Winter Driving

No, winter tires and snow tires aren't the same thing

Snow tires and winter tires are often thought of as the same thing. They're not.

Photo by Getty Images

Not all tires are created equal, and not all tire types are the same. This isn't just true in NASCAR and F1. It's also true at your local tire shop.

Winter and snow tires are often confused as being for the same thing. Or, at least for the same season. That's not necessarily true.

The difference between tire types is more than just a tread pattern. Originally, snow tires were just winter tires with deeper tread patterns that could more easily take on snow-covered streets and trails. Chemistry and production techniques have made modern snow tires more sophisticated.

Winter tires aren't just designed to take on snow. They're designed for when conditions are below 44 degrees, the point at which road conditions start to seriously change. The tread patterns, flexibility, and density of the tire all come into play.

Today, despite that many call their winter tires "snow tires," most companies to not make a designated snow tire, instead relying on modern winter tires that are more versatile.

Drivers often leave all-season tires on their car thinking that they're in good enough shape and happy to avoid another trip to the tire shop. All-season tires are formulated to perform best when worn by your vehicle in 50 to 100 degree temperature conditions.

When it has reached 44 degrees and below outside, the materials that make up a summer or all-season tire get rigid, which impedes flexibility and grip, making them less safe.

When choosing a tire, whether it's of the winter, summer, or all-season variety, be sure to check the owner's manual of your car to determine what the recommended tire is. Automakers work closely with tire companies to develop the "perfect" tire for their vehicles.

Wondering which winter tires are best? Our friends at TFL recently tested some in the snow.

TFL: Which Snow Tire is Best? We Test Them On America's Steepest County Road!Video by TFL Car

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New midsize sedan

Subaru announces refreshed 2023 Legacy

The new Legacy got a facelift and new lighting elements.

Subaru

Sedans are a dying breed as SUVs and pickup trucks take over, but there are still a few compelling options out there, and Subaru has one of them. The Legacy has been a long-time part of the Subaru lineup, and the all-wheel drive family sedan got a notable update for 2023.

2023 Subaru LegacyTop trims get luxury finishes inside.Subaru

Subaru offers the sedan in five trims: Base, Premium, Sport, Limited, and Touring XD. The automaker updated the Legacy with a facelift that brought a new front fascia, redesigned front bumper and new LED lighting. The car features a low dash and open cabin for great visibility in all directions, and the top Touring XT trim offers high-end accommodations, including Nappa leather and metal trim inside.

Every Legacy comes with the latest version of Subaru Starlink infotainment software. It runs on an 11.6-inch display and offers wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard equipment. Higher trim levels get the same display with navigation and a new-for-2023 what3words integration.

2023 Subaru LegacyThe Legacy goes on sale this fall.Subaru

The 2023 Legacy comes standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque. The top two trims come with a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. Both engines come with a continuously variable transmission that offers an eight-speed manual shift mode.

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The IIHS may increase the speeds it uses to test advanced driver aids.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that it is considering changing the speeds it uses to test vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems. The agency currently tests the systems at 12 and 25 mph, but says that the speeds don't accurately represent the types of crashes the safety tech is meant to prevent.

Front crash preventionwww.youtube.com

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is designed to notify of a possible collision and help respond with automatic application of braking. Just like a human using the brake pedal, it can stop the car, but higher speeds make it difficult to stop in time. The new tests would be conducted at 35 to 45 mph, which is the range where a large number of rear-end crashes occur. As Automotive News noted, an IIHS study showed 43 percent of rear-end crashes occur at speeds of 45 mph or less, so it's important to have a test that shows how well the tech performs at those levels.

A whopping 85 percent of 2022 vehicles earned a "Superior" rating in the current testing regime, so the IIHS will remove it from 2023 testing and Top Safety Pick award evaluations. Their view is that, since the majority of vehicles meet the criteria, it's no longer an accurate way of evaluating performance. In its place, the agency introduced a night test for automatic emergency braking systems that will begin next year.

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