Buying winter tires was something that I was dreading… Almost as much as the weather that they are designed for. I went back and forth between buying all-seasons or dedicated snows, which brand performed the best under the expected conditions, their performance rating and ice versus snow traction.
After consulting several different shops, friends and OEMs I settled on Bridgestone Blizzak WS60 — They are stud-less ice and snow tires. I decided to stay away from the performance snow tires due to their mixed reviews.
As somebody who has lived in New England his entire life and had only driven all-season tires. The handling characteristics of the snow tires forced me to change my driving habits in a major way. I had them installed in November just when the summer tires had just started to become useless due to the plummeting temperatures. The temperature was still not cold enough for the very soft snow tire compound and living with them for the first few weeks was an adventure. The car change was dramatic — it was scary on the highway. Turning the wheel slightly gave me more response than I was expecting. Once the temperature dropped into the 20s the handling changed again and for the better.
Once the snow started to fall I didn’t regret my buying decision for one minute. It’s been a very harsh winter and there is much snow and ice on the ground. The only standout limiting factor on the car is it’s ground clearance. I’ve yet to get stranded and as long as I let the ABS rattle the car apart I haven’t had any issues.