Winter Tires: Studded or Studless?

October 20th, 2009

Since the temperature has approached the freezing mark, or at least where I’m living (damn you Florida), I figured I should touch on winter tires. I found an interesting article about studded and studless tires from the Tahoe Daily Tribune and it made for some nice info for a blog entry.

The two best winter tire options are studded and studless tires. Studded tires have been a popular winter tire since their inception in 1963. Studless winter tires are a much newer addition to the tire industry, joining the market in 1992. Both the studded and studless are effective, so its created the debate to determine which is the best type of winter tire.

Studded tires offer great traction on roads covered with a sheet off ice. The studs dig into the ice creating traction and also help to break up the ice.

Studless winter tires feature a soft rubber compound with microscopic pores that allows the it to grip the road and wick away the thin film of water that forms when a warm tire touches ice. Studless tires use the entire contact patch of the tire and the rubber to grip the ice instead of relying on metal studs to provide traction.

Studded and studless tires offer slightly different traction depending on the road conditions. According to a 2002 study by the University of Washington, “Studded tires produce their best traction on snow or ice near the freezing mark and lose proportionately more of their tractive ability at lower temperatures than do studless or all-season tires.”

Both studded and studless tires have a similar lifespan. Depending on the amount of driving you do, you will probably only get 2 to 3 winters from a set of of studded or studless tires.

At the end of the day, it seems like it all comes down to preference. If you live in an area with heavy snowfall, studded might be the best tire for you, but if your temperatures are constantly below freezing, studless might be the right choice. Either way, if you need winter tires, studded and studless tires are great options to help keep you traveling safely all season.

Check out to learn more about studded and studless tires.

Winter Tires: Studded or Studless? was written by of TireTeam
Posted in: about Tires
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