Posted on: Dec. 08, 2017 in Uncategorized

If you live in an area where it gets cold during the winter, you may want to consider getting winter tires for your car. For a time, most people talked about snow tires, those specifically designed for travelling on snow covered roads. While those can be useful, they do not address the fact that ordinary tires, both summer tires and all-season tires, do not help your car travel on cold winter roads that are not snow covered.


Snow Tires vs Winter Tires

Despite their similar sounding names, snow and winter tires are not the same thing. Snow tires typically have a deeper tread and something known as siping. Sipes are thin lines cut into the tire treads that help the tire stick better to wet and slippery roads. They also wick moisture away, which helps the adhesion. However, snow tires are made of the same type of rubber as all-weather and summer tires, and it’s a rubber that hardens in cold weather. This reduces the effectiveness of the deep treads and siping.

Winter tires, on the other hand, are made from a different kind of rubber compound that uses silica-infusion technology. This kind of tire sticks to cold surfaces, both wet and dry much better than traditional tires.

All-Season Is Not Really for All Weather

All-Season tires only work effectively in areas where winter isn’t all that cold. Because they have a standard tread and are not made to react well to frozen road surfaces, they will not preform as well when the temperature dips below freezing.

This reliance on all-season tires is also one of the reasons that all-wheel drive isn’t always an effective mechanism for dealing with snowy, ice or just plain cold roads. All-wheel drive does allow a car to get better traction for forward motion and braking, but it doesn’t grip the road surface as well as winter tires do. In essence, they are helpful but they are certainly not the only thing you can do to combat winter driving.

Are Winter Tires Worth It?

In most cases, you’ll want to have a professional install your winter tires and balance them appropriately. Once the weather starts warming up, you can have the all-season tires put back on and balanced. This means for the average car owner, you’ll have to add two more maintenance items to your car care checklist. You’ll also have to purchase the other tires and have room to store the set that’s not in use.

In the United States, winter tires are not mandatory. Some areas such as northern Europe and Quebec do require winter tires and have seen reductions in winter crashes. That doesn’t necessarily mean the U.S. will adopt such standards, but it does show that there is evidence that having the correct tires for the weather may be worth the time and cost.

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