Just like all-season and summer performance tires, dedicated winter / snow tires contain a release compound and lubricant in the top layer of the rubber compound. The purpose of this thin, slippery layer is to aid the tires in coming out of their molds during the tire production process. Without this release compound, the still-hot rubber can stick to the inside of the mold as the tires cure.
To wear off this layer while maintaining safe traction, it's best to spend the first few hundred miles of driving on your new tires taking it a bit easier than usual. Use more gentle acceleration and braking, and avoid taking corners and turns at high speeds. For more information on properly driving on your tires when they're new, read "Breaking In New Winter Tires."
During the break-in period of driving with your new winter tires, it can take some time to get used to their different handling characteristics. As you will notice, most winter tires have a slower steering response and less dry grip than most all-season and performance tires. While this may be a bit unsettling at first, you will naturally adjust to the different feel as you put more miles on the tires.
The extra tread depth, special compounding and more aggressive tread patterns associated with snow tires may be a step down in handling in the dry compared to non-winter tires. However, they offer much better traction in snow, slush and on ice than other types of tires. When winter driving conditions are at their worst, there's no substitute for a set of winter tires.
Visit our Winter / Snow Tire Decision Guide for assistance in finding the right winter tire for your vehicle.