Tire Buying Guides
As we all know, different weather requires different tires to ensure reliable grip and control. While all-season tires such as Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4, Continental ExtremeContact DWS06, etc., are suitable for the majority of weather conditions, it is always recommended to replace tires with winter tires to ensure safety if you typically deal with heavy ice, slush, and snow.
Winter tires have a different type of rubber compound than most other tires, as it’s designed to remain flexible in freezing temperatures. Additionally, winter tires are available in three varieties: studless, studable, and studded. Studded tires are making a comeback in the tire industry and are becoming increasingly popular. Let’s see what studded snow tires are and their various pros and cons of them.
What are studded tires?
Winter studded tires are tires designed to provide excellent winter traction in select winter conditions with the help of studs. Studded tires are a type of snow tire or ice tire with extra metal or ceramic studs that range from 60 to 120 studs, inserted into the treads. The studs are used to increase the grip on the roads covered with snow, grains, and ice crystals, which can reduce the grip of a normal tire.
Studded winter tires provide extra safety while driving on hills and roads covered with snow and thin ice layers.
How do studded tires work?
Winter studs can either be installed on a studded tire by the tire manufacturer (pre-studded) or individually by a professional (studable). The studs are installed in the tire causing it to extend beyond the surface of the tire by about 1/32”. These studs penetrate the frozen roadways and create extra grip on the road to reduce the chance of slipping.
Only certain winter studded tires with holes for the studs can use studs. These snow stud tires are engineered with preset locations for the studs. You should not attempt to stud studless tires as it can cause damage to treads, and structural integrity and compromise the safety of the tire.
The benefits of studded tires
Snow studded tires were very popular a few decades ago but gradually were replaced with optimized tread winter tires. However, they are making a recovery and are becoming increasingly popular for their several benefits such as:
- Studded tires have better performance than studless tires and provide superior grip on hard-packed snowy and icy roads.
- While modern studless winter tires offer excellent traction on snow, studded tires can outperform them on icy roads.
- As studded tires can penetrate the frozen precipitation, the studs act as mini claws propelling the tire forward while maintaining a strong grip.
- Modern studded tires are also designed with cold-weather-resistant tire compounds and aggressive tread patterns for increased control.
The drawbacks of studded tires
There are several advantages of studded tires, but there are a few disadvantages as well.
- Studded tires are only suitable for icy and snow-packed roads. On dry winter roads, the studded tires decrease traction and can do more damage than good.
- Studs can also interrupt the interaction between the tire tread and the road, increasing the stopping distance.
- Studs can increase road noise (lesser in the case of rubber studs).
- Repetitive use of studs can also damage the roads which can lead to safety problems such as hydroplaning, excessive tire spray, pooling water, and vehicle control issues.
- Studded tires are not permitted for use in every town, city, or State, so you’ll need to review local laws before purchasing a set of studded tires or pinning your studable tires.
When are studded tires used?
Studded tires are used on icy and winter-packed roads only as using them on dry roads can reduce the traction instead of increasing it. However, you can remove the studs and use them as a normal tire, as these tires are also designed using winter tire compounds that can provide reliable grip and control in wet and dry road conditions.
Cost of studded tires
The cost of studded tires can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Moreover, the type of stud (rubber or metal) can also shift the price of the studded tire. However, a studded tire for a compact car usually costs anywhere from $100 to $550 per tire. The cost of the tire will also vary depending on the number of studs and the tire size.
Alternatives to studded tires
It is important to understand that not every city or state allows using metal studded tires as they can damage the roads. Some cities might only allow the use of studded tires in specific months with heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures. You must check the legality of the use of studded tires before installing them on your car.
If you cannot use studded tires, there are several studless alternatives that provide excellent and reliable grip during cold, icy, and snowy weather. For instance, the Michelin X-Ice Xi3 is an excellent choice with its symmetrical tread patterns and tire compound guaranteed by Michelin’s Promise Plan. You can also check out Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3, or Continental VikingContact 7.
SimpleTire offers a range of studded tires for different vehicles. For instance, you can check out Hankook Winter i*Pike RS2. If you are looking for something particular, you can contact SimpleTire directly and we’ll be happy to assist you.
Studded snow tires are legal to use in selected States and cities. While some cities might ban the use of studded tires altogether, some allow the use in specific months with heavy snowfall. For instance, in Idaho, you can use studded tires from October 1st till April 30th.
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