My car honda CR-V is in pretty desperate need of new tires. I've put away a small amount from my last few paycheques, but it's not a whole lot. I'm curious as to whether you would feel it's a better choice to purchase cheap winter tires (GT Radial, Falken Tire, Ironman, etc.) or a high-quality all season? I can sink a little more if it means not having to purchase again in 6 months. By the way,I don't drive outside of the city at all in the winter. I only drive to and from work on major roadways and a couple side streets to get out of my community. Thanks everyone! After reading these responses I'm definitely going with winters.
I have on my Toyota RAV4 summer tires that are described as "all-season tires". They are not safe to use in winter. Recently, I drove using these summer tires in light snow extremely carefully, and the traction control light flashed when braking even lightly. The winter tires I installed after that, on the other hand, work excellently even in heavy snow and I don't remember the traction control light flashing even once in heavy snow this year. The drawback? Reduced traction and tread squirm on pavement.
Winter tires are not the place to save money. Summer tires? Perhaps yes. But not winter tires. If you do not have the money for quality winter tires, go ahead and buy some cheaper ones. They are definitely better than the all-season tires. But I would still recommend you to consider more expensive winter tires. If you don't have the all-season tires yet, and you have the capability to buy high-quality all-seasons, you should have the capability to buy high-quality winter tires. They are not usually that much more expensive at least where I live.
High-quality winter tires last a long amount of time. I have driven on 22 year old Nokia Hakkapeliitta tires, and I can confirm that these 22 year old winter tires were better than 1 year old "all-season tires". I won't recommend 22 year old tires to others, however; changing at 5-10 years ensures better traction.
I would recomend buying decent or higher quality winter set. Yes, it is not an insignificant ammount of money to pay but the set won't last just one season**. Some cheap winter sets are more of placebo than real improvement. Also, do follow the "rule of 4":
4. Use winter tyres on all 4 wheels.
4. Use one set for 4 seasons at most.
4. Use tyres with thread at least 4 mm. (For trucks and lorrys it is 6 mm)
4. Use winter tyres for at least 4 months (at least from November to February).
4. Use winter tyres when temperature drops below 4°C.
Argument that you drive only within the city and on major roads is not valid at all. Winter tyres are to work in cold and on snow/ice. Once a season there is heavy snow and all roads, no matter whether major or minor, are hard to drive for a while. Definitely you want to have tyres that can drive safely even under those exceptional conditions.
In 6 months you will buy second set of tyres and again they will last several seasons**.
All together you are about to pay 8 tyres this year and may use them for 3-4 years.
** Unless your driving style is "If in doubt, flat out" or you are driving more than 6000 miles a month.
The advice I got for turbocharged sporty cars with very wide tires was to go to winter tires on a smaller wheel. The narrower aspect ratio tire can have the same outside diameter, so the wheels have the same RPM.
The last car I did this for was a Dodge Neon SRT-4, a very light car with 240HP front-wheel drive. Just driving on wet asphalt was tricky with the original tires, but with snow tires on smaller wheels it was fine in snow.
I like to research tires online, tire rack dot com has very detailed info on tires for specific cars. I am also lucky to have a small tire store nearby that is happy to let me have online tire purchases shipped there and they will install them for a minimum fee. And they never tell me I need alignment or nitrogen.
Winter tires as designated with snowflake icon on the sidewall vs all season tires. Continental Extreme Contact for winter and Goodyear Eagle Sport all season. Was expecting to remove the seasonal tires but have not done so in last 2 years. Seventy percent highway/ thirty city. Very good tire in snow and ice. Was not expecting that. Benefits: gas mileage up about 50km per tank, better handling on pavement (less mushy on highway) due to less sipes in tread. Great handling less body roll, crisp cornering. Winter tires: vehicle is front wheel drive so better traction during freezing rain on highway. Solution is to reduce speed. Opinion: vehicle is safer to drive with all season on pavement esp. during hard braking. Due to our weather patterns I drive more time on pavement than ice or snow. About 60-70%. The caveat with all this is you get what you pay for. The more money you spend the better the tire. Kind of like garden hoses. Note: Refuse to buy tires from anyone who says you need a front end alignment. That's a cash grab like those clowns trying to sell no theft police stickers and nitrogen air. Went to another locale and saved $100 dollars.
One option you may not have considered are all-weather tires. All-weather tires are suitable for mild winter climates, unlike all-season tires which are really only good in warmer climates where the temperature never drops much below +7C.
All-weather tires, unlike all-seasons, have the 'winter' indicator (the snow flake icon) on the sidewall, as they meet the standards for winter use. Unlike winter tires, they are also suitable for use in the summer, when temperatures are considerably warmer. While suitable for all conditions, they are a compromise tire. They aren't as good as dedicated winter tires, nor as good as summer tires, for their respective seasons. KalTire, a commerical site, has a brief comparison between tire types, showing the rubber in all-weather tires stays flexible across a wide range of temperatures, while not offering quite the same grip as dedicated winters, in cold conditions. This article in driving.ca notes another drawback of all-weather tires. Because the rubber must be formulated to handle a wide range of temperatures, you don't get the same mileage out of the tires.
According to this article in the Globe and Mail, all-weather tires may be a good compromise in places like Vancouver or Toronto. If your area gets lots of snow or particularly, lots of cold, you'll want real winter tires. I live in Alberta, Canada, and wouldn't think of driving in our snowy, -35C weather with all-seasons or all-weather tires. Winters, on the other hand, handle the conditions beautifully.
All else being equal,winter tires are better than all seasons for winter conditions.Though all seasons can do well enough on ice if it's only around 0°C, but when it's -20°C out or colder,the rubber of winter tires may as well be brick and perform better than all season,for example stopper soon and grip better.
I use two sets : summer and winter. Winter do two seasons and are changed. Used a higher quality tyre last time : Michelin Alpine 5...
I had used cheap winters before but you really do notice the difference in quality, grip etc
You really get what you pay for and I live in Switzerland up in the Alps...
Tires, I have personally tried, off road and in snow on the CR-V.
Yokohama Geolander AT-S (G012): These were the best out of the lot, my only complain, they were slippery in sand, and mud compared to others. Anyway these are out of production, except for Thailand.
Yokohama Geolander AT (G015): Updated version of the G012, these are very agressive, off road and in snow, on tarmac you'll lose accelerator due to their thread pattern, thats what the extra grip gets you.
Continental Terrain Contact: Took a 60 day trial of these returned them after 2 week usage, they are good all round, but a bit noisy. And slipped while taking a corner too quick (G012 and G015 never slip as such), didn't get a chance to try these in the snow.
Pirelli Scorpion AT-R: I drove my friend's CR-V with these installed, they are a blast to drive anywhere, if I ever upgrade again, these will be my choice. In 6 inches of water, 8 to 9 inches of snow, 3 inch of gravel/pebbles mixture, and proper sand these handle like a champion.
The solution to the winter or snow tires vs. all season tires question will depend on where you live and the conditions in which you drive.
If you only see a few snow flurries each year and slick, icy roads are more of a fluke than an annual ordeal, all season tires are probably the way to go. But if you know there’s a period when icy roads are always an issue, mounting winter tires isn’t an over-the-top precaution – it’s an essential safety measure that could save your life.
To chime in, I have experience from both sides of the fence. My Subaru Legacy has cheap 'Snoways' brand snow tyres fitted, and they are amazing. Earlier this year, when the UK was blanketed by a surprise blizzard, I needed to visit a relative in hospital (unrelated) and the Legacy made the trip along ungritted roads without issue, strolling at 40MPH past unprepared cars in the outside lane crawling at <20MPH. The downside is that snow tyres are, by design, softer rubber and return much poorer fuel economy on dry roads. The tread has the advantage of being much deeper so the grip is excellent, but they could cost you more in fuel.
My mother owned a Toyota Hilux Surf which was fitted with cheap all-terrain tyres (I forgot the brand). The one time we took the truck green-laning (through rural dirt tracks, not full off-roading) during the epic winter of 2010, the unmodified Hilux kept up with the heavily modified pure off-roaders in our group and even showed some of them up, un-dramatically climbing hills that Land Rovers and Range Rovers had to fall back on winches to pass. The Hilux's very heavy construction probably worked in its favour here.
In your situation, with not needing to leave the city, I would suggest you can probably rely on the roads being gritted/salted for winter. The CR-V is more of a 'soft-roader' and not built for pure off-road use - in my opinion, it would not benefit from snow tyres. Unless you expect to encounter snow, my advice would be all-terrains. You will get more use out of them and they will save you money in fuel.