Winter is getting closer, and that means snow and ice will be on the roads. It’s important to ask yourself whether or not you have the right tires to get you through the season. There are three different types of tires: winter, summer, and all-season.
Winter tires are great for the same season they are named. They can be easily identified by the deep, jagged grooves and squared off shoulders. However, the most striking difference is something you can’t see with the naked eye. Winter tires use a special rubber compound that does not harden as the temperature gets colder, making the grip on snow and ice much better than other tire options.
This may sound like everyone should purchase some winter tires and throw them on their vehicle, but there are actually some drawbacks that will make you think twice. The price of the better grip on the roads is that you will have poorer handling, and stopping distances will be increased. Your tires will also wear more quickly, and will cost more as you must replace them more frequently. Cars.com recommends that if you are generally driving on roads that are plowed and dried, winter tires are probably not for you.
In contrast to winter tires, summer tires have shallow grooves that seek to maximize contact with the pavement. On the other hand, summer tires also use a softer compound which seeks to increase contact with the road surface as well. However, this does not mean the compounds are the same. Winter tires go soft in the cold but are too soft when it is warm. Summer tires are soft in the heat but become hard and stiff in more frigid temperatures. The maximization of contact with the pavement allows summer tires to have great handling and high grip. Once again, these benefits come with trade-offs. Summer tires will wear more quickly than all-season tires, and can also be very noisy at times.
All-season tires sound like they might be the best of both worlds. However, this is not necessarily the case. As Cars.com states, “They do everything reasonably well though they excel at nothing in particular.” The main benefits of all-season tires are that they aren’t as noisy in the summer and they are up to the challenge of snow and ice in the winter. An added benefit is that they last longer than single season tires, which saves you some money because you won’t have to replace the tires as often.
What Tires Should You Use?
If you’re buying tires, Edmunds.com has two guidelines they suggest you follow. The first is to know what your needs are and the conditions you drive in. If winter is approaching and you live in the country where the roads are often unplowed, winter tires may be a good idea for you. The second is to find a source that you know is knowledgeable and trustworthy to recommend which tires may be best for you.
Basically, you should do your own research on tire types as well as tire dealers, and narrow down some of your options, and know your needs. Once you have that information, a dealer can help you make sure you have the right tires for the right season. For more tire and car maintenance tips in an season, head over to our Facebook page.