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You buy new tires but drive on worn tires. This year we tested both.

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58 Tires, 576 Tests and Real Canadian Conditions

In January 2016, our independent testing team embarked on our most ambitious and comprehensive testing session yet. They tested tires on different Canadian winter driving conditions. They tested tires at five different tread depths. They tested light truck tires, passenger tires and SUV tires—across categories and price points.

Now we’re sharing the results with you so you can choose tires that are going to brake, corner and stick to the road through ice, sleet and snow.

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Nothing Beats a Winter Tire. Except A Five-Star Winter Tire.

braking tires

We’ve always known winter tires perform better in winter compared to other tire types. What we didn’t know was how much better. And it’s not just winter tires compared to 3-season tires (although those numbers are staggering).

We also looked at how five-star winter tires compared to three-star winter tires. The five-star winter tires stopped significantly shorter, and they held corners much better too. When you consider some of the blustery, slippery road conditions Canadians face, wouldn’t you want the tire that stopped shorter and held corners on icy and snow roads?

braking tires

Winter vs. 3-Season
Test Condition Passenger Winter Tires SUV Winter Tires Light Truck Winter Tires
Braking on Ice (30km/h) 8.10m shorter (23.8%) 7.14m shorter (20.9%) 7.49m shorter (21.0%)
Braking on Loose Snow (50km/h) 6.92m shorter (20.3%) 7.00m shorter (21.0%) 5.53m shorter (17.0%)
Cornering on Ice 0.05g better (25.3%) 0.04g better (21.6%) 0.04g better (21.1%)
Cornering on Loose Snow 0.06g better (26.6%) 0.04g better (18.7%) 0.05g better (21.7%)
Passenger Tires
Test Condition Winter 5‑Star vs. 3‑Season Winter 5‑Star vs. Winter 3‑Star
Braking on Ice (30km/h) 11.4m shorter (33.5%) 3.3m shorter (12.7%)
Braking on Loose Snow (50km/h) 7.8m shorter (23.0%) 0.9m shorter (3.4%)
Cornering on Ice 0.08g better (42.1%) 0.03g better (13.4%)
Cornering on Loose Snow 0.12g better (56.0%) 0.06g better (23.2%)
SUV Tires
Test Condition Winter 5‑Star vs. 3‑Season Winter 5‑Star vs. Winter 3‑Star
Braking on Ice (30km/h) 10.7m shorter (31.4%) 3.6m shorter (13.3%)
Braking on Loose Snow (50km/h) 7.5m shorter (22.4%) 0.5m shorter (1.8%)
Cornering on Ice 0.07g better (39.8%) 0.03g better (14.9%)
Cornering on Loose Snow 0.12g better (51.3%) 0.06g better (27.4%)



A Worn Five-Star Outperforms A New 3-Season In Winter Conditions

braking tires

When most of us pull out of the driveway in the morning, we’re driving on tires that aren’t new. So our team set out to test worn tires.

Four different tires were selected to represent the 3-season, the all-weather, the three-star winter and the five-star winter tire category, and each was tested at five different tread depths to determine exactly how tire wear impacts safety.

Worn winter tires vs New 3-Season
Test Condition New 3‑Season 5‑star winter (50% worn) 3‑star winter (50% worn)
Braking on Ice (30km/h) 32.3m 17.6% shorter 14.2% shorter
Braking on Loose Snow (50km/h) 30.8m 0.6% longer 11.0% longer
Cornering on Ice 0.20g 20.0% better 5.0% better
Cornering on Loose Snow 0.23g 21.7% better No difference
Test Condition New 3‑Season 5‑star winter (50% worn) 3‑star winter (50% worn)
Braking on Ice (30km/h) 32.3m 8.0% shorter 0.6% longer
Braking on Loose Snow (50km/h) 30.8m 2.0% longer 25.0% longer
Cornering on Ice 0.20g 5.0% better 10.0% better
Cornering on Loose Snow 0.23g 4.3% better 17.4% worse



All-Weather Tires Are Great For Mild Winter Conditions

braking tires

All-weather tires are ideal for urban drivers in areas that only experience mild winter conditions, such as light snow and slush, but when it comes to heavy, hard-packed snow and ice, dedicated winters perform better. All-weather tires continued to outperform 3-season in winter.

If you drive in heavy winter conditions a dedicated winter tire is your best option but if you don’t drive in those conditions or if your winters are fairly mild, an all-weather may be a great choice.

braking tires

Test Condition All-weather vs 3-season All-weather vs Winter
Braking on Ice (30km/h) 7.1% shorter 22.5% longer
Braking on Loose Snow (50km/h) 12.7% shorter 9.5% longer
Cornering on Ice 7.9% better 13.9% worse
Cornering on Loose Snow 5.5% better 16.7% worse

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