Winter tires are specifically designed to help you navigate safely over icy or snowy roads. Their tread and depths are much more complex than those of all-season tires, and your should know what you’re looking at when you go shopping.
All-Season vs. Snow Tires
The term “all-season tires” is deceptive. It seems to indicate that those products will be efficient and safe for all road conditions. What it actually means, however, is that the tires are suitable for driving in all moderate weather conditions, which means they aren’t practical for heavy snow or ice.
You can purchase all-season tires for your vehicle, but if you get a lot of snow and ice during the winter months, you should also be prepared to purchase a complete set of snow tires. Yes, it costs more money, but you and your family will be much safer in the car.
Features of Snow Tires
Snow tires, as mentioned previously, have deeper tread so they can “grab” the surface of the road when it’s crusted with ice or snow. According to TireRack.com tires worn below 6/32″ becomes unsafe for winter conditions. So you’ll want to ask about the tread depth when shopping for snow tires.
Additionally, the tread is different because it’s created to facilitate better traction on snowy and slippery roads. Snow tires are made of softer rubber that is much more flexible even in freezing temperatures, and is therefore less likely to spin out when confronted with slippery surfaces.
Replacing all Tires
It is never a good idea to purchase fewer than four snow tires. Some people, especially those with front-wheel drive, assume that replacing only the front two tires will provide sufficient protection. This is quite dangerous, however, because mismatched tires can compromise your vehicle’s ability to maintain traction with the road.
Purchasing all four tires is more expensive, but you will change them out again at the end of winter. This allows you to drive on tires made for summer use when your snow tires are no longer necessary.
The Snow Tire Symbol
When you decide to buy snow tires, always look for the mountain symbol, which is three jagged peaks surrounding the outline of a snowflake. According to CBC, this indicates that the tires have met the standards necessary for driving in snowy and icy conditions.
These standards are applied throughout the United States and Canada
Snow tires are an important purchase for anyone who lives in a cold environment, and it’s important to take it seriously. Look for the snow tire symbol and ask the sales associated about the differences between each of the brands. The more you know about it, the better equipped you will be to make a decision.