Test winter tires, conclusions after four years of use

IFIn 2011 we got a game winter tires with the intention of checking its functioning in real life. It’s been almost 4 years and we have rolled with them more than 30,000 miles in all types of situation, from deep snow to summer. How useful are the winter tires? Do you run out quickly? Do they make much noise? Can come out very expensive? To what extent increase our security? We will try to clear up all these issues one by one.

In 2010 in Spain only one hundred tires that were sold in our country was a winter tire. Passed with more pain than glory for our market and a large percentage of drivers were unaware of even its existence, which motivated us to start this test. In our country are not mandatory, unlike several of our european colleagues where at certain times of the year we will have to mount them, or leave the car at home. Mount has a number of advantages and disadvantages.


Michelin Pilot Alpin gastado

Michelin Pilot Alpin spent

the retail price of The winter tire is approximately 8-10 per cent more expensive than its counterpart in summer. In addition we must add the cost of mounting and dismounting twice a year (about 30€ each time). If you do not have where to store them, possibly the shop where you bought it then for free if you do with them that changes, although it is not always so. Currently some Michelin Pilot Sport 3 in the measurement of this test cost about 120€ /unit, while the Michelin Pilot Alpin 5 costs about 135€/ unit.


Neumatico de invierno MichelinHere comes one of the most surprising. Curiously, the winter tire wears less that the equivalent of summer during the cold months. This effect is more noticeable the more aggressive we are at the wheel, as the tire from summer to achieve your operating temperature and hardens, suffering more microdeslizamientos that the rubber of winter, wearing out.

By using winter tyres in low temperatures, we are “saving” tire, which compensates in part its higher purchase price. In addition it also has some more depth of drawing (9 mm compared to 8.2 mm in this case), that is to say, more rubber to be able to carve, so the performance mileage in the winter is greater.

keep in mind that as the tire wears down is losing its winter capabilities. So tires have two witnesses, one that marks the legal limit of 1.6 mm (as any tire) and the other at 4 mm indicates the time at which it begins to lose effectiveness in snow and ice. In my case, I’ve been looking for even wear rotándolos each year, taking care of the pressure, with good levels of alignment and shock absorbers in good condition. When I took out were virtually the four tyres on the legal limit of use of 1.6 mm, boasting a wear-perfect.

What happens in the summer?

Michelin Pilot Alpin prueba en veranoAs we saw last summer, these tires do not “disintegrate” or burst or any other weird thing that I have heard in conversations of the bar, not even roaming around with them in the middle of summer to rhythms very cheerful. Obviously they are out of your range of use and lose benefits, especially extending the braking in comparison with its counterpart of the summer. To drive always with the maximum safety it is ideal to remove the tires from summer in the store from April onwards, approximately, depending on the weather of your area.

The noise

Today, with the labelling of tyres we can compare the noise generated by each one, regardless of our perception. In real life yes there was a lower noise with the summer tyre, but it seems to me a significant fact. In addition I believe that during the four years of the trial has not gone back to noisy, which is also related to the good wear and tear it has had.

A reflection: when choosing our new car, do we take into account that the tires of 18” make more noise than the 16” – series? Or do you only think in aesthetic and behavior? And what about the cost of the tire change?


Michelin Primacy Alpin inviernoI have tried to adjust the maximum to the reality and according to my measurements the car with Michelin Pilot Alpin consumed on average 0.2 litres/100 km more than with the Pilot Sport 3. To continue with the example, the tires that most have consumed all that I’ve been in my car have been the Pirelli Pzero Nero, with approximately 0.4 liters/100 km more than the Pilot Sport 3.

By approximate numbers to about 40,000 km in length, are a few 100€ more in fuel with winter tires compared to the summer equivalent of the same brand. Assuming that would have led Pzero Nero would be 200€ more. I’ve never worn winter tyres in Pirelli’s so I cannot compare within the same brand. Also keep in mind that these data are as tested and may vary considerably for other dimensions.

driving in dry soil

in the winter In dry soil behave quite similar to to the equivalent of summer. The only downside is a greater inaccuracy in the conduction, due to the movement of the blades, the greater the height of the drawing and the greater number of studs. As the tire wears down the tire is going to be more accurate. The biggest differences with the summer tyre will give when it begins to surface moisture or the temperature drops below 0ºC in any type of road.

Where they note the security provided by is in the typical dry road that has wet areas with curves where not affects the sun, as the car passes without hardly a murmur when with summer tires you’d be a bit of a scare. As the weather changes and starts the good time we will notice as the tire begins to lose performance compared to the equivalent of summer, being the time of change again.

driving in wet ground

In winter, the security difference between the two is very noticeable, especially in braking, and trajectory changes fast. When it is about the good weather, in the wet they behave quite similarly. They may be something more than drift but always offering a great feeling of security, mainly due to that they are very progressive at the limit.

driving on snow or ice

IFIn these conditions, the difference is simply abysmal. In terms of falls down a finger of snow, a car with front-wheel drive and winter tires is able to move around in sites where the SUV’s and several 4×4 with summer tyres has already been pulled. And remember that the important thing is not to climb and accelerate, but down and be able to curb.


What I liked most:

  • Security in winter, mainly when driving on dry roads where there are many shady, humid
  • You forget completely of the chains
  • Met-form multi-purpose in a climate such as ours
  • Duration interminable unexpectedly high

What I liked

  • Forces you to go to the workshop to change tires 2 times a year (although the review)
  • Touch driving something less accurate, especially when they are new (due in part to the sculpture of plates)
  • Greater expense. In total have been 400€ per week (purchase price of 70€ top + 2 tyre changes per year + 0.2 litres/100 km). To suffer less wear-wearing the proper tires to each moment of the year, a game of summer and another winter they will last us more than two games of summer all year round. I have not calculated how much it saves, but it is not a figure to be underestimated. Never a tire I had lasted so many miles and that can only be due to the lower wear and tear of the tyre to be used at the right time.