Winter is slowly on it’s way once again. Whether you like it or not, it’s time to prep your vehicle. But what exactly needs to be done? What’s the cheapest way you can prep your car and still be safe? Is it worth it to prep if your car is running smoothly? These are some of the questions we will tackle in the following weeks as we look at all the safety measures to take for winter.
If you’re on a tight budget like me the thought of getting new tires can be a daunting and frustrating experience. My first thought is always, “If I have all-season tires why does it matter if I get strictly ‘winter’ tires?” The answer really depends on how much control you want to have over your vehicle. If you don’t like to constantly be fishtailing down the highway on your way home in a blizzard while driving at 15 mph then you should probably think, or at least entertain the idea, of getting new tires. It’s here that I too would inwardly groan. Is there really that big of a difference between all-season and winter tires? “All-season” certainly sounds like it would have more benefits than a tire that can only perform in one season.
Let’s break down the difference between the two tires to the left. First off, when looking at any tire there are three things to keep in mind and it all has to do with tread. The pattern, depth, and compound of the tread. These are key points for any tire, because each variation changes how it will perform on the road and weather. The pattern of a winter tire matters because it needs to be good with low traction conditions. The depth of the tread will determine how much slush and snow it pushes away from the car. The compound of the tire will tell you how much grip the tire will have on the road.
The deep groove in the center of the winter tire, shows the depth. The cross hair pieces will thrust the snow and slush away from the car and clear the way. It might be difficult to see, but the all season tire seems smooth to the touch, while the winter tire has all sorts of all in the rubber. A softer and more malleable tire performs better in cold conditions, while the all season tire can get cold and harden, which gives less grip and control.
I think this has swayed at least my mind about winter tires. The idea of having more control sounds appealing. I don’t want to be one of those people I see in the snow on the side of the highway in the middle of a blizzard. Whenever I go out this winter I want to feel completely safe.
What about Studs?
Studs can be helpful in certain conditions, but not all, which means you could be switching tires through the winter. Another downside of studs is that they aren’t legal in every state, because they can damage the road. If they are legal in the state you live in, check how icy the roads get in the winter. The studs dig in like little ice picks and help push you along. If the roads you travel vary between slush, snow, and actual plowed concrete, it might not be the best decision to choose studs for your every day driving. What is the alternative? Winter tires.
Studless Winter Tires
There are really only two types of winter tires to choose from. Studless or Performance. Studless tires are the most aggressive tire for the winter. The reason is because of the tread. This tire performs at its best when winter is at its worse. The colder it is the better they work. They are designed to work in icy and snowy conditions. Having these on your car ensures that you have maximum control of your vehicle during the winter. These tires will get you to and from work with increased safety for yourself and anyone else on the road. So are these right for you? Take a look at the routes you drive. What does you job ask of you when it snows? These are things to keep in mind when deciding between snow tires.
Performance tires might seem less quality after talking about studless, but that’s not the case. These tires have a different take on winter. They give optimal handling control to the driver. They offer the ability to have that summer drive feel in the middle of the winter. Performance tires are the median between all-season and the aggressive studless design. Realistically, these tires are for drivers who have more mild winters than some places. It could also be for those who are able to stay home during storms and go out when it’s more clear or wet. A lot of drivers who don’t want to abandon their sports cars during the winter will choose performance over studless. Why? These tires are built to perform and grip for the driver’s needs.
Tires for You
With winter coming quickly, it’s important to know that you’re ready and feel prepared. No one likes to be caught out in the cold. Take some time and really think about your choices for tires this winter. Do some research on what is best for your driving style and needs this winter. If you need tires, but aren’t sure where to get them, we can help you. Contact us and ask about what winter tires are for you. We can have some specially ordered for you or come look through our inventory of tires. We can be sure that you are safe and ready to go all winter long.