A dedicated high-performance snow tire that excels at maximizing winter traction, ride and handling
As the first autumn leaves begin to turn color and low nighttime temperatures continue to drop below freezing, most drivers in snow-prone regions are thinking about changing tires. After all, the tires on any vehicle play a critical role in its performance, and having the wrong tire for winter weather conditions can literally lead to serious traction and safety issues on the road.
Replacing your vehicle’s “tri-season” tires with snow tires before the first snow falls takes the stress out of winter driving, and the Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2 outperforms in that regard for trucks, SUVs, , four-wheel drive SUVs and crossovers.
That’s what I did while living in Southwest Idaho, I traded the Yokohama Geolander GO15 A/T’s in my 2018 Mazda CX-5 AWD for Studless 235/55R19 Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2’s purchased through Tire Rack.
Choose tires for the season
Winter Technological advances in all-terrain (A/T) and mud and snow (M/S) tires over the past decade have caused many of us to indulge in seasonal tire changes because these multipurpose tires that come in many of our trucks, SUVs and crossovers seem to perform well in almost all driving conditions. The caveat here is “almost” all driving conditions.
As I found out driving through the first snow in early November, A/Ts like the GO15s, no matter how well they perform in the spring, summer and fall, are marginal at best when it comes to providing a level Traction insurance when temperatures remain low. -Ice and there is snow on the road surface.
Unlike all-season, A/T and mud street tires, which become stiff when the temperature drops below 30 degrees, the rubber tread on true winter tires remains flexible, which Significantly improves vehicle traction and handling. Improved traction means greater safety.
Blizzak snow tires on the road
The first few days of driving the DM-V2s on dry pavement I noticed that the steering response on dry pavement was slightly quicker than the Yokohama GO15’s. Smooth fingertip steering is a common feature of Studless Ice & Snow winter tires due to the soft compound, independent tread blocks and deep tread depth
I logged over 3,000 miles and four months driving on snowy Idaho roads, county roads, rural gravel roads and mountain passes. During that time, temperatures ranged from 30 to minus 10 degrees. At no time did I feel like the Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2’s traction and vehicle control capabilities were an issue. These tires have stellar winter performance and would be an excellent tire choice for trucks, sedans, SUVs, crossovers, 4x4s and all-wheel drive.
special rubber compounds
Bridgestone Performance Winter/Snow tires, of which the DM-V2 is one of a dozen, feature special freeze-resistant compounds in the rubber that are molded into directional tread patterns to provide thousands of sharp edges and grooves to direct water away from the tread surface. This combination provides exceptional stop-start traction in snow with responsive handling in dry and wet road conditions.
In fact, what I observed during months of winter riding in the Blizzak DM-V2s is that their softer rubber compound and unique tread design not only provided excellent traction on fresh, plowed powdery trails, but also that also felt better connected on wet and dry pavement than the Yokohama A/T they replaced.
Road noise inside the cabin has been reduced, as have the effects of driving over expansion joints, rough pavement, gravel and other road irregularities. I also noticed that the CX-5’s traction and steering response improved on wet pavement and heavy rain. All as a result of Blizzak’s softer rubber compound and tread pattern design.
Why Snow Tires Have Superior Traction
Put a set of special snow tires on any vehicle and perform a tire-to-tire test against all-terrain (A/Ts), all-season (A/S), or mud-traction (M/T) tires at a plowed vehicle. snowy surface or a road surface covered with several inches of fresh snow, snow tires will win in all traction and handling categories by a wide margin. The reason snow tires shine brighter than these other types of tires is simple: they’re made of special rubber compounds with unique tread patterns.
Talk to any manufacturer of dedicated snow tires (those with a snowflake-within-a-peaked-mountain symbol on the sidewall), and you’ll find a common technical design: soft rubber tread compounds along with rims. sharp and pointed tread plates and -deep sipes, or grooves, along the tread face. That’s vital to a tire’s performance in the snow because when snow accumulates in the tread, the tire must remain very flexible for the rest of its 270-degree rotation to clean itself.
The other thing that most drivers don’t see or understand is that the best traction is snow on snow. That’s why those little wavy cuts, called grooves, are placed in the tread of a snow tire. Those sipes open and close as the tire rolls over the road surface, collecting snow as it does so and providing additional grip.
Blizzak DM-V2 top-tier performance
In the Blizzak DM-V2, those grooves, along with a proprietary Multicell compound containing millions of microscopic pores, help grip snow and ice without the use of studs. Studies by Tire Rack have shown that stopping a vehicle traveling just 30 mph is an average of 35 feet shorter on ice than popular all-season radials…a distance of about two car lengths.
An improvement in stopping distance that would make the difference between an accident or just a close call. (A fender shock will cost considerably more than a set of snow tires.)
Just remember that all tires dedicated to winter performance, such as the Blizzak DM-V2, will wear considerably faster than A/T, M/T or All-Season tires when used on any surface other than snow or ice. . But the benefits they bring to safer driving in winter conditions far outweigh any drawbacks.
When the snow comes, put on real snow tires. Come spring, put those A/Ts back on and leave the snow tires in the garage for next winter’s driving challenges. Also, it’s best to order snow tires in late summer, as inventory for them is limited and demand is high.