafe to drive on.
For those of us whose daily driver is a car like a Mustang, Camaro or Challenger, winter tires can minimize the weather woes and worries on your commute while maximizing grip and braking performance. They’re ideal for drivers who don’t have a second vehicle to drive when it’s ugly out.
And for those with AWD performance vehicles, especially premium luxury import sedans or rally-inspired rides like the Subaru WRX, you can keep your foot on the accelerator with more confidence than ever when you put dedicated performance winter tires on your ride.
Advantages of performance winter/snow tires
The first distinct advantage these specialized tires offer is that they effectively negate the need to purchase a separate set of wheels for the winter. Winter tire changeovers are a snap at our locations, many of which offer winter and summer tire storage.* (However, we also have recommendations for winter wheels if you want to keep the finish of your OE or other special aftermarket wheels out of the cold and free of winter corrosives such as road salt.)
While the upfront cost of performance winter tires might stop a lot of people in their tracks, the benefit of having grip, acceleration and braking power all designed specifically to support the kind of performance that sports car drivers demand – no matter the season – overwhelmingly supports investing in performance winter tires.
Some of the more implicit benefits of equipping your sports car with a set of performance winter tires include:
- Extending the life of both your winter tires and any high-performance summer or all-season tires you’d normally be driving when the seasons change.
- Potential increases in vehicle resale value, especially when bundled with dedicated winter wheels that will protect the finish on your stock or aftermarket wheels.
- The peace of mind that you have the right tire on the road, no matter what the weather throws in front of you.
How do performance winter tires stack up with high and ultra-high performance all-season tires?
All-season tires of any variety are going to perform (and ride) better in warm and dry environments. While many of these come with "mud + snow" denotations on their sidewall, they’re generally only capable in light snow flurries and temperatures above or around freezing.
On the other hand, performance winter tires distinguish themselves when there’s snow on the ground. They are specifically designed for daily operation in snow, ice, slush and freezing rain – something that high-performance all-season tires simply are not.
Because the rubber compounds and tread designs of high-performance winter tires are designed to be more flexible in cold temperatures, you’ll still have more grip when you run dedicated winter tires than you would on even the best all-season tires. Additional tire sipes engineered specifically to maximize grip in icy situations give performance winter tires even more of an edge when rain turns to snow.
Testing and consumer testimonies consistently show that even the worst dedicated performance winter tires are better than the best all-season tires in winter conditions.
The best way to look at it? If you’re caught in a surprise storm or live in a part of the country that has unpredictable weather, high-performance all-season tires should be able to get you where you need to go if used with caution. But if nasty winter weather is a part of your commute for all or even part of the late fall, winter and early spring seasons, high-performance winter tires are your ticket to getting you and your pride and joy back home safely on a daily basis.
Where to buy performance winter/snow tires
Visit one of our locations or order online to find the perfect performance winter tires for your machine! For more info, check out these other topics on snow tires and winter driving:
- Winter Tire FAQs
- Winter Tire Changeover and Installation
- Tires with the Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake Symbol
- Tires Below 45 Degrees
- Studded Winter Tires vs. Tire Chains
- All-Terrain and Mud Tires in Snow
- All-Season vs. Summer vs. Winter Tires
*Winter tire storage availability and cost varies by location.
Stop by your local America's Tire and we'll get you taken care of!