April is National Car Care Month, so protect your investment and save money down the road. ...
Tire Speed Rating, Studded Snow Tires
Tires Features (continued)
Tire Speed Rating.The letter immediately to the right of the load index on a vehicle's tire placard is the tire speed rating.
Q = 99 mph (160 km/hour)
R = 106 mph (170 km/hour)
S = 112 mph (180 km/hour)
T = 118 mph (190 km/hour)
U = 124 mph (200 km/hour)
H = 130 mph (210 km/hour)
V = 149 mph (240 km/hour)
(That's right -- H is between U and V.) Regardless whether you drive at these kinds of speeds (to say nothing of whether they're legal), a higher tire speed rating tends to translate into better handling. So choose all-season tires with a speed rating no lower than the one on your tire placard. With winter tires, it's OK to go lower. According to Tire Rack, which sells tires and posts both user reviews and its own expert test results, many winter tires -- including the General Altimax Arctic (starting at $51, Amazon) -- have a Q rating, which puts their maximum speed at 99 mph. Among all-season tires, the Goodyear Wrangler ST has a tire speed rating of S, or 112 mph. The General Altimax RT and Falken SN211, are rated T, or 118 mph, as is the Michelin X-Ice Xi2 winter tire. The Nankang XR-611 performance tire and the Hankook Icebear W300 (starting at $76) winter tire have a speed rating of H, or 130 mph.
Studded Snow Tires.Some winter tires offer the option of using metal studs to provide a better grip on ice and snow. Traditionally, studded snow tires have been considered the surest way to get good traction on ice and snow. However, some experts now think the improved design of studless tires allows them to effectively compete with studded snow tires. The downside of studs is they can fall out of the tire and they tend to tear up roads. As a result, many states regulate their use. Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, for example, place stringent restrictions on studded snow tires; Illinois has outlawed studs completely. Check the regulations in your state before investing in studded snow tires.
The Michelin X-Ice Xi2 is a studless tire, while the General Altimax Arctic tire is "studdable," meaning you can use it with or without studs. The Hankook Icebear W300 and the Dunlop Graspic DS-3 (starting at $59) are also studless.
Don't Bother Cheap Tires
Goodyear Wrangler ST
Many consumers pan the all-season Goodyear Wrangler ST, describing it as risky or flat-out unsafe. Users especially warn against driving in the rain with these tires. The Wrangler ST has a UTQG rating of 340-B-B (340-A-B on some sizes). It is commonly sold as original equipment on light trucks and SUVs. Read more »
Dunlop Graspic DS-3 Review
Goodyear Wrangler ST Review
Hankook Icebear W300 Review
Falken SN211 Review
General Altimax Arctic Review
General Altimax RT Review
Michelin X-Ice Xi2 Review
April is car care month. If you haven't adopted a car care plan or it needs a tuneup, follow our guidelines.
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