Having the right set of tires is better then having the right set of shoes – it’s like having the right set of feet. Most of the vehicles you will purchase today come prepared to handle most driving conditions you will encounter – but when it comes to ice and snow it’s the tires that will matter most.
The tires you will need for handling snow and ice are normally labeled with a label that has a peaked mountain with snowflake symbol on it. These tires have been tested and designed to handle severe snow and ice.
There are also tires that you can find labeled M+S which stands for mud and snow – these tires are called all-season tires which are good for most driving conditions but are not rated to work well with severe ice and snow. A lot of drivers believe that wide high performance tires of all kinds will work in severe snow and ice covered roads this is not true you will need to make sure the tires you plan to drive in ice and snow are labeled to do so.
Research shows that the all season tires are prone to firm up and lose gripping and traction capability when the tires hit zero Celsius – losing traction when in severe ice and snow will become a severe safety hazard when temperatures decrease.
In areas where the roads do not get snow covered – that have lighter winters all season tires will be just fine. In areas where you expect to see cold weather with ice and snow covered roads it is suggested that you have a set of winter tires ready for use.
Winter tires work by allowing the winter tire to release snow from the treads as it rolls – improving traction. Winter tires have improved in leaps and bounds over what they used to be. The older snow tires were noisy and ruff – not the smooth quite snow tires we used today. The older winter tires that worked on snow covered roads – but had very poor traction ability on a wet and dry road. Winter tires that are used now are specially designed with new rubber to be quite, smooth like normal tires, and handle well in snow, ice, wet, or even slushy conditions.
Although it seems like a good idea just to use winter tires all year round – this may not be the most economical choice being that winter tire treads will wear quicker in normal driving conditions.
Lastly remember for good measure any time you change your tires out it is suggested that you install identical tires on all wheels – unless specified to do otherwise by the vehicle manufacturer.