One of the harshest conditions to drive is in winter when the snow makes it harder to control vehicles at higher or regular speeds. Winter weather and its harsh effects can take a toll on any vehicle. The only way to ensure efficiency and absolute safety when driving in these conditions is to use high-end tires fit for winter usage.
For vehicle owners who live in areas which experience frequent snow, frigid temps and considerable storms, snow tires are the answer for a safe ride outside. They tend to provide better traction in inclement conditions due to advanced tread designs and rubberized designs. While many vehicle owners prefer using all-season tires for this purpose, snow tires are specially equipped to grip the snow and push water away for better control.
What are the differences between all-season tires and snow tires?
Many vehicle owners think that using all-season tires will solve the requirement of using snow tires in general. This is a big mistake, as there are varied differences between the two tires. All-season tires are great at handling a wide range of weather conditions but do not excel in any one condition. Winter tires also have more jagged and biting edges in the tread which increase the surface area, allowing more traction in the snow. They are also made from special rubber compounds which maintain the tires’ flexibility when travelling in cold conditions.
Factors to consider when looking for snow tires
When shopping for snow tires, there are a few factors that need to be taken into consideration at all times.
1. Winter driving conditions
It is important to check and consider all the aspects of the typical winter road conditions of the area that the vehicle will travel in. This also includes how much the vehicle is required to commute and any potential trouble spots during harsh wind conditions. This is important during the selection process as different models are good for different situations.
2. Conducting thorough research
There are a myriad of tire brands that offer winter or snow tires with a ton of different designs meant for different driving conditions such as normal, metro commute and mountain driving just to name a few. Different weather conditions such as cold wet highways, deep snow roads and others play a key factor here as well. Vehicle owners should always look for tires that match the needs outlined beforehand.
3. Checking tire treads
Tire depth plays an important role when determining a vehicle’s safe stopping distance. Tires with low treads can lead to a vehicle getting a shorter stopping distance. Regular checks must be done on existing tires when using them for a significant period. Vehicle owners should also check the treads of any new tires they buy to ensure they are getting what they requested.
4. Stud-less or studded
There are two types of snow tires to choose from – studded or stud-less. Studded tires have metal studs in them, which are included with the intention of helping the vehicle with handling and traction. However, this also produces more noise, is more expensive and requires frequent changing compared to stud-less counterparts.
5. Purchasing an extra set of snow tires
It is also recommended that vehicle owners purchase an extra set of snow tires with rims. They should not risk mounting and dismounting tires on their vehicle’s current wheels. Doing so can have adverse effects such as accelerated wear and tear, as well as compromising newer technology associated with the current tires such as a tire pressure monitoring system.
6. Considering the time of year when purchasing new tires
To get some of the best deals on quality and premium snow tires, vehicle owners should take note of the time of the year. Most tire dealers are ready for the rush for winter tires before the season sets in. This is when one can get a great deal on different types of snow tires.
7. In the case of FWD or RWD
Many vehicle owners think that it’s a good idea to choose two different sets of wheels if they have FWD or RWD in their vehicles. The answer is far from different. Doing so will negatively affect the car’s balanced grip and control as it will force each set of tires to respond differently to driving conditions. Using similar tires on all four wheels is important for achieving the optimal balanced grip, handling and overall performance, no matter what the weather conditions.
Winter tires provide more control compared to all-season tires wherever there is snow. This is because they are designed to maintain better grips and traction. The soft rubber of the tires allows them to stay pliable and maintain contact with the road even in the snowiest of conditions.