Many people do not worry about having winter tires on their car, preferring to go with all season tires instead. The fact of the matter is that Winter Tires 101winter tires will provide a better grip in snow and ice conditions and provide a safer ride for you and your passengers. All season tires are made of a harder rubber that is great for dry conditions but lose elasticity in colder weather.  They have to adapt to all kinds of conditions and a wide range of temperatures from hot weather to really cold weather conditions and as a result you are not going to get optimum performance at the wide temperature extremes. Most consumers would be better off to own both a set of winter tires and also a set of summer tires.

Winter tires on the other hand are made from softer rubber compounds that stay flexible even in the extreme cold conditions of the northern US and Canada. They are also designed to deal with snow covered roads and icy conditions and are more optimal for temperatures below freezing. Snow tires have been optimized in another way as well. They have deeper tread patterns  than regular summer tires and also all season tires. They are designed to get a better grip on the road in heavy snow and they also provide better grip to prevent skidding. these same tires combined with anti lock braking systems provide better braking as well.

Winter Tires 101 – Four Winter tires, Not Two

Many people believe that two winter tires are all that is required. The experts agree that 4 winter tires are much more desirable for traction as well as braking.  They provide more stability in snowy conditions.  If you only place winter tires on the front of a front wheel drive car, you will get better traction in the snow, however when it comes to braking the rear tires with less traction will cause you to spin out of control. Four winter tires will provide optimum control for traction purposes as well as braking in ice and snow conditions.

The same applies to rear wheel drive cars, but differently. If you place snow tires on the rear wheels of a rear wheel drive car, again you will have good traction, however when breaking or trying to steer you do not have the same level of traction with the front wheel tires, unless they are winter tires. You can easily lose control and not be able to steer out of it.

Winter Tires 101 – Mud and Snow Winter Tires

Tires that are designated as all Season tires have a label M+S on the side of the tire indicating that they are ok for light snow conditions. These narrow treads are not sufficient for harsh road conditions that many people deal with in heavy snow areas.  They are useful and save money for consumers who do not experience a lot of snow. However some jurisdictions are going so far to enshrine in law that snow tires or winter tires must be on the car from Nov 1st until Mar 31st of every year. Mountainous areas also require snow tires and some even require chains to be added to the wheels.

Winter Tires 101 – Winter snow Tires

Winter tires have a symbol of a mountain and a snow flake on the sidewall. The treads are wider and deeper than all season tires. they are also designed to disperse snow and ice more effectively. they perform as much as 130% to 150% better in severe snow conditions. Also handling is much better  as well for steering and braking situations.

If you have driven in snow conditions with and with out winter tires, then you already know and appreciate the difference.  If not and think you can get away with all season tires,  try it once or twice in heavy snow to see the difference in handling and control. Try a friends car who has snow tires vs. your own to really appreciate the difference.

Comments are welcome especially from drivers who know the difference and have a story to tell about the difference winter snow tires can make.

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