Winter Tire Questions (5th Gen 4Runner)


Hello all. I have been thinking this issue over for some time, and have only had mild success finding good information online.

My 2011 4runner Trail currently has Cooper AXT's (stock size) on them...they've done fairly well in the warmer months. During the winter months, they've performed adequately, but certainly aren't the best when it comes to snow/ice traction (especially in the slushy stuff that is half-melted). Case and point: my driveway is ~25 degree slope for about 40ft...when it's covered in snow and ice, my 4runner can sometimes make it up, other times I need to get out and clear the driveway.

I am interested in some back-country exploration and skiing for this coming winter, so I would like to get a tire that can reliably get me up my driveway and out and about on snowy backroads.

Looking at tire rack, I've found only a few options for studless winter tires:

The ones that seem like logical choices to me are the Blizzak DM-V1's (which seem like a more tame winter tire with a lower weight rating) and the Blizzak W965's (definitely look much more aggressive and have higher weight ratings).

Can anyone here advise on one tire over the other?

I have also contemplated switching out my Cooper AXT's and getting a more aggressive all-season offroad tire (BFG's maybe). I have generally heard that the all-seasons, while a good compromise, aren't nearly as good as dedicated winter tires. Can anyone give feedback on that?


W965 has good ratings and I believe is their commercial line of winter tire. I have Ice-X on my 05 4Runner. I was between those, W965 and Blizzaks. There are several tires at the top of the heap it seems, and around the same price. This helped me get started

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I can vouch for the DM-V1s. I put them on at the beginning of last winter. While many tires will perform well their first winter out and I've only used these for one winter, it was a heavy winter here in OH. Other tires I've used in the past (all ATs) were better or worse by some degree but these DM-V1's will be on anything I own in the winter for the foreseeable future. My one exception would be very deep snow in which case Wrangler Duratracs ATs were quite impressive for this when I worked in Yosemite.
My one heartache with the Tacoma has always been that it is a butt-puckerer when driving on hardpack or ice. More so than anything else I've ever driven. The DM-V1 put me at ease.

There is no holy grail of tires but if your skiing trips are likely to be on anything less than six inches of snow, the DM-V1s should do well for you. They are strictly a winter tire.


Rez roamer
I am an obsessive tire observer. When walking the dogs, I look at the tires on every single car/truck/SUV I pass. Around here (SW CO), the most common winter tire I see on trucks and SUVs is the Hankook i-pike RW, with the Blizzak DM-V1 a very close second. More Hankooks on 4-runners, sequoias, and more Blizzaks on Landcruisers (no idea why, but it's what I see).

But, pretty much all the *trucks* around here have AT tires year-round (more winter tires on SUVs). I rarely see a truck with snow tires. I see A LOT of Dynapros, AT3s, BFG AT/KOs, and Duratracs, and Cooper M+S. I also see a ton of Firestone Destination A/Ts, but that seems like a highway tire to me. Among the folks that I know actually get out in the ********, seems the Duratracs are the favorites. Lots of BFGs, but also a whole lot of them that never see anything other than highway/town use. The guys with Cooper M+S seem to run them until they're completely bald. These are all just observations. Makes me think the Duratracs must be good. All I can say from experience is that I really, really like the DynaproATMs in snow, far better than I liked the Cooper AT3. I have never felt like I was missing anything by not having snow tires, whether it's deep, fresh snow, or packed highway snow-crap. Maybe that is why most trucks have AT tires all year. That, and, well, let's be realistic here, the money. Tires are expensive.

I am very interested in hearing real world comments/assessments on the Cooper ATW. It *looks* like the perfect answer. Don't know anyone who has a set. I'm sure I'll start seeing them this winter (if we actually have one this year).


Rez roamer
..... the DM-V1s should do well for you. They are strictly a winter tire.
funny thing about that is that I see pretty much everybody that runs them keeps them on all year here. For that matter, about 2/3 of the SUVs or Subarus with snow tires run them all year, too, regardless of specific snow tire choice. Must be that $ thing I mentioned above, or just general apathy/laziness/ignorance.


What about the Goodyear Duratrac? They're pretty killer on the snow and ice for an AT, and they're studable. If you're stuck on a dedicated snow tire- Firestone Winterforce over the Blizzak. The Winterforce is a snow tire. The Blizzak is half a snow tire, half a crappy all-terrain.


I drive vehicles with the DM-V1, WS965, Cooper M+S (studded and not) for work, and have X-Ice on my wife's Subaru, Duratracs on my current and previous truck. Here is my take on them.

DM-V1 and X-Ice. = Best on ice and hard pack, great in cold deep snow (but most tires are) OK in slush, surprisingly good on dry or wet road, awful in mud. Best choice for lighter vehicles that you will drive at high speeds on non-snowy roads. X-Ice seems to have a more gradual and predictable point at which it breaks loose. Both wear well, I got about 44k miles on the subi's X-Ice in winter and an additional 4k of summer driving out of them.

WS-965 I run these on a variety of vehicles, best all around winter tire for all conditions, especially on heavy vehicles (have them on 1 ton vans, mini-busses plus some lighter vehicles). Pretty good on a dry road, good on wet roads, decent in mud (A/T equivalent), wear well. These tend to stay on our vehicles longer into the shoulder season and I often retire these tires due to age rather than tread wear, but these vehicles only get about 3-5k per year on the snow tires.

Cooper M+S = OK tires all around, god on ice with studs, not good on ice without studs, good in wet snow and mud, loud on dry roads. I have these on two 1 ton plow trucks, seem to be wearing well, but these trucks don't see a lot of miles and 90% of the miles on the snow tires are on snow at plowing speed. Also tow a HEAVY trailer with these on occasionally and they hold up well.

Duratrac (235/85/R16E) = Year round on my Taco (previously had a set on a ranger) Excellent in wet snow, almost Blizzak (but not quit) good on dry ice and hard pack, decent in mud, good on wet roads, acceptable dry road performance. Don't like to swap tires on my truck so for me these tires are the best balance of having a wheel that performs well in winter conditions (5+ months here), good offroad on all surfaces, and decent on wet roads. Dry road performance is right where you would expect, somewhere between an AT and a mud tire. Duratracs do seem to wear more quickly than some AT's I have had, and are sensitive to alignment and suspension problems (cupping). I like them, but haven't compared to other options in the beefier AT type of tires.

For upstate NY, dedicated snow tire on a 4Runner I think I would go with the WS965, especially if someone other than me would be driving it. But if I was going to be offroad occasionally in winter in wetter, muddier conditions, I might lean toward the Duratrac.


I run Dm-v1 on my Tacoma in the winter, we do trips at Christmas and usually hit snowstorms on the highways. The blizzard are hard to beat, I've never had a moment of doubt with them, and have had them on dry/wet/gravel/snow/ice.


So I am inclined to do some back road exploration and potentially even some mild off-roading this winter.

Would I be better off with a good M+S AT tire (like Cooper or Duratrac) and maybe having a pair of chains as backup?

Honestly, while I know my current tires aren't that great in the snow, I'd much prefer to have one set of tires rather than two sets.
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New member
I have a 14 Trail, and use a set of slightly above stock size Duratracs year round (275/65/18). If your going the AT route for a general year round tire, it is the best I have used for winter. I live in Buffalo NY - last year we got absolutely pounded by snow, and I really didnt have any issues. My drive way is about 1/3 mile long with some steep grades as well.