As it turns out, they make a big difference on both all-wheel drive and two-wheel drive vehicles.

Ever wondered what kind of difference winter tyres make on icy roads? A new video from North American tyre fitter Tire Rack has set out to do just that.

Although they're not really necessary in much of Australia, whether to bother with cold-weather specific rubber is a critical decision in frostier parts of the world.

This video compares summer and winter tyres on both all-wheel and rear-wheel drive vehicles, showing just how much of a difference the right rubber can make.

Of course, Tire Rack has a vested interest in winter tyres doing well, given it sells them. Still, the video is an interesting study in what a difference the right shoes can make for your car.

Check it out, and let us know what you think in the comments.