Winter tires are specialized tires. Unlike all-season tires, winter tires are made specifically with winter conditions in mind. When it comes to the value of winter tires, the cost is not the only thing that should be considered. Winter tires provide a level of safety that may be the difference between life and death. Below are things that should be considered if you live in an area where snow or ice make moderate to regular appearances throughout the winter.
- Built for Snow:
When it comes to snow, winter tires provide optimal traction. This is due to the rubber and design used to manufacture them. Winter tires are built from a different type of rubber than all-season or summer tires. The rubber used to make winter tires remains flexible in extreme cold. This allows them to grip the road evenly. In comparison, the rubber used for all-season and summer tires will stiffen. This decreases their traction and increases the likelihood of sliding. To complement the type of rubber used, winter tires also have deeper treads. Coupled with more biting edges, this helps to increase traction and channel snow away from the tires. All-season and summer tires are less effective. Their shallower treads can accumulate snow or ice. Once these treads are filled, they become unreliable and again, can cause tires to slip. Because they lack the increased biting edges that winter tires have, they are not able to easily grip the slick surfaces found created by ice and snow.
- Built for Safety:
Drivers who use winter tires increase their safety. Traction, as noted above, is increasingly important in the winter. Snow and ice can create dangerous conditions quickly. In the day, these things are hazardous enough. However, at night, black ice can go undetected until your car is driving over it. Tests have proven that winter tires increase braking abilities in the snow. In fact, when compared to new all-season tires, winter tires actually improve braking by 35%. This is especially important when you consider wear on your all-season tires. An all-season tire that would be considered “half-used” but still safe during the other seasons is a danger during the winter. In snowy conditions, these half-used tires are as useful as a bald tire would be. They provide no traction and lead to accidents.
Many car owners believe winter tires are unnecessary. They also feel they are expensive investments for only a single season of use. (After all, winter tires should not be used once temperatures remain above 40 or 50 degrees.) However, these tires can last for numerous winters when properly used and stored. Not only does this help distribute the cost over several years, but it also helps to prolong the life of your all-season tires as well. Because you will use them less, your all-season tires wear through slower.
The safety of you and your loved ones is critical. As a responsible driver, public safety should also be a concern. Winter tires increase the safety for everyone. This reduces the likelihood of accidents in inclement winter conditions and saves you money in the long run. They prolong the life of your all-season tires as well.