With the weather forecast dumping more and more snow on most of us, we had a few emails about getting around better in these winter conditions. The first question we asked was “do you have snow tires?” To our surprise many of you don’t. We figured a quick run down of what snow tires are and the difference between them and all season or summer tires would be a great place to start!
Snow tires (also known as winter tires) have tread patterns specifically designed to dig down and bite into snow and ice, plus they are made from softer rubber compounds that retain their flexibility in cold weather, allowing the tire to better conform to the surface of the road. (Regular tires tend to get hard and brittle in cold temperatures.) As a result, winter tires keep a better grip on snowy and icy surfaces than regular all-season or summer tires. Grip is critical — not just to avoid getting stuck, but to ensure that the car can stop and steer.
All-season (also known as all-weather) tires are designed to cope with all sorts of conditions, including dry roads and rain, but are not optimized for any one condition. They are generally made from harder materials that don’t conform to the road surface as well in low temperatures.
We suggest buying an extra set of wheels for your snow tires, that way it’s much easier to swap out snow tires for your summer tires, you just have to swap the wheels out vs. take the wheels off, dismounting the tire, remounting the different tire on the wheel and mounting back on the vehicle. So much more labor involved that way, having another set of wheels will save you money.
Think of your vehicle as yourself, (body and machine) meaning you don’t wear flip flops or sneakers to go out in the snow, so why let your vehicle?