While many people get busy stocking their kitchens and wardrobes for the changing of the seasons, they forget that their car also needs a revamp. The roads will undoubtedly change, along with the seasons. Read on to know the basics, regarding the best tires for your weather and road conditions.

Winter Tires and All-Seasons Tires: What’s The Difference?

Different tires have different purposes. Let us first go over the defining features of the winter tires and all-seasons tires.

  • All-Seasons Tires

These tires are made of firm rubber. They perform best on hot and moderately cold roads. They even work well on wet roads. An all-seasons tire is designed for flexibility. It can take on just about any kind of road condition, including summer, mild winter, and heavy rain.

  • Winter Tires

These tires are made of soft rubber that performs best in cold temperatures. The treads of these tires have biting edges, so that the car doesn’t lose traction on snow-covered roads.

Why Should Tires Be Changed?

People opt for different kinds of tires for breaking safety. You need tires that have a grip suitable for the road surface where you will be driving, whether it’s hot, snow-covered, or rain-covered.

The Science Behind the tires.

All-season tires are made of hard materials that will not get sticky on a hot road surface. When it is very cold, the all-seasons tire becomes brittle and cannot grip the road.

Winter tires are made of soft rubber that can grip, even the coldest of roads, however are unsuitable on hot roads, where they can become sticky. The ridges of winter tires are also designed to lock the snow. This improves grip, since nothing is better at gripping snow, than snow itself.

Selecting A Tire: Why the Place You Live In Matters

When selecting the type of tire for your car, it’s important to consider where you live. While most cars come with all-season tires, you may have to switch them out for winter tires, depending on your winters. If you experience winters that dip down into the negatives, you will require winter tires. Anywhere that remains above sub-zero, is warm enough to use all-seasons tires instead.

What Kind of Car Do You Have?

It’s a myth that four-wheel or all-wheel drive cars do not require winter tires. An all-wheeler works by powering all the wheels, however this doesn’t mean that winter tires will not be required. If there’s snow and ice, all cars should have winter tires.

When Should You Invest in Both

If your region experiences all four seasons, it’s advisable to keep both all-seasons tires and winter tires on hand. If you experience four or more months of snow, it’s imperative to have a set of winter tires.

Is There a Way to Cut the Costs

Investing in good set of tires pays for your safety. Rather than using all-seasons tires in heavy snow and knocking on wood, it’s better to spend the extra money on a good set of winter tires as well. It should be seen as a form of life insurance.

If you must cut costs, opt to change the rear tires only. The rear tires are critical for grip, so whatever season you need your tires for, be it winter tires for winter or all-seasons tires for summer, the tires should be at the rear.

What about snow Socks, Snow Chains, and Studs?

Under some conditions, you might require snow socks for your winter tires. Snow socks can improve driving for heavy snow fall, especially on country roads that do not get plowed often. Snow socks require effort to install, yet guarantee grip in deep snow. They’re made for shorter distances only. Highway driving requires winter tires.  

Some states require you to carry snow chains, just in case of snow fall. The chains can save cars from becoming stuck, since the snow removal process tends to take longer for warmer states that are less prepared for heavy snow. Snow chains are readily available at most car dealerships.

Only some places allow drivers to add studs to their winter tires. Studs can improve traction for accelerating and braking, as well as turning sharp corners, on snow-covered roads. They should be installed by an expert on brand new winter tires.

When to switch from all-seasons tires to winter tires

You should switch from all-seasons tires to winter tires on Thanksgiving and then change back to all-seasons tires at Easter. Follow this general guideline, within reason. Use your best judgment and change the tires based on the weather.

Snow tires normally last up to three seasons before needing to be replaced.

What to do with Spare All-Seasons Tires

Many people require winter tires and all-seasons tires for the changing of the seasons. You can store your tires in your garage, on your balcony, or if you require additional storage space, with your car dealer. Your car dealer may be able to give you a better deal for storage.

What If the Roads Are Wet?

Winter tires provide traction on icy, wet roads, yet don’t work in the summer. All-seasons tires can be used on wet roads in the summer because they have the correct firmness and tread to grip the asphalt. Long summers that experience heavy rain fall, require summer tires, since summer tires are even harder than all-seasons ones, providing the best grip on hot asphalt.

Read the Signs

When you’re out shopping for the tires, it’s important to know what the various symbols mean:

M+S, M/S, M&S, MS: Tires with M and S appearing together, indicate all-seasons tires, since M stands for mud and S stands for snow.

3PMSF: This code symbolizes winter tires that are suitable for medium-packed snow. Transport Canada recognizes a picture of a mountain with three peaks and a snow flake, as suitable for severe snow conditions.

Another way to know the difference between winter tires and all-seasons tires is to do the touch-test that checks for softness. Winter tires are softer to the touch, compared to all-seasons tires.

When you buy brand new tires, in store, you can rest assured that they’ll make you feel safe and comfortable for driving. When you buy second-hand, you may need to do a little extra research beforehand so that you end up getting a quality product. Whether your car is a luxury vehicle or a second-hand antique, a good set of tires improves driving, including general safety.

Good tires = Good life insurance.