What is the benefit of winter tires?
This is a good question. Most new vehicles come with all-season tires that work pretty well in the winter conditions many people encounter. First, let’s talk about the things that dedicated winter tires do really well, touch on all-seasons and then you should have some information to help you in your tire selection.
The first thing about winter is that it’s cold. The rubber compound used in summer and all-season tires gets a bit hard when temperature drops below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Winter tires, on the other hand, stay more pliable as the thermometer drops. This means better dry road traction in the cold.
Ice and snow are the next thing you worry about in the winter. Now some people live where there is a lot of snow, a lot of the time. Extreme winter condition snow tires have a tread design that cuts into and expels deep snow for maximum traction. These tires have a mountain and snowflake icon on the sidewall of the tire.
If you live where the ice and snow are more moderate, you can still benefit from winter tires. Their tread has many small “cuts” called sipes that really help them get a grip on ice.
Now, all-season tires are a year-round compromise between high summer performance and high winter performance. They just don’t handle either extreme as well as dedicated summer or winter tires. For example, winter tires offer 25% to 50% more traction than all-season tires. And studies have shown that all-season tires can take upwards of 42% longer to stop than winter tires. This could be enough difference to prevent getting stuck or in an accident.
So, what’s best for you? Talk with your tire professional. Tell him the conditions in which you drive throughout the year and how important performance is to you. For many that put a premium on handing performance, dedicated summer tires in summer and dedicated winter tires in the winter (for cold as well as ice and snow) are what they need to satisfy their performance needs. They will mount different tires depending on the season.
Your tire professional can help you select a great all-season tire if that is what best suits your needs. No matter which route you take, remember that quality tires are not immune to the laws of physics – so drive safely in all road conditions.
Give us a call
Mountain View Automotive
8650 Pearl Street
Thornton, Colorado 80229