As the rain starts turning to sleet and snow and temperatures trend downwards, you may be wondering if you need snow tires. If you live in the northern parts of the country which receive significant snowfall, snow tires can make a substantial difference in driving safety in the winter months. Snow tires have a number of advantages over regular tires that give then a surer grip on the road. For trucks and larger vehicles, another option for driving safety is to retread tires to extend their lives and improve their gripping surface.
How are snow tires different?
Snow tires differ from regular tires in a number of ways. Their surface and the materials used to make the tires give them a better grip on the road in snowy conditions. Many people think they can get by with regular all-weather tires, but if you do a lot of driving in snowy conditions, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Gripping edges
The treads on snow tires are different, with more cuts called sipes. These give the tire treads more edges to grip the road, and also help flush water from the footprint. Likewise a greater number of tread gaps between treads improve the ability to grip snowy surfaces, even when the snow is packed.
- Special tread compounds
Regular tires are made from material that tends to become harder in cold weather, losing traction. The materials used to make snow tires are special compounds that remain flexible in low temperatures, allowing them to grip the road.
- Tread blocks and depth
Tread blocks have edges that are squared rather than rounded. This improves their grip on the road. Greater tread depth gives the tires the ability to literally dig through the snow.
It’s important to keep in mind that if you get snow tires, you will need to get all four. Many people think that they might be able to get by with changing just two tires to snow tires, but that doesn’t work. Snow tires are so different from regular tires that to have two different kinds on one vehicle will unbalance it and make it harder to control in snowy conditions, defeating the whole purpose.
How much will it cost?
For people on a budget, used tires may be available and should get you through a few years. But it’s also good to know that many insurance providers will give you 5% off your premium if your car is equipped with snow tires. That should go some way towards offsetting the initial costs of installing the winter tires.
You may also decide to retread tires, this being a popular choice for larger vehicles and even airplanes. Most tire companies offer a variety of products and services, such as used tires and retread tire services to help you drive safely.
With winter almost here, it’s time to be thinking of tire safety. Whether you decide to retread tires or switch to snow tires, your local tire company can help.