Our Top 5 Best winter tires for SUV

Best winter tires for SUV
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What are the Best winter tires for SUV? That is the question you must ask if you have an SUV and you need some specific tires for your car. First of all, I don’t recommend you to use All Season Tires, especially if you live in the northern zones where it snows in the winter. Those tires are suitable only for dry roads and will get you in trouble on wet and snowy roads. Even the Tire Rack says exactly this: “winter tires provide up to 21 percent more traction than all-season tires in similar circumstances”.

Winter tires are superior to all-season because they are made especially for snow and low temperatures. The rubber provides a better grip on extremely low temperatures because it is softer compared to regular or even all-season tires. Also, they have special treads that accumulate snow and make a thin layer of snow all around the tire, providing a better grip in deep snow. But not all winter tires are good. Some are decent, some are crap and definitely, you want the Best Winter Tires for SUV, not necessarily the most expensive ones.

Braking capability is another important aspect of tires, either winter ones or all-season. Softer rubber makes the tires brake faster thus reducing the braking distance. These tires will help you keep the car on the road, especially on icy roads.

You will find on the market studded tires, but these tires are not legal on all roads because they have metal spikes. These tires are perfect on ice, where they rule, but on the normal road those spikes will make a lot of noise, plus, on dry roads, the spikes will fall off.

How many years can I use Winter tires?

The best winter tires for SUV are designed to be used when the outside temperature drops below 5 degrees (Celsius). The higher the temperature, the faster your tires will wear out. Also, the more you will drive on dry roads, the faster your tires will wear out.

Usually, new tires are designed to last around 30K miles (plus or less), depending on the road, how you drive, weather conditions, tire manufacturer, etc. So, you have to know about several aspects. First: how many miles or km are you making in the winter. Second, how are the winters in your area: Mostly snowy, mostly dry, a combination of those two, etc.

Winter SUV Tires

Even you make few miles on a winter (let’s say, less than 5K, as I do) you will have to change the tires every 4 or 5 years, even if they still look good and the tread is above 6/32 inches. That’s because in time the rubber hardens, your tires will lose their properties, and you won’t be safe anymore.

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Winter Tires vs Tire Chains

Tire Chains Pros:

  • They are cheap (usually). A decent set cost around $100.
  • Very good on ice and snow
  • You can put them only on you get stuck and take them off once you get free.
  • Usually, you can reuse them

Tire Chains Cons:

  • Quite hard to install
  • If you keep them on dry roads it will destroy your tires, wheels and other car parts, like sensors.
  • Your speed is limited to 30Mph.
  • On difficult roads, you may end up destroying your chains, even at first use.

Winter Tires Pros:

  • Are build specifically for winter.
  • Provide better traction, safer driving, superior corner-turning or stopping capability.
  • Last longer, compared with summer or all-season tires.
  • Provide a comfortable quiet drive.

Winter Tires Cons:

  • Wears faster on higher speeds.
  • Will last a shorter period compared with Summer Tires.
  • The extra cost (you will need two sets of tires).
  • Storage.
  • Additional costs (mounting, etc).

 Buying Tips

Choosing the perfect winter tires could be quite hard, but you can follow the next few tips to make a better decision.

Know your Area

It is very important to know what type of winter you have in your area. Maybe it rains in November and the snow melts in April? It snows from time to time or daily? How often the temperature drops below 20 degrees (Celsius)? The roads are constantly covered in ice or snow?

If you get constant negative temperatures and lots of snow and ice on the roads, then your safer bet is with Winter Snow Tires. They are designed specifically for this type of weather.

All-season Tires, are good only on dry roads; and mostly in Autumn and Spring when the temperatures are decent but just a few degrees above or below freezing.

Performance Winter Tires are perfect for dry roads but they will handle snow decently.

Know your car

Knowing your car is a crucial aspect of winter. When you know your car, you will know its limits and thus yours. This way you won’t do reckless things in the winter. Always keep in mind, icy or snowy roads are completely different than summer dry roads.

Your grip, handling, braking, cornering, will be different than what you know. If you have an automatic transmission, then things get a little more complicated. If you don’t know what type of automatic transmission you have on your car, we made a list of all automatic transmissions available on the market here.

Installation

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Don’t buy one, or two tires. Always buy 4. If your car has 6 wheels then buy 6 tires, and so on. Having the same tire type on all wheels means that your car will be in balance and will perform as you would expect.

Set a budget for tires and extras, like mounting, new wheels or balance. These will cost extra but are required.

Most people buy a second set of wheels. This saves time, money, etc. It is easier to change the wheels than unmounting all four summer tires and remounting the Winter tires on the same wheels, and then do the exact opposite a few months later; and so on.

SUV Winter Tires

If your car has pressure monitoring sensors, you will have to buy a new set, if you choose to buy a second set of wheels.

Best Winter Tires for SUV, Trucks and Crossovers

Some crossovers and small SUVs (like Ford EcoSport) use regular tires because these cars are not that big compared with a regular sedan. Larger SUVs, like Ford EDGE, VW Touareg, and so on use specific SUV Tires. Most of the time you will find these tires named 4×4 or SUV Tires. These tires are quite similar to regular ones but are bigger; way bigger.

When buying winter tires, or regular ones you need to take into consideration several aspects like traction, braking on wet or dry roads, handling, hydroplane, tread life, noise, and cornering capability.

Different tests, on all-season tires, showed some simple results: You could use All-season Tires, even in the winter. But the second you hit icy or snowy roads, you need proper winter ones. Even if you could use all-season tires, all expert recommends using proper Winter Tires for SUVs.

Here is our top 5 Best Winter Tires for SUVs

1. Michelin Latitude X-Ice SUV Winter Tires

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When you talk about performance tires, Michelin is the word everyone uses. These guys are a force in this business and their Latitude X-ice is the best winter tire for SUVs. You can’t get this tire on a regular sedan car, it can be ordered only for a Truck or large SUV.

As a Michelin Tire, you can be sure they have tested this in all possible conditions, to improve the stability and handling of your SUV. Also, is one of the fewest tires that has a 40K mile warranty. This and the Michelin brand makes the Latitude X-ice the best winter tires for SUVs.

On the downside, this tire cost quite a lot compared with its competition.

2. Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 SUV Winter Tires

Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 SUV Winter Tires
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Nokian made Hakkapeliitta R2 especially for SUVs (middle and large ones). If you have a smaller SUV or a crossover (like Ford EcoSport or even Kuga) with wheels up to 17inches then Hakkapeliitta R2 is not for you. You may choose Nokian WR A4, which is an extremely good winter tire.

Most people find these Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 to be some of the best tires available for SUVs, especially for what you pay for. Keep in mind that Michelin Latitude X-ice are almost double and they provide 5-10% more grip in the same situations.

On my SUV (Ford Kuga MK2.5) I have exactly these tires, and they are perfect they have such a good price/performance ration that I consider them to be one of the Best Winter Tires for SUV. You can read more about these SUV Tires here.

3. Bridgestone Blizzak SUV Winter Tires

Bridgestone Blizzak Winter Tires
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Bridgestone is another premium brand, that you can trust when it comes to SUV winter tires. Their Blizzak series is very good. You will have no problems on icy or snowy roads with these tires.

Keep in mind that these tires are not cheap, but if you take into consideration several aspects like the optimized construction, multi-cellular compounds, and complex tread patterns, then it all makes sense and this is why we choose them to be in top 3 Best Winter Tires for SUV.

These tires are very appreciated in Europe, where winters come with a lot of snow and icy roads.

4. General AltiMAX SUV Winter Tires

General Altimax Arctic
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General AltiMAX is one of the Best winter tires for SUV  on the budget zone, available on the market since not everyone has $200+ to spend on a singe winter tire. These tires are considered the best solution in the budget zone.

The general running noise is quite low and they have a non-directional tread pattern. General AltiMAX SUV Winter Tires are very good on dry roads and will do pretty good on icy and snowy ones. A lot of people choose these because of their excellent performance/price ratio. You can read more about these Winter SUV Tires here.

5.   Dunlop SP Winter Sport 5 SUV Tires

Dunlop SP Winter Sport 5 SUV Tires
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When it comes to choosing Dunlop, you can’t go wrong.  Dunlop SP Winter Sport 5 is an improvement of Dunlop SP Winter Sport 4, another one of the Best Winter Tires for SUV. It keeps its performance up to 12 degrees (Celsius), compared with up to 7 degrees for other SUV Winter Tires.  

It has an excellent grip in cold weather conditions and no problems in snowy or icy roads and this makes it one of the Best SUV Winter Tires you can buy. You can read a complete review here.

Wet grip, aquaplane protection, ride comfort & quietness are all right up there. The Dunlops are definitely in a class above its current competition. It went to 5th on our Top, but by a small margin.

If you don’t need or don’t want to buy winter tires for your SUV, and instead prefer to go with some all-season tires check out our top 5 best tires for SUV all seasons

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