The benefits of winter tires are…
It’s getting to that time of the year; winter. I know that autumn has just started, but now’s the time to begin thinking about winter tires. Are you the type of driver who changes tires depending upon the season you’re in? You should and it can actually save you money and aggravation.
One of the things many drivers fail to realize is there are essentially 3 types of winter weather tires. There are winter tires, snow tires and ice tires. You’ll need to investigate these types of tires, although winter tires are actually the best for most drivers during the winter season. In some parts of the area we don’t always get a lot of snow. With that in mind, many drivers feel they don’t need any type of winter tires because they still see pavement most of the season. That’s where they make their first mistake.
All-season tires have a different rubber compound than winter tires. The rubber that all-season tires are made of is a lot harder than the rubber from winter tires, so when the temperature drops, the all-season tires become more like a rock. Unless you’re Fred Flintstone, no one really wants to drive on a rock. Since the winter tire has a softer rubber, it grips the road quite well when the temperature gets colder. It doesn’t have to be freezing temperatures before they become useful. Typically, when the temperature drops to 7 degrees Celsius, you’ll benefit from winter tires. That’s when all-season tires become pretty close to useless.
A few winters ago I was at a function with my family, including my dad. I had to make a quick run home but my vehicle was blocked in. I asked to use my dad’s vehicle and he agreed. On my short trip home with his all-season tires on, I noticed immediately the grip of the tires were much worse compared to my winter tires. The tread depth on his tires was still very good, but the rubber just didn’t grip the cold pavement very well. He was certain there wasn’t much of a difference until he compared vehicles.
For those who feel it’s a waste of money let me explain that it’s really the opposite of that. Winter tires can actually save you money. The general public generally feels the $500 to $600 for a set of four winter tires is money wasted. Remember as your winter tires are on your vehicle, it’s saving the tread life of your all-season tires. That essentially means you can get more years out of your all-season tires.
The grip on the road the winter tires give you also means you won’t be spinning your tires as often when you’re trying to get moving on snow covered roads from a stopped position. The more your wheels spin without you going anywhere, the more fuel you’re wasting. Think about the control you’re having as well. Since your tires will be gripping the road more effectively, you can stop and turn with better control on snow covered roads. That saves you time as well as reduces the winter driving stress.
So, when should you put on those winter tires? My best advice is well before the snow flies. My personal belief is to do it between the Canadian Thanksgiving and Halloween. Waiting until the snow is on the ground is a bit too late. Besides, that’s when the longest line up is at the automotive store of your choice. I guess the last question is how long do you keep your winter tires on your vehicle? I usually keep them on until Easter. That’s usually a safe time since the weather is normally warm enough to allow the all-season tires to become, well… useful again.