If you live in a place that has hot summers and bone chillingly cold winters, you know how different the roads can be depending on the seasonal conditions. If you drive in different temperatures and conditions, all-season tires could be a good option for you. However, the tread in these tires provide little cold weather traction and even become hard and lose traction in freezing temperatures. Winter tires on the other hand are designed to provide greater control in winter conditions such as snow, sleet, ice and cold weather. Winter tires can make all the difference driving in difficult conditions. Here's some advice on how to make the tire change before the cold hits.
It can be overwhelming shopping for tires, but the good news is that you can easily spot winter tires by the M+S symbol on the tire's sidewall. This symbol indicates the tires meet severe snow standards. Winter tires are made of a soft rubber material that remains flexible as the air becomes colder. This helps increase control when you drive as the tires are able to conform to the road more efficiently. Tread patterns have a wider groove to increase traction on slippery roads by expelling snow and draining the water from your path. These tires have small slits in them which help cut through slush and help prevent hydroplaning. The improved grip you'll receive from winter tires helps prevent you from getting stuck in the snow, but also helps you steer and stop the car better. This easy switch can help you more safely reach your destination, despite the weather.
No matter if you have four-wheel drive or two-wheel drive, when it comes to changing your tires, it's helpful to change them all. Installing a matching set of winter tires on your vehicle helps increase control when driving in the winter. While you may think you are saving a couple bucks by only switching out two of your tires, only having two winter tires on your vehicle could have a negative effect on your vehicle's traction, which could lead to dangerous consequences. For example, if you drive a front wheel drive car and only install snow tires on the front wheels, this could increase the chances of your car spinning out while braking or turning because your front tires have a grip on the road while your back tires don't. On the other hand, if you have rear wheel drive and install snow tires only on your back wheels, this could lead to reduced steering control leading the car to not respond to the steering wheel. Moral of the story: make sure you're changing all of your tires to winter tires to maintain proper control of your vehicle when driving in the winter.
As the seasons start to change and it begins getting colder outside, it's a great time to check the air pressure in your tires. When the air temperature decreases the air contracts, decreasing the pressure in your tires. When you're refilling your tires with air, make sure to screw the valve cap back on tightly when you're done. If it were to fall off in the winter, the cold air could cause moisture in the valve to freeze, allowing the air in your tires to escape.
While winter tires can help assist you in winter conditions, at the end of the day it all comes down to you and your driving decisions. Don't forget: do not tailgate and give yourself some extra time to get from one place to the next. Slow, careful driving in the winter is your best bet to arriving safely.
If you were to break down or need assistance while on the road, roadside apps can help contact towing services when you need help.