If you are living in the Louisville area, you know that we haven’t seen that much snow. But in years past, we’ve gotten enough to make you wonder if you need snow tires.
Do you need to switch out your regular tires for the winter and then switch them back during the spring? Is it okay to just buy snow tires and leave them on year round? And do snow tires even make that big of a difference? Won’t all weather tires work just as well during snowstorms?
Those are all good questions. Let’s answer a few of them here.
What Are the Benefits of Snow Tires?
First, snow tires can be beneficial if you’re in an area with a lot of snow and ice. The tires are made to grip to the road. They’re also made from a better quality of rubber than most other tires and the way they’re designed gives the car better traction in icy and snowy weather. So, in short, yes, snow tires do perform better for traction purposes in icy weather.
If you’re in an area of the country that never or rarely sees heavy snow, you really don’t need snow tires. If you’re somewhere that sees a great deal of snow annually, you probably know some drivers who swear by them.
Some benefits to snow tires in inclement weather:
- Better Traction. Snow tires are designed with deeper treads and studs. What this means is that the tires will adhere to the road far better in heavy snow.
- Better Braking Ability. One issue with icy, slick weather is that it can be very difficult to engage your brakes. That’s not actually true, it’s mostly that the tire traction won’t allow them to connect with the road and the car can skid. With better traction, snow tires also offer better brake response.
Do I Need Snow Tires?
The quick answer is probably not. For the most part, snow tires are really only advantageous during heavy snow and ice. Even if you live in an area with severe winters, you’ll likely only need snow tires during the heart of the winter. So if you do decide to use snow tires, you’ll want to switch them back to your regular tires once the inclement weather has passed. Many people opt for all weather tires, instead.
In most areas, even the harshest of weather doesn’t last very long. There will be snow plows and salt trucks out to clear roads, so the tires would only be advantageous during the thick of it. Once the roads are cleared, they don’t offer any benefit. In fact, cars don’t handle as well with snow tires. Regular or all weather tires are also built for regular use. The rubber in snow tires isn’t made to withstand constant use and they can wear out a lot faster if used at all times.