What You Should Know About Snow Tires

If you live somewhere that gets a lot of snow, you should have snow tires instead of all-season tires. They allow you to drive safely and effectively not just over snow, but ice and rain as well. Here are some things to know about snow tires and why you need them.

How are they different from regular tires?

The main difference between snow tires and regular tires is that their tread is different. The tread patterns are designed so that they can bite right into snow and ice when you drive over it. It prevents you from gliding across the snow, but digging deep into it when you drive over it. Snow tires are also made from a soft rubber compound that has better flexibility in cold weather. This lets them become flexible and actually adjust themselves to the surface of the road you are driving on.

Are all-season tires just as effective?

While all-season tires are okay if you don't live in an area with a lot of snow and ice, they are not as effective as snow tires. If you live somewhere that gets freezing temperatures more than a couple days a year, you really should switch to snow tires during the winter. All-season tires are able to handle some cold conditions, but are also meant to handle extra hot conditions, dry roads, and rain. They are okay for the occasional icy roads, but not an entire season of snow and black ice.

How many tires need snow tires?

Any time you put new tires on your vehicle, you should always put them on all four wheels, including snow tires. While it is tempting to only put them on the two drive wheels, this is going to cause some problems. Vehicles that have different tires will drive awkwardly and won't have the right type of grip in snow and ice. You will also have some issues with braking since not all four tires are made of the same material. It is best to make the investment for all four snow tires at the same time.

How long do you leave snow tires on for?

Snow tires are not all-weather tires, so they should only be used during the winter when snow and ice is common. Have the tires removed (at center like Atlantic Tire & Service) when the weather warms up and put regular tires on your car. If you keep them on year-round, the soft compounds might start wearing out quickly in warmer weather conditions. By next winter, you might have to replace them once again. Instead, remove them at the end of the cold season and store them properly for the next winter season.