Winter Tire Tips: Buy Winter Tires and Learn More About Them - Autowise Service and Tire

December 31st, 2012

Stay safe this winter by knowing how to get the most out of your winter tires!

There are many different types of tires that can get you through the winter, and selecting the best type of tire and protection for your driving conditions will help you get through this winter season safely and smoothly. Remember to always check your tires for uneven wear, tread depth, and inflation. Improperly inflated, damaged, or bald tires can be a safety hazard in even the best driving conditions, and with winter driving precautions, can become even more dangerous. Always ask your trusted mechanic if the tires on your vehicle are rated for your weather and driving conditions.

Selecting from winter tire choices can be based on vehicle performance, driving conditions, climate conditions, and other factors. Here are the types of winter tires, and what they should be primarily used for:

  • Performance or All Weather Tires - Rated best for typical driving conditions, these are for drivers who want more control than normal tires where weather conditions are mild. If you do not experience much snow, rain, or ice in the winter, these tires are great for handling and control. They provide better traction and grip beyond what typical tires have, but do not provide added protection in the snow.
  • Winter Tires - These tires are made of softer rubber that can better grip the road and provided added protection in wet, slippery driving conditions. Narrow tires are designed to cut through the snow with extra ease, and the tread is typically deeper to handle in the snow. They are not rated for top speeds or warmer weather, so these must be switched out seasonally.
  • Studded Snow Tires - Like winter tires, they are designed to cut through the snow and provide better traction and control. Made of softer rubber to grip the road better, these tires also have the added benefit of small, metal studs to provide maximum traction. Good for areas that can have heavy snowfall, mountain driving, or slick roads. They provide added protection on icy roads, but are not rated for high speed driving or driving on warmer roads. Many states and counties have guidelines for when studded snow tires can be used, as they may damage roads when out of season.
  • Chains - Can be used on All Weather or Winter Tires when needed for added traction. For mountain or steep terrain driving, ice, and heavy snow. You must install chains for every use, and take them off before driving on dry roads. Because they are only used when needed, one set of chains should last for the life of the vehicle and can always be kept in the trunk for emergencies. Certain areas require chains during the winter, so check with your local department of transportation.

Check with your local mechanic to see what type of tires you need for your vehicle, as there are many choices, brands, and price ranges to suit every need. Have a safe and happy winter!

Posted in: Tire 101

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