How Much Improvement Do New Tires Make in the Snow? The Suzuki Samurai Gets New Rubber

As expected, new tires make a big difference

We have received a lot of requests, and I mean a┬álot of requests, to put new tires on our 1987 Suzuki Samurai. To be fair, the tires that came with it weren’t exactly grand. They were a set of Firestone FR710 all-season tires. Yes, they were mud and snow rated, but the tires were also quite old, and well-worn. In fact, we did a whole video testing the Samurai’s snow performance with these tires. Check that out below:

The results were honestly quite scary. So, spoke to a representative at Yokohama to see if we could get some some fresh rubber. Before long, we received a new set of five brand new Geolandar all-terrains at our office. We figured it was time to see how much new rubber affected the Suzuki’s snow performance.

Setting the baseline

Before we get into the performance on the new tires, let’s reminisce about the old tires’ performance. We did a number of tests in the snow, including a 0-30 MPH acceleration test in 4×2 as well as 4×4 modes. Plus, a 30-0 MPH braking test in 4×4. Obviously the 4×4 acceleration test resulted in a much better time: 15.04 seconds 0-30 MPH in the snow.

The braking test was truly terrifying, though. To stop from 30-0 MPH took roughly 218 feet (measured using my own actual feet). New rubber was absolutely necessary.

Round 2

Once we received our tires, Nathan loaded them up and had the Firestones replaced with our fresh new Yokohama Geolandars. Fortunately, some fresh snow hit the area, so we headed back out to get some new results.

First was the 0-30 acceleration run. While the new tires provided much better grip, the Suzuki did not become a remarkably quicker vehicle all of a sudden. The new 0-30 time: 14.18 seconds. A slight improvement, but nothing mind-blowing.

However, the braking test yielded some much more impressive results. Nathan set off, hit 30 MPH, slammed the brakes and much to my surprise came to a relatively quick stop. Sure, there was a little ‘sideways action’, as Nathan called it. But, nothing that felt unsafe. The new stopping distance? 59 feet. The new tires helped the Samurai cut its 30-0 MPH distance by about 75 percent from the original tires.

Moab Next?

Clearly the Geolanders made a huge improvement in snowy conditions. However, we are not done putting these tires to the test just yet. The next part of the plan is to take the Suzuki back to Moab, Utah and see how well the Geolandars do with some of the toughest terrain this side of the Mississippi.

In the meantime, stay tuned to TFLcar.com for the latest news, views & real-world reviews and many more videos with the Suzuki Samurai in the near future.