A Shopping Guide for New Winter Tires
If you live in an area that gets any amount of snow and ice during the winter, you want to have winter tires put on your car. The type of tires you drive on will make a tremendous difference in the amount of traction you get, which will in turn keep you safe during winter driving. Snow tires will keep you from slipping on the ice and will help you to avoid getting stuck in the snow.
Winter tires are made up of specialized thread designs and materials that grip the road better and which bite into the snow, so they work better for you during the winter season. They are also made to stay soft and pliable in colder temperatures, unlike normal tires which may become stiffer when cold. This pliable feature also allows them to better grip the road.
The first thing you need to do when buying winter tires is prepare to buy all four new tires. Some people try to outfit just their front tires with winter tires but this can cause you to spin out, as the front tires will have less control when their level of traction does not match the back tires. Often you can get deals to save you money when you buy all four tires at once, so be prepared for this and shop around.
To ensure that you’re getting good snow tires, you want to look for a symbol on the side of the tires that has a snowflake on mountains. This symbol means the tires have passed a very stringent Severe Winter Traction Standard. The difference between all-season tires or all-weather tires and snow tires is that all-season or all-weather will have a M&S or M+S symbol, which refers to “mud and snow.” These are not meant for extreme winter conditions as actual snow tires.
The tread depth of snow tires needs to be thicker than standard tires to really cut through the snow and sleet during winter. If you do not see the tread depth advertised, measure it manually. You want a depth of 6/32 inches or more. This will allow the tires to sink into the snow and slush rather than glide on top of it, which means better traction for you.
The best way to ensure snow tires work for you all season is to keep them properly inflated. Check your tire pressure recommendations according to the manufacturer and your car’s make and model, and then check your tire pressure once per month. Use a gauge when you fill them so you don’t overfill your tires. These simple tips are the best ways to find the right snow tires for the winter season and to ensure you keep your car safe on the road.