Starting October 1, 2015 drivers in British Columbia are required by law to use tires with a M+S (mud and snow) symbol or a Mountain-Snowflake symbol, with at least 3.5 mm tread depth, on most major highways across the province. While I applaud this move as a positive step in the right direction for road safety, I question why the province decided to allow a less effective minimum M+S rating rather than going with only the Mountain-Snowflake rating.
Tires with the M+S symbol are more commonly known as all-season tires and the rating is based not on winter traction capabilities or performance testing but rather on tread void area. As long as a tire tread has at least 25% of its tread area open as channels and some lateral grooves, it qualifies for the rating. Because overall tread design and rubber compound are not factors, the M+S rating is more an indicator of resistance to hydroplaning than winter capability. Some all-season tires are competent in winter conditions, while others perform very poorly. But all carry the same M+S rating. Continue reading
The Gislaved Nord*Frost 100 model is now available. This is a sweet looking tire with high tech tungsten carbide stud technology. The “Tristar” is another unique stud design that should provide plenty of grip on icy roads and minimize hazard risks this winter for drivers in need of new rubber. Continue reading
Good news! Another factory studded option may be available in Canada. Kumho brings us the WinterCraft ICE Wi31 with “Turbine Studs”.
“An advanced new stud design gives the WinterCraft ICE Wi31 an exceptionally quiet hold on the ice and snow. The wide turbine studs provide excellent snow clearance, in a low profile design that cuts road noise dramatically.” Continue reading
Stud technology has been rapidly evolving and improving over the past few years with more manufacturers customizing designs and pre-studding tires in factory.
Pirelli’s Ice Zero is the latest to join the “Stud Wars” this winter as we see more original stud designs coming out of Europe for the Canadian market in 2015.
The “Double Claw” is another distinctive design with a double-ended tip set on a trapezoidal head as shown below alongside the ContiIceContact, Ultra Grip Ice Arctic, Hakka 8, and Blizzak Spike-01. Continue reading