Do I Need Winter Tires (i.e. Snow Tires)?
Here in New England, specifically in Central Vermont, we are very familiar with snow and harsh winter conditions. Every year like clockwork, beginning in roughly the end of September, our shop books up very quickly with winter tire related appointments. Whether it be a customer looking to change-over their all-season tires to their winter ones, or a customer needing to purchase a new set of winter tires, our team of auto professionals is always prepared to guide you with a focus on quality, safety, performance, and price, so that you get the best bang for your buck!
First, it is important to address the common question we receive about the necessity of upgrading from all-season tires prior to the start of winter. The most appropriate answer for our customers is that it depends upon your personal situation. If you live in a town or city with well-paved roads and don't have the personal or professional obligation of needing to drive in the middle of a storm, then your all-season tires are probably adequate once the roads have been cleared.
Otherwise, it is important to remember that all-season tires are harder in their composition. The characteristics that make them excel on dry pavement aren't as helpful in snow and ice. The reason for this is that the tread pattern on all-season tires becomes packed with snow until the treads are full. Once the tire treads are packed with snow, the vehicle is now being operated with an extremely slick tire surface as its only means of contact with the equally slick roadway. Clearly, this is dangerous and not recommended.
Winter tires (i.e. snow tires) on the other hand are designed with a softer composition that is able to clear packed snow from its tread pattern on every tire rotation, as you drive down the road. For this primary reason, winter tires perform far better in adverse winter weather conditions and are recommended for those of us who need the peace of mind that we can drive our vehicle whether or not it happens to be snowing and/or if the roads have been cleared.
One final tip is to please remember to switch back to your all-season tires when the winter season has concluded because the softer composition of your winter tires will cause them to wear more quickly once the weather begins to warm up. While some people may be reluctant to invest in winter tires at all, it is important to remember that since you'll be swapping to and from all-season and winter tires each year, you are effectively doubling the serviceable period of each set and should not need to purchase another set of tires for your vehicle, for several seasons.
Still have questions? Need help getting your vehicle properly outfitted for winter? Give us a call or stop in today! And if you're buying your next vehicle from us, don't forget to ask about winter tire options that our sales staff can arrange for you at the time that your new vehicle is delivered.