Auto

Do You Really Need Winter Tires?

posted by Chris Valentine

There are over 150,000 car accidents every year due to icy roads and related conditions. It’s a scary statistic when you think about how many of those accidents also include injuries and even death.

If getting into a car accident isn’t at the top of your holiday to-do list this year, then you may want to consider installing winter tires.

Here’s the down-low on all the reasons winter tires are the wisest and safest investment you’ll make this winter.

Winter Tires vs. Regular Tires

All-season tires, or “regular tires” should be safe for normal driving conditions. They can protect your car from hydroplaning in rain and give your car plenty of traction for typical summer, fall and winter weather.

However, winter tires, or what many refer to as “snow tires” up the ante when it comes to traction. Winter tires are even more effective for a variety of winter conditions than the term snow tires implies.

Winter tires have a greater stopping ability on icy roads and easily out-perform all-season tires during extreme storms and weather.

When to Install Winter Tires

Despite the fact that winter tires are safer and offer much greater traction in bad weather than all-season tires, you do not want to keep them on all year.

Ideally, to maintain the performance of your winter tires, you’ll want to put them on during late fall before snow hits and remove them when no more storms are in the forecast.

Winter tires tend to wear more quickly than all-season tires. If you want to avoid buying new winter tires each year, changing them out with the seasons is essential.

How Many Winter Tires Do I Need?

A good auto repair shop will charge you a fair price for quality winter tires. Still, many people many wonder if they could save some cheddar by installing only two winter tires.

The simple answer here is, don’t do it.

Installing only two winter tires gives your car a Jekyll and Hyde personality. Essentially what two winter tires will do is cause one set to skid while the other set grips the road.

Unfortunately, this is the case whether you have four-wheel drive or not. For the best performance and greatest safety, it’s worth the investment to put 4 winter tires on your car each season.

Do I Already Have Winter Tires?

If you’re not an auto expert, you’re not alone. Many car owners aren’t sure if they have winter tires already or not. The easiest way to tell is if your tires have an “M” or “S” mark on them.

The “M” and “S” denote “mountain” and “snow” tires. According to the US Tire Manufacturers Association, tires with these marks are made to suit specific molding requirements making them safer for winter use.

More Winter Driving Safety Tips

If you live in an especially snowy area where plows are uncommon or you’re in a rural town, winter tire chains may be required by law. For the ultimate in winter-driving safety, winter tires and chains are best.

For more helpful auto tips and hacks, browse the auto portion of our blog.

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