Do Trucks & SUVs Need Winter Tires?

  • Nov 4,2019
Truck driving down a snowy road Truck driving down a snowy road

Jack Frost is right around the corner. In some states, he's already arrived. That means many SUV and truck owners are adding weight to their trunks or putting on tire chains to gain extra traction in slippery situations. While these cold-weather car hacks work, there's an easier way to drive with peace of mind in the winter: with winter tires.

As rugged as most trucks and SUVs are, they can still benefit from winter tires. Snow and ice create dangerous driving conditions for any vehicle on the road. Winter tires are specifically designed to handle these conditions to help keep you safe!

Follow along to learn how winter tires can benefit any vehicle, including your truck or SUV.

Better Braking

A vehicle equipped with winter tires can stop sooner in wintry conditions than a vehicle equipped with regular tires. How much sooner? The answer depends on the weight of the vehicle and the conditions.

Family Handyman estimates that at a speed of 30 mph, winter tires can help you stop about 66% faster (or 30 feet shorter) than a vehicle equipped with all-season tires.

"The first time you drive a car with winter tires and you have to stop, and you do, you'll never let a loved one drive without them again," K.C. Colwell, senior technical editor for Car & Driver magazine, told CNN Business.

Winter tires are made from special rubber and have unique tread patterns that help all vehicles—trucks and SUVs included—grip the road at low temperatures.

Pro tip: When buying winter tires, make sure you get a complete set of four tires. Regardless of whether or not your truck is front- or rear-wheel drive, installing only two winter tires can lead to reduced traction, fishtailing, and poor steering control. (This goes for 4x4 vehicles, as well. So, if you’re asking yourself, “Does a 4x4 need winter tires?”, the answer is almost always, “Yes.”)

Better Handling

The special tread pattern on winter tires has more grooves, corners, and edges to grab the road surface and hold onto it. Little channels in the tread also wick water away from the tire to help prevent hydroplaning or skidding. All of this tire technology leads to better handling for you, the one in the driver's seat.

And better handling translates to real on-the-road benefits. In the Great White North, a.k.a. Canada, more than half of the drivers put winter tires on their cars. The result is fewer winter-related accidents, injuries, and deaths when cars are required to be fitted with winter/snow tires, notes Consumer Reports.

What's the Best Winter Tire for Your Truck or SUV?

Shopping for the right winter truck tire is easier said than done. There are so many options! How do you pick the best one? Browse recommended tires online or check out four top winter tire reviews for your truck or SUV.

1. Bridgestone Blizzak Tires

Looking to safely control your truck or SUV in wintry conditions? Bridgestone’s Blizzak tire offers a winter tread design that delivers.

Credit the tire’s tube multi-cell compound, which bolsters control on ice by cutting through thin layers of surface water. A continuous nylon wrap encircles the Blizzak W965, which helps the tire hold its shape when driving at increased speeds.

2. Firestone Winterforce 2 UV

The Firestone Winterforce 2 UV offers a triple play for winter tire shoppers looking to outfit their trucks and SUVs with the best. On the Winterforce 2 UV, you’ll find:

  • A specialized cold weather compound to keep the rubber from freezing in lower temperatures
  • Open shoulder slots for better grip in wintery conditions
  • Full-depth tread design for long-lasting performance, winter after winter

The Winterforce 2 UV tire is designed to give you better handling, stronger grip, and more performance than many other tire options on the market.

3. Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2

A key element of top-performing winter tires is excellent road contact—meaning they connect well with the ground beneath them.

Bridgestone’s Blizzak DM-V2’s construction allows for optimized road contact, thanks in part to its multi-cell compound with a hydrophilic coating. This coating removes water from the surface of the tire to give you better traction on snow and ice.

Another feature of the tire is its aggressive block edges—the Blizzak DM-V2 has 15% more block edges than its predecessor.

4. Firestone Destination M/T

Winter isn’t all about ice and snow. Many places can get especially muddy during the colder months. When you’re behind the wheel of a truck or SUV, you might even engage in some all-terrain travel in these mud-caked conditions. If you need a tire that can handle wintery highways and muddy roads, then you need the Firestone Destination M/T.

  • Extraction traction tread and lug design help you get out of ruts and mud.
  • Three-body ply construction helps resist damage from on-and off-highway hazards.
  • A rim guard off-road protector rib safeguards wheels from curb damage.

The above combination of features produces a winter tire that’s tough, durable, and ready for winter terrain. So, if you want to conquer your all-terrain duties, make this Firestone tire your destination.

Fearlessly Face the Cold with Tires Plus

Don't wait for the snow to fall before getting your truck or SUV ready for the winter. Head to a Tires Plus near you, and our technicians will help you find the right winter tires so you can work and play hard all winter long.

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