Originally Posted by 2011 SE
-Knowing that longevity is important to me (I don't want to buy a new set of winter tires every other year), are there any brands/styles you can recommend?
-Will highway driving on salty roads greatly diminish the life of my winter tires?
-When would you recommend switching into and out of my winter set of tires each year, and why?
-Should winter tires only be used below a certain outdoor temperature or speed in order to prevent premature wear?
Excellent questions that I'm glad you brought up although my answers will sound similar to DarkSpork (<- thanks for chiming in!).
All of these questions are related as the timing and conditions you run your tires in will effect wear. I've found that the Michelin Xi2
will offer the best tread life and the newest Bridgestone Blizzak WS70
boasts the same.
I have not heard anything or seen any evidence to indicates that salt will cause additional wear.
It is best to run dedicated winter tires in temperatures below 45 degrees to prevent excessive wear. A lot of people call and ask if they can be used year round and the answer is yes BUT you might only get a year out of them which just isn't worth it. So if you decide to make the leap to winter tires then try to only have them on when the temperature is consistently less than 45 degrees. This obviously varies based on the area. The rule of thumb here in northern Indiana is Thanksgiving to Tax Day.
The why is because the winter tire rubber compound is softer than an all season compound. In warmer weather you can literally see it pealing off.