When is the Best Time to Install Snow Tires?

Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package
Like it or not, summer is nearly over and Old Man Winter is waiting in the wings. For anyone that has used dedicated snow tires in the past, the tire's aggressive tread pattern and specialized rubber compounds make driving through snow and ice much easier than they could ever have imagined. As a result, we often have people ask if they can get a jump on the first winter storm and install their tires as early as possible. While the added traction and sense of security is always a good thing, installing your snow tires too early in the season will often diminish their effectiveness when they're needed the most.

Most dedicated snow tires are manufactured with much more tread depth than an all-season tire to allow additional room for snow to pack in for the best traction. When temperatures are in the 50s (Fahrenheit) and warmer, the "taller" tread blocks will tend to have much more movement at higher speeds and will make the tire "squirm" and feel slow when reacting to steering input. In addition, the specialized rubber compounds that help a dedicated snow tire grip in cold temperatures becomes much softer in the warmer temperatures and will further contribute to tread squirm while affecting its durability.
For the best grip and longest life, snow tires will be at their best when temperatures reach the lower 40s (Fahrenheit), and should be replaced with an all-season or summer compound when temperatures are above that range consistently. For most parts of the United States that translates from late November through early April.

For more insight, take a look at the frequently asked questions about winter tires. And once you've finished, take a look at building a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package!

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