Winters are long, harsh, and flat-out unenjoyable here in the Northeast. About the only thing that makes them semi-tolerable is knowing that there are people out there who have it worse. (I’m lookin’ at you, Michigan.) But as cold and miserable as the winter season is, it also brings some golden opportunities for shop owners to woo customers with cool seasonal products. You know, like trendy Christmas gift displays, cool portable chargers, the latest tuners, and—ahh wait for it—winter tires (waa-waa says every street performance enthusiast).
Hear us out before flipping the proverbial bird. Really, a good pair of snow shoes for that beloved street car is a good idea. We get it. For performance-minded drivers, slapping on a set of winter tires is painful. It often means sacrificing high-speed driving and superior handling on dry roads. For this group, only a solid selection of equally performance-minded winter tires will do.
If you’re forced to put those slicks away until next spring, then we say consider our suggestions below.
The Right Approach
But first, let’s take a step back to consider how consumer education, even for the driving aficionado, really starts at the top. How can shop owners help soften up customers to a big purchase like winter tires? It’s not unusual for a customer to be hesitant about pulling the trigger, as we’ve already said. And that’s especially true if you’re dealing with a dude who actually likes to drive. Anyone would be reluctant to spend that kind of money—especially on something they’re not entirely convinced they need, and definitely not something they want.
So whaddya do?
Ask your customer whether they feel boots or sneakers are more appropriate for walking in the snow. Then explain that the same logic extends to winter tires. Like boots for your street car, a good set of winter tires will provide improved grip and wider openings between the tread to keep traction on softer surfaces. Drive home the fact that winter tires are not the same as all-season tires. With specialized compounds and potential studs, winter tires are purposely designed to perform in the snow and ice. In fact, these types of tires generally have an optimal performance level in temperatures below 45°F.
Though let’s be honest. That approach works for the run-of-the-mill daily driver merely concerned with getting from Point A to Point B—but it mind not land with an enthusiast at heart. As a fellow car guy who likes nothing more than to throw it in high gear, ask yourself what would convince you. If your arse is backed in a corner and you’re forced to choose between swallowing your pride with this purchase or sacrificing quality tuning time to get “unstuck,” then what would you choose?
Now that we’ve hopefully convinced you, let’s move on to business.
Three “Pitchable” Tire Brands for Street Performance Enthusiasts
The Eurowinter by Falken offers a new silica-enriched compound and high-void directional tread pattern, designed to maintain tire flexibility and contact with the road. 3D Canyon siping within the tread reinforces contact further, allowing for increased ice braking and better grip. And staggered block variation in the tread design helps eliminate tire noise, making for a quieter ride.
Together these characteristics make for a tire that is ideally suited for winter handling. Not to mention, great performance in both dry and wet conditions. This is a go-to winter tire for many sport compact enthusiasts, making its popularity a great selling point.
If you can get the word Hakkapeliitta out of your mouth, then congratulations. (It carries with it a finesse sure to grab anyone’s attention, right?) This Nokian tire comes in various shapes and sizes, but the base characteristic offerings are a specialized tread pattern and dedicated compounds for winter performance.
Customers want variety, and the Hakkapeliitta series has it. Buyers can choose between studded and non-studded designs as well as a multitude of tread patterns. So, street performance lovers like you can reconcile comfort and ride quality. With relentless grip, balanced driving control, and several options, the Hakkapeliitta line is a great all-around series of tires for all street cars.
There’s no denying the Bridgestone name is one that draws fierce loyalty.
Additionally, the Bridgestone Blizzak series of tires offers customers a unique rubber compound the manufacturer calls its Multicell Compound Technology. This technology uses microscopic bubbles within the tread to soak up water on icy surfaces. As that water disperses, the tread’s bite particles come into contact with the ice providing extra grip. This science is applied to the first 55% of the tread, so the benefits will continue as the tire wears. And after that, you’ve still got really good snow tires!
This innovative tire design and construction ensures customers are getting excellent performance, premium ride quality, and more bang for their buck.
Let’s Talk Price
Ah, the roughest part of the process: price. The final cost of a winter package from any one of these brands will run in the $800 range. And that’s before we chat winter wheels and before anything is mounted and balanced. We know, we know—sticker shock.
Yes, winter wheels will drive the overall expense to over $1,000, but it’s an investment that technically washes out, as you can read here. If you’re serious about street performance, then you know those expensive wheels stand a good chance of being DESTROYED. Road salt, de-icing chemicals, and consistent contact with muddy, wet slush can eat them alive. Is it worth it?
Truthfully, a cheaper set can easily get you through the winter. Then you have a wheel style for the summer/show season, while the second string takes the winter beating. After the initial winter wheel and tire purchase, the mounting and balancing fee is really a wash as well because now dedicated rims mean you can easily swap summer and winter sets in and out at home.
Remember, there’s no need to sacrifice passionate driving just because winter dropped its depressing veil.