Saving Money on Cheap Snow Tires Could Cost You

Snow tires are a game-changer if you live in a place where it snows a lot. But another set of four tires isn’t a small expense. However, snow tires aren’t all created equal. Probably having any snow tires is better than not. Still, it turns out that saving money on snow tires could cost you. In the test video below, we see the difference between premium and budget snow tires.

Winter snowy road through deep snow leads to San Juan Mountains
Tire tracks in the San Juan Mountains | Visions of America/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The fellow in the video tests two different snow tires. In fact, he tests two different brands in two different sizes on two different cars. He tests the tires on both the Volkswagen Golf and a Volvo S90 While the budget snow tires did perform OK in some areas, the premium snow tires outshined them overall.

What’s a good snow tire brand?

In the test, the example of a premium snow tire is the Nokian snowproof tire. These, for the purpose of the test, are deemed high quality top-of-the-line tires. On the other hand, a budget tire is tested as well. The Tristar Ice-Plus S210 snow tires are used for the trial as the cheap snow tire.

The review tells us that, in fact, spending the extra money initially, does pay off. Saving money on snow tires might seem like a wise choice, but the budget tire didn’t perform as well as the premium snow tire. There were a couple of key areas in which the price really matched the quality in terms of it being a good tire for snow.

Put to the test

The overall verdict is that, generally, both brands are good tires. However, the Nokian snow tire outperformed the Tristar Ice-Plus tire in some primary areas of concern for a good snow tire. When put to the test, the tires were put on both a Volkswagen Golf and a Volvo S90. That way, they are tested in two different sizes on two different cars––the Volvo S90, of course, is significantly heavier than the Volkswagen Golf.

Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 winter tire
Nokian winter tire | Nokian

When tested on snow, the braking tests showed that the Nokian premium snow tires braked far more efficiently. Particularly in the case of the heavier Volvo S90, the good snow tires are worth the extra cost. In fact, in the Volvo S90 test, the Tristar Ice-Plus S210 snow tires took near 8 meters farther for effective snow braking than the Nokian Snowproof tires.

The budget snow tire only failed in the important places

For the ice braking test and the dry braking test, the budget Tristar Ice-Plus snow tires performed OK. The discrepancies between the test results from both tire brands on each car were minimal for both of these parts of the test. However, for snow braking and snow handling the tires performed quite differently.

The premium snow tires offered far more purchase than the budget snow tires. Plus, when it came to handling on a snow-covered track the premium Nokian Snowproof tires are more consistent. Overall, the driver in the video says handling it straightforward and secure.

If you are thinking about ll season tires
All season tires | Mikhail TereshchenkoTASS via Getty Images

The cheap snow tires––the Tristar Ice-Plus S210––are shown as much less trustworthy. The driver says when it comes to handling in the snow, which is in fact what they are designed for, the cheap snow tires don’t perform near the same level as the premium option. The same verdict goes for wet braking and wet handling too. Overall, it looks like saving money on snow tires could cost you.