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Better in Snow: All-Wheel Drive or Winter Tires?

by Kenny Hoeschen

Winter driving is something nearly all of us have to face at some point. Whether you live in Minnesota and end up driving on snowy roads for five months out of the year or whether you live in Georgia and only see snow and ice on a handful of days each winter, it’s important to know how to prepare. On top of having a good ice scraper, a cell phone and charger, a spare blanket, and maybe a Snickers bar, what’s the best way to give your car a better grip on the road?

Many people purchase an all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive vehicle and think they’ve done all they need to before the snow starts falling. But the guys at Auto Express did a test of an all-wheel drive vehicle fitted with summer tires versus a front-wheel drive model of the same car fitted with winter tires. They tested the vehicles against each other on an indoor ski slope and the results speak for themselves: the snow tires made a huge difference and theĀ front-wheel drive with snow tires made it much further up the slope than the all-wheel drive with summer tires.

So if you live in a colder climate, consider foregoing the all-wheel drive upgrade on your next purchase and get yourself a good set of winter tires for snowy months. We’d be interested to see a similar test with all-season tires versus snow tires to see how much of a difference there is in that case, too.

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