As the cold weather approaches, we're reminded to prepare for the season by installing winter tires on our vehicles. Although this type of tire is necessary, we often overlook the need to keep our cars safe when driving in the snow. We've put together a list of everything you need to know about winter tires, including some things you may not know about them. Read on to learn more about this seasonal tire.
Winter tires are not only great for driving in the snow and ice, but they also save fuel. Many believe that winter tires will give you at least 5% greater fuel efficiency than summer tires. It is because winter tires are designed to have better traction on slick roads and ice-covered highways. The winter tire is also designed to handle snow plows and sanding equipment, improving your gas mileage. Winter tires also have less rolling resistance than summer tires which translates into less energy consumed when the vehicle moves.
All-season tires vs. Winter tires
The key to choosing the right tire for your vehicle is understanding how it differs from others of the same size. All-season tires are designed for easy driving in all kinds of weather, from dry to wet to snow and ice.
On the other hand, winter tires are designed specifically to handle severe winter driving conditions. They feature studded treads and a unique “winterized” rubber compound that helps them grip better on snow and ice.
If you only drive in the summer, an all-season tire will probably be fine — but if you live in a region with intense winters, an all-season tire may not be enough protection against getting stuck in the snow or getting your car stuck on ice.
Using winter tires in other weather conditions
Winter tires are designed to improve traction in wet and snowy conditions. When using winter tires in other weather and road conditions, you need to be aware that your tires will wear more quickly than if you were only using them on snow.
Alternatives to winter tires
As we head into winter, drivers around the world will be looking for ways to protect their vehicles during the colder months. One alternative to winter tires is to look for winter tire alternatives; here are some:
These run year-round on most cars and trucks. They have a wider tread than most all-weather tires (which means more traction on dry pavement) but have a relatively narrow profile compared with a dedicated winter tire (which has deep tread blocks). This design helps improve wet braking performance while still being able to handle light snowfall at lower speeds compared with dedicated winter tires or all-season tires with studded winter tread design. All-season tires like Nitto tires‘ Motivo only perform well in light snow. They should not be used in extreme winter conditions — their limited traction will allow you to drift out of control if conditions get too icy or snowy outside your normal driving range.
Tire chains are a great way to improve traction in snowy and icy conditions. They're also an affordable option for those who don't want to spend too much on winter tires. However, tire chains can create more noise than snow tires and may not be suitable for all drivers.
Tire socks, also known as tire liners, are a great alternative to winter tires. They are made of flexible rubber that stretches over your existing tires to provide extra protection against winter weather. Tire socks are simple, inexpensive, and easy to install. They fit on all types of tires and are designed to increase traction in cold weather.
Benefits of winter tires
Winter tires provide better dry traction because they have a more consistent tread pattern, so they can better grip ice and snow.
Improved steering response
Winter tires have deeper treads that improve steering control in adverse conditions, especially on icy roads.
Increased braking performance
Winter tires have excellent braking capabilities in cold weather because they have more rubber in the tread design.
Better overall snow-handling capabilities
Winter tires have rubber compounds engineered to withstand harsh winter conditions. It allows the tires to release energy when needed to prevent skidding and sliding.
Longer life span
Winter tires last longer than all-season ones because they're designed to perform in harsh winter conditions.
How to properly maintain your winter tires
Properly maintaining your winter tires is crucial to ensuring their long life. Here are some tips for keeping them in top shape:
Keep them clean and dry
Keep them clean and dry by removing snow and ice after each drive, and don't use salt at any time of year except in extreme weather conditions like blizzards or heavy rainstorms.
Check the tread depth regularly
The tread depth of your winter tires plays a crucial role in their performance. The deeper the tread, the better they'll grip on roadways. Once a month, check the measurement to ensure it's at least 2/32 of an inch deep.
Check air pressure regularly
Even if your tires don't show significant wear or damage, you should still check the air pressure every so often because it can cause problems down the road — especially if you live in an area that experiences heavy rain or snowfall. When temperatures drop below freezing and water turns into ice, the pressure drops significantly inside your tires.
Lube those rims regularly
The truck wheels must be kept clean to prevent rusting and corrosion of their metal parts. Use a wire brush or sandpaper to get rid of any dirt or snow buildup that accumulates on the rim surface.
Tires may seem to be only basic sedan, SUV, truck, or Jeep accessories, but don't overlook their value. Replacing the old ones with the right kind of tires is crucial for driving in the snow. Your winter tires don't have to be expensive because you'll find many affordable options on the market. You can choose a tire based on your budget and where you live. Whether you're looking for tires for your daily commute, weekend getaway, or long road trip, choosing the best winter tire for your vehicle is essential.