Why Studded Winter Tires Aren't Always The Best

Screenshot: Tyre Reviews (YouTube)

It’s still autumn, but that just means it’s time to start your winter car prep now. To avoid getting caught with the wrong tires in the first snowstorm of the season, here’s your annual reminder to think about investing in a set of winter tires. But what kind of winter tires? Maybe this will help.

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For an in-depth guide to help you with your shopping, click here. If you need further proof that winter tires are just better in the snow that summer tires, all-seasons and perhaps even studded tires, check out Tyre Reviews’ latest video.

This time, host Jonathan Benson tries out six different types of tires from the same manufacturer (Nokian) at a track for dry, wet, snow and ice testing, as well as investigates the handling, braking a grip for each tire. The tires tested are the summer tires, American all-seasons, European all-seasons/all-weathers, winter tires, extreme winter tires and studded winter tires.

Predictably, the extreme winter tires excelled at the snow handling—surprisingly, even better than the studded tires. It’s because, as Benson points out, the studded tires don’t like to turn as much, especially when you’re on the brakes.

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At the same time, in straight-line snow and ice braking, it does seem like the studded winters are most effective.

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So, if you live in a place that gets very snowy, maybe stop and consider this before automatically reaching for the studded tires. What kind of driving are you doing? What are the conditions generally like? The braking distance between the extreme winters and the studded tires don’t appear to be terrible huge, judging from the data.

To find out how these tires fare in the (not freezing) wet and (not freezing) dry, check out the video. And you can find a more in-depth breakdown here.

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About the author

Kristen Lee

Writer at Jalopnik and consumer of many noodles.