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What Makes a Winter Tire?

winter tireDriving has a tendency to become challenging and unpredictable if you live in an area of the country where winter weather wreaks its havoc. Even if you don’t live in an area that’s prone to snowy and icy winters, all you need to do is look back on the cold temperatures that the 2014 polar vortex and its subsequent challenges brought to much of the nation .

Driving can be a challenge in the snow and ice – that’s where a good set of winter tires can come in handy. Unlike all-season tires, winter tires, which are also commonly referred to as “snow tires,” are designed to grip the road better in winter weather, thereby providing greater traction and reducing slip – all of which makes for a safer winter time drive.

But just what makes a winter tire better for the elements than an all-season tire? Here’s a look:

  • Soft rubber: Snow tires are made from a softer rubber than standard tires, meaning that they’re more apt to grip icy or snowy roads. All-season tires have a tendency to harden when the weather gets cold outside. This greatly influences how well they grip to the road. The soft rubber of snow tires, conversely, remains soft in cold temperatures, ensuring that it grips the road better, regardless of the conditions.
  • Winter Treads: Combine this softer rubber with the deep treads of snow tires and such tires provide drivers with much more traction when compared to standard tires. What’s more is that the superior gripping ability of snow tires also allows for better braking compared to all-season tires, which are more likely to lock up.
  • Tire Siping: “Siping” is the process of cutting slits at 90-degree angles across a tire tread, thereby providing more gripping edges for driving in slick conditions. This can improve tire performance in all conditions.

While snow tires definitely come in handy in winter weather, we should mention that they should only be used in those conditions. That’s because snow tires have a tendency to wear faster than all-purpose tires if they’re on your car year-round, as the soft rubber comes more into contact with the pavement. While you might sneer at the thought of purchasing another set of tires in addition to your all-season set, be aware that you can also purchase used winter tires to save some money on this additional seasonal set while ensuring maximum safety in the elements.

For more information about winter tires and to browse from our vast winter tire selection, visit our homepage or call 866-480-8477.

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