Not sure whether or not you need winter tires? Consider the typical winter weather conditions in your area and ask yourself these questions:
- Do you have to drive in icy conditions?
- Is the snowfall significant or consistent?
- Do you wait to leave the house until the roads on your route have been cleared?
- Does your area consistently see temperatures in the low 40’s during?
If you answered ‘yes’ to one or more these questions, snow or winter tires may be a wise investment for your driving safety.
What Makes Winter Tires Different Than Regular Tires?
Tires designed for winter driving offer superior grip when driving, stopping, and cornering. The tread is designed to bite into snow and ice, while channeling water away from the contact surface. They are also made from softer rubber, which is formulated to stay pliable at freezing temperatures.
It is important to note that the soft rubber used to make winter tires causes the tire tread to wear faster than all-season tires. For this reason you need to switch back to your all-season tires in the spring, your investment should last for several seasons.
Now is the Time to Buy!
Fall is the time to shop for new winter tires. Retailers begin to stock the latest models in the fall, so now is when you will find the best selection. If your tire retailer does not have the tires you want in the size you need, retailers can usually order them and install them when they come in.
Winter tires are usually manufactured during the previous summer, so quantities are often limited. To be sure you’re prepared before winter weather hits, start shopping now. You will also be more likely to get the tires you want for a competitive price.
Things to Keep in Mind
- Dependable winter tires have a mountain/snowflake symbol on the sidewall. It assures you that they passed an industry test for severe snow use.
- Not all winter tires are the same. Make sure you get the right shape and size to suit your vehicle make, model, and year.
- Know the laws and regulations that specify what is acceptable in your area. For example, some states have minimum tread requirements or do not allow studded winter tires.
- When comparing prices, be sure to consider the cost of installation. You may see a great deal on a set of winter tires online, but after you factor in installation costs, the deal might not be that great.
- As with any tire purchase, keep in mind that it is safest and best for your vehicle to buy a full set of four winter tires when possible.