January 25, 2017
With another dreadful winter underway, you may be wondering if your tires will be able to handle the ice and snow. If you’re thinking of getting new tires, then the ever-confusing question of which type is best comes to mind. You’ve probably heard snow tires, winter tires, and all-season tires thrown about in the great tire debate. Are they all the same? Is one better than another?
Often, vehicles leave the factory with all-season tires. They are designed to be versatile in all seasons, meaning they can handle heat in the summer, slick roads from rain, and light winter conditions. However, all-season tires are not always enough to manage heavy winter conditions.
Winter & Snow Tires
To clarify, snow tires was a name given to winter tires years ago. At the time, you only needed two snow tires because most vehicles had rear wheel drive. Today’s winter tires are created to provide traction in snow, ice, and slush. Design elements to look for in winter tires include:
- Tread Rubber – The rubber used in winter tires is more flexible than all-season tires, which stiffen in cold temperatures and can’t always grip the road.
- Tread Depth – Winter tires should have deeper treads to prevent snow from building up. They also include unique patterns to expel water and slush.
- Sipes – Sipes are thin slits molded into the tread of the tire to provide additional biting edges and traction on ice.
Although all-season tires are adequate for most conditions, it’s impossible to be ideal for any forecast. In Pennsylvania, our winters get pretty harsh and seem to last forever. If you’re forced to venture out onto the road in bad conditions, it’s a good idea to invest in some winter tires. Always put your safety first.