Tire Buying Guides

Mud and Snow Tires: All You Need to Know

Last updated 11/03/2023 - Originally published 9/22/2020
Written by SimpleTire

Mud and snow tires (also known as M&S tires or M+S tires) are specifically designed to function well in slick or slippery conditions. As you explore the various types of mud and snow tires available, you'll likely find that some of them offer benefits that appeal to you while others are made for extreme conditions that you'll never face. Learning more about mud and snow tires should help you choose an option that will suit your needs.

The Benefits of Mud and Snow Tires

Mud and snow tires often have deep ridges that offer increased traction on the road in bad conditions. They also help you maintain traction in colder temperatures thanks to rubber that stays flexible in the cold. Unlike summer and all-season tires, they're meant for traction in temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Some mud and snow tires can provide even greater traction with studded treads. Metal studs protrude slightly from the tires to dig into mud, snow, ice, and other factors that can compromise traction.

The Disadvantages of Mud and Snow Tires

Mud and snow tires are excellent options for driving in muddy or icy conditions. Remember, however, that they don't perform as well in warm temperatures. The soft rubber, although resistant to hardening in cold conditions, is less ideal in warm weather. This means that drivers need to replace their tires as the seasons change. That's why many drivers own mud and snow tires as well as all-season or summer tires.

Recognizing Mud and Snow Tires

As you shop for tires, you can recognize mud and snow designs by looking for the "M" and "S" initials on the side of the tires. Depending on the manufacturer, the label may read "MS", "M&S", "M+S", or some other variant. Although less popular, some tire manufacturers label their tires as "mud and snow". If you see these letters on a tire, then you know that they have been specially designed to offer maximum control in icy, snowy, and muddy conditions.

Choosing Mud and Snow Tires

When buying mud and snow tires, make sure that you choose the right size for your vehicle. You can usually find the tire size for your car by consulting your owner's manual.

Choosing an appropriately sized mud and snow tire is important. A tire that is even slightly too large or small might not give you the advantages that you want in cold, muddy, and slick driving conditions. Improperly sized tires often wear out sooner and can cause mechanical problems for your vehicle.

If you spend a lot of time driving in slick conditions, then you should consider the benefits that mud and snow tires offer.

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