YONKERS, N.Y.—Consumer Reports has amended its earlier findings on all-season tires to include their performance on snow. An article in the magazine's April 1997 issue explained that snow-making equipment had yet to be installed at CR's Connecticut Auto Test Center when researchers ran the comparative tests reported in its February 1997 issue.
Thus, after installation of such equipment was completed, the publication retested the tires in mid-winter to compare their performance on hard- and loosely packed snow.
Some tires that scored highest in the earlier tests on dry and wet road surfaces fared less well in snow, the publication found. In fact, ``the best performer in dry and wet conditions—the Pirelli P400 Touring—tested the worst for snow traction,'' CR said.
During its research, all-season tires in size P185/70R14 were compared on the basis of a two-part test: 1) starting from a parked position on a hill; and 2) starting from a parked, level position about 95 feet before the hill.
Researchers compared the tires' traction both at start-up and while rolling and their attained speed on the hill.
CR's advice to tire buyers:
Those in areas where snow is infrequent should select all-season tires that earned at least a ``very good'' overall score in wet and dry test conditions—the Pirelli P400 Touring, Dunlop SP40 A/S, Goodyear Regatta or Cooper Lifeliner Classic II.
Those living in regions with occasional but serious snow should choose tires that received very good snow ratings, such as the Cooper Lifeliner Classic II, General Ameri.G4S, Michelin XW4 or Goodyear Weatherhandler.
Those living in areas that see heavy snowfalls generally will need snow tires, the publication said.
For purposes of comparison, researchers also tested the Bridgestone Blizzak WS15, which is higher priced than any of the all-season tires tested, but outperformed every one of them on snow, CR said.