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Winter travel prep can mean new snow tires, but which ones are best for you?

(Update: Adding video and more Macy comments)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A new winter season means its time to put on your snow tires or buy new ones, but with so many options, which type are best for you?

At Gills Point S Tire and Auto in Bend, you'll find all-season tires, studded tires, winter tires and even hybrid tires.

Paul Macy, the service manager at Point S in Bend, told NewsChannel 21 on Thursday the best option is a studded tire.

"Nothing gives you traction on ice like a studded tire," Macy said. "Not even the best winter tire with no studs.”

Macy said an all-season tire is great for the winter, but to truly give yourself a chance on icy roads, you'll need a hybrid tire at least.

“An all-season tire is not an all-season tire here,” Macy told NewsChannel 21. "An all-season tire is for places like Florida or California."

Macy told NewsChannel 21 if you're driving up to Mt. Bachelor often during this winter you'll want a studded tire. But, if you're more of a casual driver he says you'll be fine with a dedicated winter tire.

If you decide not to go with a studded or winter tire, Macy said you can go with a hybrid tire that you will not have to take on and off during the winter.

 “In the last few years, advancements have been made in technology where you can get a tire that’s a good winter tire that stays on the car all year round," Macy said.  

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Jordan Williams

Jordan Williams is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jordan here.

Comments

31 Comments

  1. The best tires for your car are the ones that can get you safely back to California. Also Teslas should be outlawed for winter driving. I’ve seen more of those POS cars driving around in the snow like morons the last few days then I’ve seen here in years.

    1. Yeah. It is now $75 to do a swap that takes them, what, 30 minutes? A real cash cow. I am very disappointed in this article. I know the reporter does not control what his subjects say, but it is well known the damage that studded tires do to our roads. Not at least having a contrary opinion is disappointing. I bought new all-season tires last Spring that are amazing, giving me a 10% increase in mpg. Reviews are all over the map regarding snow traction. Some say they are terrible, some say they are pretty good. I headed out two days ago in my neighborhood, accelerating and stopping quickly and they were great. I have a small AWD SUV, so, since I am a casual driver (don’t drive up the mountain, am retired), I think I will save the $150 in switching over costs this Winter. I will probably end up in a ditch next month haha

      1. I’ll yank you out. Leave no man behind! Actually I don’t do much roadside rescue anymore. People used to be thankful when you stopped to help. Now they are afraid of strangers and afraid you will damage their car. And admittedly it’s getting harder to find places to wrap a chain on newer cars. In the older cars it was pretty easy to lose control on ice. Success was directly proportional to skill. Modern AWD cars do the skill for you, which means when you end up in a ditch you were probably being an idiot regardless of what tires you were running. I know my wife’s new crossover with summer tires grossly outperforms our old sedan with traction tires. Electronic traction and stability control for the win. And I think Subaru has cornered the market on that tech.

        1. I had a modern Trailblazer with brand-new studless snow tires. Coming down a gradual grade near Chiloquin at about 35 mph (I knew conditions were sketchy) I started to do the 360 degree dance, spinning completely around very slowly. I did everything right; I know how to drive in the Winter. Luckily, by the time I hit a car headon, we were both going about 10 mph, so nobody was hurt. My car was totaled. The trooper was nice to me and did not give me a ticket, because it was black ice and he felt sorry for me. He said there is nothing that I could have done to prevent the wreck, except to have on studs. Every car behind me for about half a mile was also in the ditch. Since, I was the first spin-out the cop called it in and a cinder truck was there within 15 minutes spreading cinders all over the road and my car.

    2. Two things here:
      1. If you leave your snow tires on in the hot summer season it will be ruined in a few months.
      2. You can get an extra set of rims and change your own tires unless you are too incompetent to change a tire yourself.

      1. Yeah, I had a local tire dealer tell me that the tires would not wear out fast in the Summer, so I drove to L.A. in 80-degree weather. Doh! I wore off 2/32″ in 1800 miles of driving, which is what, nearly 25% of an $800 set of tires.

        1. If you drove your studless tires to LA and back thay were no longer winter rated. The ruber coumpound is killed off by heat and they are only really good for two seasons or so That’s why you see some may for sale on Craigslist with plenty of tread left

    3. The studded tire debate is long been laid to rest by a large number of laboratory and real world tests, both here and in Europe. The conclusions are largely consistent. Studded tires outperform winter traction tires in a very narrow range of winter driving conditions, primarily freezing rain. Specifically, studded tires are only shown to be superior on warm, wet, clear ice. Winter traction tires perform better on all other winter driving conditions including loose snow, packed snow, slush and hard, dry ice… which describes exactly the winter driving conditions encountered in central Oregon. Studded tires are good for tire salesmen. Unless a person is driving the gorge where freezing rain is likely, winter traction tires are superior.

      1. I have driven over the mountain passes very frequently. I will not go without quality studded tires. I just purchased a new set of Nokian Hakkapeltta. The grip on the road is unbelievable.

        1. I think Nokian makes a hybrid studded tire with a two layer rubber compound that delivers the grip of soft rubber AND studs. The trade off is they are only good for one season before the soft rubber wears off, leaving you with an ordinary studded tire. But for that one season you can be superman up the passes.

    4. Only a moron would do it that way. Snow tires should be on their own wheels. Skip the lines and change them at home. Of course not everyone knows what a jack is. Change over will cost you $150-$200 per year with change overs in November and April. Wheels pay for themselves in the long run. Spent $410 for mine at Discount tire. Nice custom wheels. In two years they will have save me around $400 and then the savings add up every year after.

  2. Washington state did a study of studded tires in 2022: https://www.wsdot.wa.gov/research/reports/fullreports/551.1.pdf the conclusions are on page 50, point 3, “3. The precise environmental conditions under which studded tires provide a
    traction benefit are relatively rare. The maximum frictional gain (in
    comparison to non-studded (not studless) tires) is found for new studded tires
    on smooth ice, where they have been shown to provide up to 100 percent gain
    in certain tests. However, the relative frictional gain of studded tires
    diminishes or becomes negative on roughened ice, as the temperature drops,
    as the studs wear, or if the comparison is made with studless tires.”

    1. The science of why is pretty straightforward. Studs require tire tread to be made of hard rubber compounds stiff enough to keep the studs in place. While studs do increase traction on some icy surfaces, the hard rubber decreases traction on all icy surfaces. By contrast, non-studded winter traction tires have soft rubber tread that grips ice better, resulting in a net gain of traction in most icy conditions. Modern winter traction tires are engineering marvels, superior in almost every way you can measure tire performance. People who persist in running studded tires are cutting themselves short, and they are tearing up the roads.

        1. Studs make sense until you understand the science. I was a stud guy (don’t ask my wife) until I tried traction tires. I haven’t looked back, and traction tires have only gotten better since then. The previous decade saw huge advancements in the tech. Those of us who grew up driving “snow tires” are kind of smitten.

      1. I see I made a typo, it was 2002. I had a set of Bridgestone Blizzaks one winter and it was warm enough that year for the rubber to stay soft and they wore out fast.

      1. That is not true. Those ruts in the asphalt are not from trucks. This myth gets debunked every year. Tire rubber is not abrasive. Studs are made out of tungsten carbide, the exact same material used in rock drills. It’s not that hard to figure out.

  3. My parents insisted that I use studded tires here in Central Oregon over 30 years ago. After moving out on my own and defying their wishes, I have never once missed studded tires. Even driving over our mountain passes on a monthly or more frequent basis over the last 12+ years and prior to that in the mid ’90s. The advantage that they provide on rare specific road conditions is not enough to justify their multiple disadvantages. They increase stopping distances in wet conditions, they’re loud, they damage the roads, they HAVE to be removed after snow season ends, and you have to try and get in with the rush to have them removed (unless you do it yourself which you should so you can check your brakes, rotate the tires, etc. since you cannot trust the tire stores to do all that correctly since they don’t drive your vehicle). The scary stories that people tell about how they “drove on black ice and crashed without warning and if only they had studded tires on it would all be fine” is hogwash. They had their heads in their posterior. They failed to adjust to driving conditions. Get a good set of studless tires with the mountain and snowflake (meaning traction tire) on them and (for very rare occasions) tire chains. Go out and find a place where nobody else is around and play in order to learn how your vehicle handles in slippery conditions and get comfortable with it. Stop being a white-knuckler or one of those people who think that their 4-wheel-drive makes them impervious to physics.

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