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Winter is coming. The coldest of the four seasons is gearing up to blast North America with frigid air and plenty of snow. Do you need SUV snow tires going into the new year? Here’s what you need to know.

What makes SUV snow tires unique?

  • Different tread patterns and depths from average tires to improve grip
  • More flexible and softer than average tires in low temperatures
  • Better traction than average tires for driving on snow, ice, and slush

In short, SUV snow tires are designed for winter driving. They allow the best performance for your SUV in treacherous driving conditions on tricky terrain. So, how do you know if you need ’em or not?

Questions to ask yourself before getting SUV snow tires

  1. Do I normally drive in areas with heavy snowfall in the winter?
  2. Have I experienced a lack of traction during my normal winter commute?
  3. How often does it snow on average in my region?
  4. In the event of a winter storm, does my profession or lifestyle require me to operate my SUV?

If you live in an area that gets plenty of winter storms and are expected to commute through those storms, you may need some snow tires. So, how do you choose the best snow tires for your SUV?

How to choose snow tires for your SUV

  1. Be prepared to order snow tires in a set of four to maximize control and SUV stability.
  2. Find the correct tire size for your vehicle using a tire/auto shop’s website.
  3. Once you have found snow tires that are compatible with your vehicle, it’s time to refine your search by brands and reviews.
  4. Make your winter tire selection and schedule installation (if needed).

Best SUV snow tire brands and models

An SUV tire at a shop.
An SUV tire is at a shop | Hannes P Albert/picture alliance via Getty Images
  • Nokian Hakkepeliitta R5 SUV
  • Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2 SUV
  • Michelin X-Ice Snow SUV

There are plenty of brands to choose from, but sticking with the best of the best, like Bridgestone and Michelin, is an easy way to ensure satisfaction. How do you know if you have great SUV snow tires? Unfortunately, the only way to personally experience the capability of snow tires is to battle-test them. Wintry driving conditions will determine whether or not you made the best SUV snow tire choice possible.

NHTSA winter weather driving tips

A white SUV is driving in snow.
A white SUV is driving in snow | Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Why Are Snow Tires Better In the Winter?

Now that we’ve discussed why some SUV drivers get snow tires, how they are different from average tires, and how to choose snow tires, what are some general winter weather driving tips pertaining to tires? According to the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration, tire inflation pressure is a concern as temperatures dip for the cooler seasons.

Use your SUV’s driver’s side door frame label or owner’s manual to determine the ideal tire pressure for your vehicle. Tires should be self-inspected at least monthly. Furthermore, tire age is important to traction, and average tires should be replaced every six to 10 years for optimal performance.

Your SUV’s tires are extremely important to the overall performance and condition of your vehicle, especially in the winter. Getting the right tires for wintry conditions could make your SUV safer to drive and save you big bucks on repairs from potential winter-related accidents or challenges.