Firestone Winterforce Review: Defying The Elements

Firestone WINTERFORCE LT Full - 660x550

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The Good
  • Studdable for extra traction in snow
  • Class leading cost/performance ratio
  • Attractive semi-gloss finish sidewall design
The Bad
  • Wobbly in warm driving conditions
  • Minimal lateral traction on ice
  • Don't retain gripping quality over their treadlife
Dry Performance85
Wet Performance88
Light Snow Traction94
Deep Snow Traction89
Ice Traction83
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Driving in extreme weather often requires motorists to strike a trade-off between performance and ride comfort. If one wants a tire that will get one out of any sticky situation, one needs to be prepared to sacrifice a cosy trip. The engineers at Firestone though seem to be of a different line of thinking as they believe one can indeed have their cake and eat it. With the introduction of the Winterforce tire, Firestone aimed high, as they sought to deliver a tire that would offer unprecedented winter handling while producing a silent and gentle ride, independent of weather conditions.

Fully Comfortable Under Hostile Conditions

The starting point was to adhere to the stringent service criteria laid out by the Rubber Association of Canada (RAC) and the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA). In simple terms, the tire is built to a standard that it is capable of withstanding even the most severe snow conditions. The manufacturer was able to achieve this by coming up with a computer – aided tread design that presents convincing surface grip on ice, snow and wet surfaces.

The Firestone Winterforce tires are well grooved and adaptable to winter studs, giving them that necessary edge in wintry driving. They are also a versatile set given that one can fit them on passenger vehicles, SUVs and even small trucks. It suffices to say, if you are not a fan of having to push your car out of a snowy rut, then these may just be the choice for you.

All-weather, as long as it’s dry

The ambitious attempt by Firestone then provokes an interesting question. Have they succeeded in crafting a high performance yet tranquil winter tire? The short answer is, somewhat. In their quest to deliver high levels of traction with minimum noise levels, the Firestone tire created an unforeseen hitch. The emphasized grip in effect creates higher fuel consumption on one’s daily commute. The rolling resistance on these tires is quite heightened resulting in decreased fuel efficiency. This means you need to budget for trips carefully otherwise you’ll end up being stuck in the snow for a totally different reason!

Firestone’s Winterforce tires also tend to not be as quiet compared to their all weather compatriots. This aspect though is open to interpretation as one has to think whether the tire is meant to be ‘a quiet winter tire’ or a quieter than both winter and all weather tires. Nonetheless, the Winterforce definitely produces markedly higher noise levels on dry roads than regular all weather tires.

In all, Firestone have seemingly done a stellar job of putting together a tire that serves the purposes of bitter winter conditions while upholding the driving integrity that has come to characterize twenty first century automotives. Their secret to success lies in the following:

The Firestone Winterforce’s Claim To Fame

  • It has the potential to accentuate grip through an allowance for #12 studs
  • A directional sipe design enhances tire – surface interaction on both dry and wet surfaces.
  • The tire features a high tread density, with a three dimensional groove outline for secure grip whether on snow, sleet or slushy road surfaces.

The Winterforce is hard to fault and there is a reason for that. It delivers outstanding performance and easily rates as one of the best in its class. At least those who use them seem to think so.

Author: Matt Taylor

A 28 year old car guy that used to work in a car repair shop. I used to talk about tires because I had to, now I talk about them because I want to.

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