Snow Tires

Snow tires: five things you need to know

Snow tiresAs the temperature begins to drop, experts will emphasize that your summer tires, or even all season tires will not be as efficient when driving in the cold and snowy icy conditions. All season tires which are  on your car for all types of seasons and conditions are not made of soft rubber in the same manner as snow tires. The snow tire is made of soft rubber and will provide better handling and better traction in snow and ice conditions. Snow tires also have better rubber grips for digging their way through deep snow. If you regularly drive in snow, don’t take a chance install snow tires on your car.

Here are five tips for installing winter Snow tires on your car:

Winter tires should be marked with a picture of a peaked mountain and a snowflake to indicate that they meet the standards for snow traction performance and have been engineered specifically for use in snow conditions. If this symbol is not present then they are not winter tires and you should not buy them. these tires will not deliver the performance of true winter tires.

Always install a set of snow tires in a set of four. This will provide better control and traction in snow conditions and icy conditions. Maintain the same tread pattern and internal construction and size. Acceleration, stopping and vibration as well as overall control will be improved with four tires that are the same.

New tires are designed to spin in one direction only. Make sure that your tires are mounted on the correct side to provide maximum gripping action in ice and snow conditions. Incorrectly mounted tires will actually provide instability and sliding out of control situations in icy and snowy conditions.

Installing tires at the rear that are also snow tires, even for front-wheel-drive cars will provide more stability so you don’t spin out in the middle-of-the-road. This is a truly scary event for most people especially when there is oncoming traffic.

Snow tires – Nitrogen Filled

Tires inflated with air will drop in air pressure as the  season gets colder. If there is a significant drop in temperature say 20 or 30°, most tires will be under inflated at that point and you may need to add air to the tires. If you have added air and, and the temperature increases you may want to check your air pressure again to make sure that the Air pressure in your tires it’s not too high. Cars with tire pressure monitoring systems will alert you to low pressures, however those consumers without TPS should check their tires on a monthly basis at a minimum

Some dealers will fill your tires with nitrogen which is much more stable as temperatures change. Regardless, check your tires pressure on a regular basis to ensure that there is sufficient air pressure in the tires at all times to maintain proper gripping action in snow and ice conditions. Although nitrogen is more stable, extreme temperatures can cause tire pressures to change. Monitor your tires pressure on a regular basis. If you have an air pressure monitoring system in your car, the alert light on your dashboard will glow when your tires are low in pressure. always make sure your tires are properly inflated.


Choosing Snow Tires

Choosing the right tires for your car, SUV or truck  is one of the most important decisions we have to make in regards to our personal transportation. It is of utmost importance during the winter, when in many areas of the country the presence of ice and snow on roadways creates a deadly hazard. So many people try to get by on so-called all season tires and tires that are nearly bald.

When you hit ice and snow, with these tires you are just not going to go anywhere and worse you may be Choosing Snow Tiresinvolved in an accident.  It is not a difficult process if you have the necessary information.

The first thing you should do is check your vehicle owner’s manual to find the manufacturer specifications for the types and sizes of tires recommended by them. If your tires were new with your car, then the dealer will have installed the correct tires and you can usually get the same size as those that are on the car. Of course you will want snow tires instead of summer tires, but they will be the same size.

Your dealer or your local mechanic can usually look up the information as well regarding the best tires for your car. Install mud and snow tires on your car or SUV. These tires can be used anywhere as long as they do not have metal studs on them. Studs were allowed at one time, however communities found that studs would chew up the road too much and they were also dangerous if a stud became loose and flew out of the tire.

Choosing Snow Tires – Metal Stud Tires

If you live in an area where ice is common in the winter, be sure to use metal-stud tires that are available. Keep your other tires(if they are in good condition) for the end of the winter. These metal stud tires are only allowed during the winter season in some states. They are banned in 10 states and in most provinces of Canada.

Make sure that all of the snow tires you use are of the same size, type and tread. This is particularly important if your vehicle is front wheel drive. Using mismatched rear wheels may result in a loss of traction when braking on the icy roads of winter. You can also lose stability at higher speeds. All four tires must be the same.

When choosing tires be aware that equipping your vehicle with over sized tires may result in difficulty steering. They can also rub the fender wells or suspension underneath. You will also find that you are actually going faster than what is reported on your speedometer. The speedometer is driven from the transmission and not from ground speed.

As a rule, snow tires are manufactured with large empty areas in their tread so that they will have more traction on snow than normal tires. Regular all season type tires are more concerned with marrying a quiet ride with a modicum of traction. Snow tires are also made of softer rubber to enable a stronger grip on the road. They tend to wear more quickly, especially if you drive your car with them in the summer time.

Using Tire chains

Another time tested method that can be used when conditions warrant is the use of tire chains. Installing tire chains can increase traction as much as 200%. However you are limited to the speed that you can travel with chains installed. Your gas mileage will suffer significantly. Again, make sure that these chains are of the right size and type for your particular tire .

The final tip is check on the age of your new tires. Many, although new, are sold years after they were manufactured. Rubber does dry out and become brittle. Better to go with tires that have been manufactured  more recently. Following the preceding tips will help you to safeguard you and your family in the upcoming winter.


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