What You Need to Know to Pick the Right Winter Tires
Winter is here in full force and with many areas of the country already experiencing their first snow falls, it is time to start thinking about getting winter tires for your vehicle. Many drivers do not even consider using snow tires this time of year and some find themselves asking, “Do I need snow tires? Or will all-season tires work for the snowy weather?” Although this is usually the first question drivers ask, there are a slew of others like what size is needed, should they be steel or alloy, and many, many more.
Snow Tires vs. All-Season Tires
Many automotive professionals will tell drivers that all-season tires are actually useless during poor driving conditions. Although this may be their opinion, this is not an entirely true statement. In reality, almost all of the tires that are considered “all-season” are only meant to be used in rainy, cold weather and do not perform as well in snow or ice. All-season tires are appropriate for those drivers who only experience light winters in their geographical area but are not suitable for “real” winter weather.
There are some “all-season” tires that were developed for heavy snow and ice. These are now generally referred to as “all-weather” in order to set them apart from other tires that are not necessarily made to handle true, hard winter conditions. Although these types of tires are much better in the snow than “all-season” tires, they still give up some performance in the winter conditions in order for them to be considered for use all year round. For those experiencing significant snowfall and ice during the winter months, snow tires are the way to go.
Choosing the Right Snow Tires
Once it has been determined that the optimal grip in the snow is needed, it is time to start determining what type of snow tires your vehicle needs. It is important to note that even though it may be expensive to get two sets of tires – one for snow and one for other seasons – it will provide optimal handling, control, and safety while driving in different conditions. There are two types of snow tires available – studless and studded. For those areas that experience a lot of ice, studded tires are the best choice.
Choosing to Use Winter Wheels
Some individuals will choose to just buy snow tires and have them switched out with summer tires on the same wheel. Others will choose to purchase winter wheels as well. There are some distinct advantages to also choosing winter wheels, most importantly the money saving aspect of having the wheels mounted as a whole unit instead of just having the tires mounted solo and having to pay additionally for balancing. If you have the right skills and equipment, it is possible to mount the wheel at home.
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