It’s that time of year again. The leaves are falling, the temperatures are dropping and snow is either here or on its way depending on where you live. And that means you should think about putting a set of winter tires on your car.
While some of us may think we can get around fine with “all season” tires, it’s like the equivalent of wearing Air Force 1’s in the winter – it might work for a while, but you’re bound to fall flat on your ass sooner or later.
So why exactly should you invest in winter tires and how exactly do four round black rubber things make such a difference in the winter?
Firstly, all tires have a temperature range they work best in. Summer tires are made of harder compounds and grip best when the road is warm, while winter tires are made of softer compounds and work best when the road is cold. All season tires, as you probably guessed, like it somewhere in-between. The magical number here is 7 degrees Celsius – that’s when winter tires begin to gain grip, all seasons lose grip, and summer tires become completely useless.
And as we enter into November, when morning temperatures typically hover just above freezing, the pavement will be very cold. With winter tires installed on your vehicle, the additional grip will allow you to stop faster and make turns without sliding out. Winter tires also have more aggressive tread patterns with grooves and channels designed to provide traction in snow and icy conditions, allowing you to stop quicker on wet roads and accelerate in deep snow without getting stuck.
But before you rush out to your local tire shop it’s important to consider what types of road conditions you will be driving in – as all winter tires aren’t created equal. In rural areas, where roads aren’t plowed nearly as often you might want to think about an aggressive winter tire designed specifically to handle heavy snow. If you live in the city, where the streets are plowed more often you might prefer a tire that performs better in dry conditions and offers a more comfortable ride.
Whether it’s a smooth riding winter tire for your daily commuter or a dedicated snow tire that transforms your SUV into a snow storm warrior– you’ll be far better off than the car stuck on the side of the road with all-season-tires.