Dedicated winter tires will help your truck or SUV get a better grip on snow and ice. The prices that follow are for 245/70-17 tires, such as those appropriate for a 2013 Chevrolet Silverado or Jeep Grand Cherokee, or for the closest size offered.
The Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V1 (*Est. $135) is the runaway favorite of both experts and owners. It is a top pick at both Canada's Automobile Protection Agency (APA) and a leading U.S. testing organization. Testers say its deep tread ensures traction in deep snow, and its performance on ice is excellent. Owners who post at TireRack.com agree, giving the DM-V1 the highest possible ratings on wet, snowy and icy roads and slightly lower (but still excellent) scores for dry-cornering stability and steering response. Two separate TireRack.com experts recommend the DM-V1 as the best winter tire for trucks and SUVs and say it's the one they run on their personal vehicles.
A runner-up in TireRack.com's owner review rankings, the Michelin Latitude X-Ice Xi2 (*Est. $150) also delivers outstanding snow traction and ice braking in one leading U.S. test, but owners say when roads get really messy the Blizzak winter tire has the edge. If winter in your area means deep snow, critics recommend the studdable Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7 (*Est. $165), which is critics' favorite studdable tire for passenger cars as well.
The APA points out that truck and SUV owners can sometimes save money by minus-sizing -- buying a smaller wheel and a narrower tire for snow use -- even considering the expense of buying the second set of wheels. This can expand the number of brands light truck and SUV owners can choose from, as smaller winter tires are easier to find. It is also cheaper than having a garage swap your tires on the existing rims, particularly if your vehicle is equipped with a tire-pressure monitoring system. "Savings of $80 to $300 per set of four are possible by downsizing the wheel and tire combination, depending on the vehicle," the APA says.
Your tire retailer has guides that list appropriate substitute sizes for your vehicle.