Winter/Snow Tires vs. All Season Tires…what you need to know.
Every year I get asked if it is worth the investment to buy dedicated snow tires. Well, how do you use your vehicle? Let’s assume you are like most people and you need to go to work even when it snows. Well it snows a lot around New England. So you need snow tires and here is why.
They are far superior to all season tires for:
- Driving in temperatures below 45 degrees. (i.e. all winter)
- Driving on ice and snow
- Starting distance is drastically reduced
- Stopping distance is drastically reduced (6-15 feet) big difference between crashing and not
Snow tires are a softer compound which allows them to remain pliable in subzero temperatures which allows them to grip the road. All seasons are very stiff at these temperatures and have very limited grip. Snow tires deliver better grip to start out and to climb hills and inclines. They stop better on ice and snow and wet surfaces.
No matter what you drive, all wheel, front wheel, rear wheel drive vehicles….snow tires offer better performance.
What to Consider?
Always install four (4) matching snow tires for the best balance of handling and grip to stop, start, and corner on snow covered roads. The biggest mistake I see people make is put the snow tires on the front of a vehicle (mainly because it is a front wheel drive car). This is dangerous. It causes the front wheels to have better traction than the rear which causes the driver to lose control in emergency maneuvers because the rear loses grip and the car spins out of control. This applies in the summer as well, always put the best tires in the rear of a vehicle.
Consider purchasing a dedicated set of rims to mount your snow tires on. Saves you from mounting and balancing them every season.
Snow tires do wear out more quickly, so as soon as temperatures go above 45 degrees consistently (April time frame) change them over to your summer tires.