This time of year I get calls from potential first time winter / snow tire owners curious if a dedicated winter / snow tire fits their needs. It only took my first set of snow tires eleven years ago to convince me how different they truly are compared to an all-season tire. Since then, I've installed winter / snow tires on every one of my vehicles during the winter. Below you can find answers to some of the more popular questions regarding snow tires.
Will I benefit from a dedicated winter / snow tire where I live?
The primary concern of our customers is that they don't want to get stuck in the snow during the winter months. Cities that see minimal snow fall and are located at the outside edges of snowbelts, are typically fine using all-season tires. However, those who live deeper into a snowbelt region, tires play by a different set of rules.
We all know that tires are a compromise. One tire can't be the fastest on the track, most controllable in the snow and longest wearing. By design, all-season tires are a compromise intended to provide acceptable traits under a wide variety of conditions. However, that compromised goal prevents them from being a master of any one of them. Only dedicated winter / snow tires are designed to excel in the colder temperatures, slush, snow and on ice. These tires deliver much better snow and ice performance than an all-season tire due to their tread designs and tread compounds being engineered to master winter conditions.
Should I install four or two winter / snow tires?
Today's winter tires provide more ice and snow traction than ever before. The technology used to develop the tread designs and tread compounds has evolved beyond what you may have used previously. Every one of our tire manufacturers recommend a full set of four dedicated winter tires be used on rear-wheel, front-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicles. This is because if you use two dissimilar types of tires on your vehicle, you'll have a vehicle that has a split personality. One end of the vehicle will react differently verses the other in dry, wet, slushy and snowy conditions. This is emphasized most in emergency situations when you need the most control. The vehicle may understeer in one condition and oversteer in another. It's preferable to keep your vehicles handling as consistently as possible by matching all four tires. Our customers who have matched their tires tell us they're glad they made the extra investment in four winter tires so they can retain the most control of their vehicle through winter's challenges.
Isn't driving cautiously enough?
That question verifies that you recognize the risk you feel when not using winter tires. Why not take some of the tension out of your winter driving and provide yourself with a greater margin of control to avoid the unexpected. Not only can you pose a risk to yourself, but all of the other vehicles around you.
I have AWD, is that enough?
Having an all-wheel drive vehicle definitely has its advantages during the winter season. However, its advantage can be multiplied by using dedicated snow tires. All of the reasons that encouraged you to select an all-wheel drive car are the same reasons that snow tires will make your winter driving safer and more enjoyable. It's also important to note that advancements in ABS and traction control do not provide more traction. They only help prevent drivers from over braking or overpowering the available traction of their tires.
I heard dedicated winter / snow tires are expensive. Is this true?
Winter tires may be one of the most economical purchases you can make. We have excellent prices on tires, alloy wheels, steel wheels and complete Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Packages. Using winter tires will extend the life of your summer or all-season tires. The summer and all-season tires won't wear out sitting in the garage or basement while the winter tires and wheels are on the vehicle. Using winter wheels will protect Original Equipment or aftermarket alloy wheels from the harsh realities of winter: salt, slush and grime.
Create a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package today to help you have the easiest winter driving experience you can have!