A dedicated high-performance snow tire that excels in maximizing winter traction, ride and handling
As the first leaves of Fall start changing color, and nighttime low temps continue to dip below freezing, the thoughts of most drivers in snow-prone regions drift toward making a change in tires. After all, the tires on any vehicle play a decisive role in how it performs, and having the wrong tire for winter weather conditions can literally lead to serious traction and safety problems down the road.
Replacing your vehicle’s “three-season” tires with dedicated snow tires before the first snows fall takes the stress out of winter driving—and the Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2 is a premium performer in that regard for pickups, SUVs, all-wheel-drive SUVs and cross-overs.
That’s what I did while living in southwestern Idaho, swapping out the Yokohama Geolander GO15 A/Ts on my 2018 Mazda CX-5 AWD for Studless 235/55R19 Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2s purchased through Tire Rack.
Choose Tires For The Season
Winter The technological advancements of all-terrain (A/T) and mud-and-snow (M/S) tires over the last decade has made a lot of us complacent about making seasonal tire changes because these multi-purpose tires that come on many of our pickups, SUVs and cross-overs seem to work fine for just about every driving condition. The caveat here is “just about” every driving condition.
As I discovered driving on the first snow in early November, A/Ts like the GO15s, no matter how great they perform in Spring, Summer and Fall, are marginal at best when it comes to providing a safe level of traction when temperatures remain sub-freezing and there’s snow on the road surface.
Unlike all-season street, A/Ts, and mud tires, which become stiff when the temperature drops below 30-degrees, the rubber tread of true winter tires remains flexible, which significantly improves traction and vehicle handling. Improved traction means improved safety.
Blizzak Snow Tires On The Road
The first few days of driving on the DM-V2s on dry pavement I noticed steering response on dry pavement was slightly quicker than the Yokohama GO15s. Fingertip-light steering is a common trait of Studless Ice & Snow winter tires due to the soft compound, independent tread blocks, and deep tread depths
I logged more than 3,000 miles and four months driving on Idaho’s snow-covered highways, county roads, graveled backcountry roads and over mountain passes. During that time temps varied from high-30s to minus 10 degrees. Not once did I feel like the capabilities of the Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2s traction and vehicle control was an issue. These tires are stellar winter performers, and they’d be an excellent tire choice for pickups, sedans, SUVs, cross-overs, 4x4s and all-wheel-drives.
Special Rubber Compounds
Bridgestone’s Performance Winter/Snow tires, of which the DM-V2 is one of a dozen, feature special freeze-resistant compounds in the rubber that’s molded into directional tread patterns to provide thousands of biting edges and grooving to move water away from the tread surface. This combination provides exceptional stop-and-go traction in snow with responsive handling in wet and dry road conditions.
In fact what I observed during months of winter driving on the Blizzak DM-V2s is their softer rubber compound and unique tread design not only provided excellent traction on fresh powder and plowed snow roads, they also felt better connected on wet and dry pavement than the Yokohama A/Ts they replaced.
Road noise inside the cabin was reduced as were the effects of driving over expansion joints, rough pavement, gravel and other road irregularities. I also noticed the CX-5’s traction and steering response improved on wet pavement and in heavy rain. All as a result of the softer rubber compound of the Blizzaks and the design of the tread pattern.
Why Snow Tires Have Superior Traction
Put a set of dedicated snow tires on any vehicle and do a tire-to-tire test against all-terrains (A/Ts), all-season (A/S), or mud traction (M/T) tires on a plowed snow surface or a road surface covered in several inches of fresh snow, the snow tires will win in every category of traction and handling—by a wide margin. The reason snow tires out shine these other types of tires is simple: They are constructed from special rubber compounds with unique tread patterns.
Talk to any manufacturer of dedicated snow tires (those with the snowflake-inside-a-peaked-mountain symbol on the sidewall), and you’ll find a common technical design: soft rubber tread compounds coupled with sharp, biting tread edges and full-depth siping, or grooves, across the tread face. That’s vital for a tire’s performance in snow because when the snow packs into the tread the tire has to remain very pliable the rest of the 270-degrees of its rotation to clean itself.
The other aspect that most drivers don’t see or understand is the best traction is snow-on-snow. That’s why those tiny squiggly cuts, which are called sipes, are placed in a snow tire’s tread. Those sipes open and close as the tire rolls over the road surface, collecting snow as they do so, providing extra grip.
Blizzak DM-V2 Top-Tier Performance
In the Blizzak DM-V2 those sipes, coupled with a patented Multicell compound that contains millions of microscopic pores, help grab snow and grip ice without the use of studs. Studies by Tire Rack have shown to stop a vehicle traveling at only 30mph an average of 35 feet shorter on ice than popular all-season radials…a distance of about two car lengths.
A stopping distance improvement that would mean the difference between an accident or just a close call. (A fender bender will cost considerably more than a set of snow tires.)
Just remember that all dedicated winter performance tires such as the Blizzak DM-V2 will wear considerably faster than A/Ts, M/Ts or All-Season tires when used on any surface other than snow/ice. But the benefits they bring to safer driving in winter conditions far outweigh any downsides.
When the snows come, put on true snow tires. When spring arrives, switch back to those A/Ts, leaving the snow tires in the garage for next winter’s driving challenges. Also, best to order snow tires in late summer as inventory on them is limited and the demand is high.