Why Winter Tires are a Good Idea

Now that the weather is changing and the cold is setting in you are probably thinking about some of those maintenance items you’ve been putting off on your car.  High on your list may be new tires and upgrading them to help keep you and your family safe during those harsh winter storms.  Here are a few things you should keep in mind as you are considering new tires for your car.

First and foremost, consider how much time you spend in your car.  Are you commuting back and forth to work each day?  Are you driving the kids to after school activities?  The more time you spend in your car, the higher concern you should have when the weather turns cold and icy.  Remember, only winter tires are designed to excel in the colder temperatures, slush, snow and ice that we experience here in the northeast for three or more months a year.

I know, you’re probably saying to yourself, Vinny, I have AWD, I don’t need winter tires.  Well according to a consumer reports study, they found that all-wheel drive wasn’t effective in braking or certain cornering situations in the bad weather.  In fact they reported that the study “conclusively showed that using winter tires matters more than having all-wheel drive in many situations, and that the difference on snow and ice can be significant.”*

So the one thing a driver can do to increase traction…to actually get more grip and control… is to install better tires.  Snow tires have a deeper tread than summer or all-season tires. They also have siping (slits in the rubber) that open and close to improve traction in the ice, snow and mud.

Tires also have a temperature range under which they perform their best.  Winter tires are made of compounds that are formulated to “give” in lower temperatures, resulting in better overall traction .  Not necessarily so with summer or some all weather tires that can become rigid in temperatures below freezing, reducing the tire’s ability to grip the road.

There are many types of winter tires. Some are designed to be specialists in ice or snow conditions, some are high-speed rated. There are even a few winter tires that can be left on the car year-round.

Current generation winter tires are different than what we were used to years ago. For instance, these newer tires no longer generate loud buzzing noises at speed on the highway because they no longer have the huge blocks of tread that used to make cars squirm and jiggle whenever the brakes were applied.

If cost is a consideration, remember that your winter tires wear less in cold weather than all-season tires. All-season tires wear considerably faster when driven in winter. A Swiss auto club study showed that total tire costs for a sedan after five years were less when the car switched between winter and summer tires. **

For more information or to talk to an expert on tires, stop in to Mavis Discount Tire of Mahopac, or just give us a call 845-628-2050.