Why Snow and Winter Tires?
As we’re knee-deep in snow (at least in certain parts of the US), it is important to know the differences between winter and snow tires and all-season tires. While many drivers think it’s okay to just keep on keeping on with their all-season tires, the truth of the matter is, they’re missing out on the many benefits of winter tires. I’ve partnered with Ada Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler, and Ram dealership to bring you an interesting discussion on snow and winter tires versus all season tires.
Do I Really Need Winter Tires?
While there are many variables that can play a factor into this answer, a good rule of thumb to follow is this: If the winter temperatures where you live are regularly below 45°F, you should invest in a set of four snow tires. If you happen to live in the Southern US, where it is unlikely to snow or rarely snows, your all-season tires are perfectly fine to keep.
What Exactly Are the Differences?
All-season tires are built to handle a variety of road conditions – dry roads, wet roads, and some light snow. Winter tires are built specifically to perform in winter conditions like low temperatures, ice, slush, and snow. The tread compound of all-season tires can harden in low temperatures, so there’s less traction between the road and your tires. But winter tires use special rubber compounds that stay pliable in the cold, giving them a better grip and improved braking, even in extreme conditions.
Here are ways that winter tires are better:
- Buying winter tires can provide enhanced braking performance in snowy & icy conditions
- These tires perform well in all types of winter conditions – snow, ice, sleet, slush, wet and even cold dry roads
- Winter tires feature tread designs made specifically for ice, snow and other severe winter conditions
- They have specially formulated tread rubber that stays flexible at low temperatures for better vehicle control
- The aggressive tread on a winter tire reduces snow build-up
- Most drivers find that winter tires provide a sense of confidence and control in challenging winter weather conditions
- The treads have biting edges for greater traction on wet and icy roads
- Tread compounds are soft in the cold, leading to a sturdier grip
- The Severe Snow Conditions Symbol on the sidewall specifies that the tire adheres to a snow traction standard according to the RMA
Can I use my winter tires all year round?
I wouldn’t recommend it. When used in warm weather, the softer rubber compound can wear out faster than the compound used in all-season tires. If you used your winter tires year-round, it would end up costing you more than switching between two sets of tires.
So here are all the reasons why you should switch to winter/snow tires during the cold, snowy, and icy months. I hope that this discussion has helped you make a better decision for your vehicle and traveling habits.