What Are Snow Tires?
Why Should I Put Snow Tires On My Car?
When winter rolls around and ice and snow begin to accumulate on the roads, it's time to consider swapping out your current tires for a set of reliable snow tires. Even "all season" radials should be replaced with tires that are optimized for slick ice and frozen snow. Regular everyday tires can be compared to all-purpose sneakers, while snow tires are more like heavy duty snow boots. Whereas sneakers may be able to get the job done, it's much safer to use something that's specifically designed for winter weather conditions. Without proper grip and traction, other safety components of your car like traction control and anti-lock brakes won't work as well as they should - if they work at all. If you've already paid for these additional safety measures on your vehicle, snow tires are a smart investment that will help you get the most from your money.
What's Different About Snow Tires?
The difference between snow tires and regular all season tires is found in the tread pattern. The tread is the system of grooves cut into the rubber that help give the tire traction and grip on the road. Winter tire treads are specially engineered so that they bite down into snow and ice to give you better handling and more control in bad conditions. Snow tires are also made with softer rubber which allows them to conform to the road while maintaining flexibility in frigid temperatures. Normal tires are made with harder rubber that has a better chance of slipping and sliding on winter roads.
Do I Need Four Snow Tires Or Can I Get Away With Two?
When installing snow tires on your car it's always recommended that you replace all four tires with winter treads instead of just two. Many people will put two snow tires on the drive wheels of their car (in the front of FWD cars or the rear of RWD cars), but this doesn't accomplish as much as you'd think. If you put snow tires on the front of your FWD car, you're more likely to spin out when cornering or braking since their is a grip imbalance between the front and rear of your car. If you put snow tires solely in the rear of your car, the front wheels won't be able to steer well no matter how much grip and traction the rear wheels have.
Can I Use My Snow Tires Year Round?
While it is technically possible to leave your snow tires on for the spring and summer, it's not recommended. Since snow tires are made from softer rubber, they wear down quicker - especially in warm weather. Rapid wear is the last thing you want on your snow tires since they depend on their deep treads to bite into snow! Snow tires also tend to be a bit noisier, so you may want to switch them out for a smoother and quieter ride when the snow has melted for good. The fact that you have snow tires also means you can get a pair of good summer tires that will provide a smooth ride and better traction in the rain during warmer months.
Snow tires are an excellent investment that will provide you and your family with an extra layer of protection in the dangerous driving conditions often seen in the winter. Talk to your local tire shop to find out more about these special radials as well as other tip for safe driving on snow and ice.