When that first big winter snow hits, or you head to the mountains for some adventures, driving a truck or SUV certainly has its advantages. Trekking across snow and ice is much easier and safer- especially if you have the right all-terrain car tires equipped.
Most all-terrain tires are designed to work on a variety of surfaces, including dirt, gravel, and light snow, but they might not be fully suited to tackle serious cold weather conditions. If you’re planning to deal with heavy snow and ice, you’ll want a set of all-terrain tires marked with the 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake (3PMSF) rating.
In this post, we’ll explain what the 3PMSF rating is and how tires under this marking perform well in cold weather. We’ll also list some of the best all-terrain tires for snow on the market. There’s one for every budget and need out there, we promise.
What Are All-Terrain Tires?
Let’s start our exploration into 3PMSF all-terrain tires by discussing what the average all-terrain tire does.
All-terrain tires, or A/T tires, are specifically designed to perform adeptly on and off-road. They can handle both wet and dry conditions, dirt, gravel, as well as light snow. Think of them as the happy middle ground between “mud tires” and highway tires. They’ll provide a smooth, safe ride on the street, gravel, and mud.
A/T tires can be used on both 4WD and 2WD vehicles. While many people begin their search looking for all-terrain car tires, they can only be used on light trucks, SUVs, and some CUVs – but never on passenger cars. Many truck owners choose to equip their vehicles with A/T tires so that they can handle a larger variety of road-types and weather conditions.
What is the 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake Rating? Why Do I Need It?
Now, what’s different about a 3PMSF symbol branded tire versus a regular A/T tire?
A 3-peak mountain snowflake rating indicates that the tire is approved by the Rubber Manufacturer’s Association as meeting the minimum requirements for performance in severe snow conditions. You can find the 3PMSF rating on both all-season and all-terrain tires, as long as they meet the testing criteria.
Tires with this symbol provide superior winter performance and traction on ice and heavy snow in comparison to tires without the rating. Keep in mind, this testing only measures a tire’s acceleration traction on medium snow – not braking and turning, or ice traction.
Where did this symbol for snow-rated all-terrain tires come from?
Back in 1999, the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) and the Rubber Association of Canada (RAC) agreed to create a performance-based standard. This would be used to identify truck tires that have a traction index equal to or greater than 110 when tested on snow. A higher rating = better traction in wintery conditions.
Difference Between M+S Rating Tire and 3PMSF Rating Tire
The biggest difference is that 3PMSF all-terrain tires are rated to provide better snow traction than your standard mud and snow (M+S) branded all-season tire.
An M+S tire doesn’t have a performance standard like 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake rated all-terrain tires. The M+S rating was originally introduced as a way to differentiate knobby bias ply tires from ones with rib treads, which were common on early radial car and light truck tires.
Eventually, it became a standard that showed a tire had all-season capabilities in comparison to summer tires. M+S rated tires are geometrically designed for better use on mud and packed snow, but it hasn’t been rigorously tested to meet severe winter condition requirements – like traction on ice, slush or cold dry roads. In other words, it’s a declaration from the tire manufacturer, saying that the tire can handle snow – but it falls short in truly evaluating the full spectrum of winter tire performance.
On the other hand, the 3PMSF rating is official and standardized by tire authorities. All-season tires with the mountain snowflake symbol have been rigorously tested and ready to handle cold weather conditions.
Best All-Terrain Tires with 3 Peak Mountain Snowflake Rating
This all-terrain tire was designed with a versatile driver in mind. Whether you drive a pickup, Jeep, or crossover vehicle, the Toyo Open Country AT III offers the severe snow service and general traction capabilities you need. The specialized tread compound evenly distributes void areas, and the pattern gives you excellent stability as you drive on or off the road. Whether you’re going home or heading off on an adventure, this tire will get you there.
- General lateral grooves to increase hydroplaning resistance
- 2-ply polyester casing
- Twin high-tensile steel belts
- Cut-and-chip resistant tread compound
- 3D Multi-Wave Sipes for wet traction and stability
Price: Between $110 and $357 per tire
Size: Available in 100+ sizes for 15” to 22” wheelsBF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tire is popular for a long list of reasons. Drivers predominantly choose it over competitors because its sidewalls are 20 percent tougher than the other BFGoodrich all-terrain tires. The tread compound is aggressive and optimized by computers to provide the best possible traction in mud, snow, rain, and dry circumstances.
- Race-proven CoreGard Technology
- A new tread pattern on the shoulder of the tire
- Increased protection in the upper sidewall
- Twin steel-belts reinforced with spirally wrapped nylon
- 3-poly polyester cord sidewall
Price: Between $159 and $487 per tire
Size: Available in 50+ sizes for 15” to 22” wheelsCooper Discoverer AT3 4S uses patented snow groove technology to grab the snow in its tread, offering improved snow-on-snow traction and above-average stopping abilities. While the channels remove water and slush, the all-terrain pattern provides off-road driving capabilities. Drivers of trucks and SUVs often choose this tire for its exceptional road comfort and durability.
- Durable 2-ply polyester casing
- High-strength steel belts for durability
- Circumferential Aqua Vac Channels
- Wide lateral notches to evacuate water
- Saw-tooth block edges in the outboard grooves
Price: Between $125 and $291 per tire
Size: Available in 40+ sizes for 15” to 22” wheelsFalken Wildpeak A/T Trail is specifically built for modern Crossover vehicles. It offers both ruggedness and durability, as well as comfort and quiet on most roads. The tire has been designed for excellent traction in wet, snowy, and dry conditions, and its unique construction delivers premium handling at all times.
- Crossover design for enhanced handling
- Optimized tread design
- 2-ply polyester construction
- Upper sidewall protection
- 3D Canyon Sipe Technology
- Increased tread depth
Price: Between $114 and $203 per tire
Size: Available in 30 sizes for 16” to 20” wheelsGoodyear Wrangler Trailrunner AT tire when they need high performance on highways as much as they need off-road capabilities. This tire offers a perfect balance between aggressive traction and long mileage, so you don’t have to sacrifice tire life for safety. Additionally, its tread pattern is optimized for noise reduction – even on rougher surfaces.
- Large interlocking tread blocks for durability
- Saw-tooth block edges
- Multi-angle sipes for traction
- Rugged stepped shoulder for deep mud and snow
Price: Between $109 and $249 per tire
Size: Available in 40+ sizes for 15” to 22” wheelsKenda Klever A/T2 KR628 is a premium all-terrain tire, used on 4×4 vehicles as well as light trucks and SUVs. If you want a quiet ride with excellent traction, this tire is an excellent candidate. It’s approved for severe winter-weather usage, and yet its performance is stellar in a variety of conditions.
- Biting edges for an aggressive performance
- Superior all-weather compound
- Interlocking tread blocks for good traction
- Kenda-optimized noise results
- Aggressive styling and tread design
Price: Between $162 and $213 per tire
Size: Available in two sizes for 15” to 20” wheelsYokohama Geolander A/T G015 for its durability, long tread life, and year-round traction capabilities. Designed with the highest level of traction and grip in mind, this tire offers a superb grip without sacrificing its on-road handling. You’ll experience great traction wherever you are, but it’s one of the best light truck tires for snow.
- Two-ply polyester cord casing
- Two high-tensile steel belts
- Circumferential grooves for water evacuation
- Hydroplaning resistance
- 3D sipes and lug grooves
Price: Between $121 and $370 per tire
Size: Available in sizes for 15” to 22” wheelsFalken Wildpeak A/T3W is a versatile choice for those who need an all-terrain tire that works on and off-road. It offers a quiet highway ride as well as excellent off-road traction. With Falken Tire’s best technology, this tire maintains a great performance and appearance throughout its entire life. Truck and SUV lovers will experience the tire’s many benefits during the winter months.
- Big central tread lugs
- Open shoulders bridged for stability
- Balanced performance capabilities
- Raised knobs on the upper sidewall
- Full-depth tread grooves for consistent performance
Price: Between $127 and $437 per tire
Size: Available in sizes for 15” to 22” wheelsGoodyear Wrangler Silent Armor delivers excellent traction in rugged circumstances. Drivers of pickups, vans, and SUVs choose this tire for its toughness, as well as its ability to handle dry, wet, and snowy conditions. You’ll get a smooth, quiet ride as well as safety wherever your journey may take you.
- Durawall rubber compound used in sidewalls
- Armor Zone of twin, high-tensile steel belts
- Reinforced by a layer of DuPont KEVLAR cord
- Resistance to abrasion and scuffing
- Rim guard to protect from off-roading accidents
Price: Between $69 and $122 per tire
Size: Available in sizes for 16” to 17” wheelsToyo Open Country C/T optimizes for control without sacrificing durability.
- A new tread rubber compound that balances cut/chip resistance
- Improved winter performance
- Aggress all-terrain tread pattern with unique deep tread grooves
- 3-ply construction
- Deeper siping and open notches
Price: Between $110 and $233 per tire
Size: Available in 23+ sizes for 16” to 20” wheels
Need Help Finding 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake Tires?
If you’re looking for off-road snow tires that will work in a variety of conditions, you’ve come to the right place. At Tires Easy, we’re committed to helping our drivers find the best tire for their particular vehicle. Whether you’re dealing with all-terrain tires in snow or rain, on gravel, dirt, or pavement, we know what’s best.
For expert advice on the best all-terrain truck tires, as well as fast and free shipping on orders, reach out today. We’ll answer any questions you have about 3-peak Mountain Snowflake tires, as well as other options that might suit your needs.