Do you need winter tires if it doesn’t snow?


If you live north of the Mason-Dixon, you’re probably no stranger to swapping out your summer tires for your car’s winter-rated shoes when the flurries start to fly — or milking your all-seasons beyond the suggested limits. Southern states don’t normally have to deal with the snow and ice that make summer tires worthless in winters, but they can drop below the “glass transition” threshold, taking away grip.

Jason Fenske of Engineering Explained put his summer tires through their paces against snow tires on a cold, dry slab of road to see if it makes sense to swap over. With his Honda S2000 as the test car, Fenske does three 60 mph stop tests to see if the winter tires performed better at emergency stops than the summer tires that are out of their recommended heat range. 

Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

Despite the winter tires being dead in the middle of their operating range, and the summer tires much colder than they wanted to be, the winter tires took longer to stop the car than the summer rubber. That said, Fenske did say the car felt more stable with the winter tires despite taking longer to stop. Fenske also took his Honda around some snow-covered mountain roads to show that snow tires perform better when the surface isn’t perfect.

Take a look at the full test series in the video above, and if you’re a tire manufacturer, send your hate mail to Fenske — we’re just presenting his evidence for consideration.

Wesley Wren

Wesley Wren

– Wesley is an Associate Editor at Autoweek. He loves cutting up old cars, listening to weird music, and going fast.

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