When Should I Replace My Winter Tires?

If you live in an area that gets cold enough and sees enough winter precipitation to warrant buying winter tires, there’s no substitute for the traction they can provide. Winter tires have come a long way since the heavy-tread, noisy “snow tires” or “mud grips” that were on your dad’s station wagon a generation ago. Modern winter tires offer a better ride, road manners, and handling than they did in previous years. That doesn’t, however, mean that they are good year-round.

Winter tires are designed with a tread formulation that stays flexible at lower temperatures, which is their chief advantage over all-season tires. All-season tires tend to harden and stiffen at sub-freezing temps, compromising traction and control. The flip side of this, however, is that temperatures above about 40 or 45 degrees will wear winter tires prematurely. So, the answer to this question is…when temps are regularly above that level, it’s time to take your winter tires off for the season!

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