Why Winter Tires

Posted on: 16 December 2017

Driving in the winter can be difficult. The snow and ice can make your tires spin, and you can lose traction. This is why most people who experience harsh winters prepare by getting winter tires for the season. 

Who needs winter tires?

Anyone living in an area that gets a fair amount of snow and ice throughout the year should definitely get winter tires. You will also benefit from winter tires in an area that gets below forty degrees. Remember to stop at your local tire shop if you plan to take a trip in an area with these weather conditions as well. 

What makes winter tires different?

Winter tires offer better traction, and they 

Manufacturers design winter tires to keep snow out of the thread of the tire, allowing better traction. They do this by using deeper threads and specialized thread patterns. Specifically, winter tires have wider spaces between the lugs, and the lugs have sharper edges. These edges help move snow out of the way and cut through ice rather than allowing the snow and ice to get caught in the thread. 

Winter tires also use special materials that work better in the winter. Most summer and all reasons use a rubber compound that becomes rigid when the temperature drops causing a loss of traction. Winter tires use technology that makes the interior of the tires stronger and the outside more flexible. Some winter tires also utilize zinc oxide or wax to allow the tire to breathe. 

You can get either studded or studless winter tires. Studded tires offer the best traction, but they require deeper threads. You need to make sure that the tire can fit your car. You also want to check for any restrictions on studded tires in your state. Studless winter tires will generally provide adequate traction for the season. 

All-season vs. winter tires

It's important to remember that all-season tires are not made for extreme weather conditions, and they will not provide the same amount of traction that winter tires will provide. All-season tires are not an alternative to winter tires! A tire marked M&S (which means mud and snow) may offer better traction than your summer tires, but you want to look for tires with the Mountain Snowflake symbol.

Winter tires wear down more quickly in the summer months meaning you'll have to replace them anyway. The flexibility also gives the driver less traction in the summer.