Winter Tires -- Overrated?
First off, let’s clear up one misconception.
“Winter tires” don’t mean the heavy, clunky, noisy “snow tires” that were on the back of your uncle’s Ford wagon 40 years ago. Today’s winter tires rival the best touring or passenger tires in terms of road noise, handling and ride quality. But are they worth it?
If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, the answer is a resounding “yes.”
For many drivers, all-season tires make good sense. They’re quiet, they handle well and have a forgiving ride. Unfortunately they’re a tradeoff as well – jack-of-all-trades and master of none. For most vehicles, two inches of snow is too much for all-season tires to still deliver traction.
Winter tires, on the other hand, are designed with a rubber formulation that stays flexible in low temperatures for enhanced traction. Their tread pattern is more aggressive and deeper, designed for snow and slush, and they can effectively evacuate water and slush from the tire’s contact patch to avoid hydroplaning. Winter tires also feature a dense network of sipes, tiny slits in the tread surface that act as thousands of extra edges to bite into soft snow for traction.
After an ice storm, it’s best to just stay home if possible since no tire performs well on ice. If you have to get out, though, winter tires give you a fighting chance on the slick stuff. Many winter tires come pre-drilled for studs, allowing a dealer to easily hammer metal studs into the tread for extra traction on ice. NOTE: Always remember to check your local laws in regards to studded tires. Some states don’t allow them, and if they do, only within a certain time period on the calendar.
There’s one important thing to remember about your winter tires. Once temps rise above 40 degrees or so, remember to change them for all-season tires again. The soft rubber compound of winter tires wears very quickly in warmer weather.
Are you ready for winter? Make an appointment with Allen Tire & Service – we’ve got a set of winter tires that are perfect for your vehicle and your budget!