It’s no secret that tires are an important part of your car. In addition to supporting your car, they also play a role in getting in motion, stopping, and turning. With how vital they are, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are tires for every season.
Traditionally, snow tires are put on when the weather starts to get cold, then switched out for summer tires when it warms up. However, this process is becoming less and less popular, and alternative ways of handling seasonal road conditions are becoming more common, such as all-season tires.
What Are Snow Tires?
Snow tires are commonly called winter tires, an industry term that represents the advancements in tire technology to improve grip, traction, and handling when the weather is cold and dry, as well as when the roads are covered in ice and snow. They’re designed to offer increased safety and stopping power in winter conditions.
Snow tires are made from slightly different rubber compounds than those found in all-season and summer tires, allowing them to remain flexible in low temperatures. They also have a different tread pattern with transverse grooves that provide a fine tooth-like grip that increases contact points with the road, increasing traction.
While standard snow tires have better grip and traction than all-season tires, some weather conditions require chains, which come with the risk of them breaking and flying off. There are also snow tires with metal studs built into the tire that mimic the same traction as chains without the hassle and risks. When investing in chains or studded tires, you should always consider local regulations and your personal needs.
Why Are Snow Tires Being Replaced?
One of the main reasons snow tires are falling out of use, especially in the US, is the hassle of putting them on and taking them off at the beginning and end of the season. The material they’re made of isn’t designed for warmer weather, and they wear out much more quickly than summer tires or all-season tires.
Since they can be relatively expensive, this increased wear means winter tires aren’t very cost-effective, especially if you live in an area with temperatures that frequently bounce between hot and cold, even during the winter.
The Replacement for Snow Tires
In many areas, all-season tires can be a suitable replacement. All-season tires have come a long way since they were first designed, and many can now withstand cold temperatures, ice, and snow.
Cities and towns have also greatly increased their ability to properly clear and salt roads, reducing the amount of ice and snow cars have to deal with. This has dramatically reduced the need for dedicated snow tires, and many people no longer see a reason to purchase them if they don’t plan to drive through mountain passes or down unplowed rural roads.
In addition to tires, you should also consider the rest of your vehicle as you get ready for winter. You need to take care of basic maintenance to keep your car running well to minimize the risk of a breakdown in the cold weather. You should also review your car’s warranty to know what parts are covered for how long if they fail.