Tire maintenance & safety

When & who should switch to snow tires

Last updated 10/17/2022 - Originally published 9/23/2020
Written by SimpleTire

Fitting the appropriate tire on your vehicle can result in better driving efficiency and safety for everyone on the road. Depending on where you live, having the right set of tires may entail owning two sets of tires: all-season or summer tires and snow tires.

This will ensure that you and your passengers take advantage of enhanced safety measures, throughout the entire year even when inclement winter weather strikes. But just owning snow tires-sometimes called winter tires-isn't enough. You need to know when to have them put on your vehicle and when to have them taken off.

When to Switch to Snow Tires

Many drivers want to know if they need a set of snow tires for a passenger vehicle. If you live in a geographic region that experiences even a modest amount of snowfall or frozen precipitation throughout the winter months, you're probably one of the people asking that question. The short answer is yes. Snow tires are the safest tires to have on your vehicle in the snow and in temperatures that are regularly below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Many drivers are also under the impression that all-weather, or all-season tires are sufficient for safe driving through heavy snow, on wet or frozen roadways, and all of the other conditions that you might face while driving in the wintertime. The fact is that most all-season tires are intended for performance on dry, paved surfaces and for function during the rain.

Snow tires differ significantly in their design and in the materials used in them, ultimately offering a different performance capability. Tire tread on snow tires has continued to advance over the past several decades, especially because of the advancements in computer technology that allow tire manufacturers to run thorough analyses on their tires. So, if you live in an area that gets snow on a regular basis or experiences consistently freezing temperatures during the winter, all-season tires aren't the best for you.

Who Should Switch to Snow Tires?

It's true that vehicles with front-wheel drive are more capable on snowy and icy roads, but they still lack the power to grip the road at their best if they aren't fitted with snow tires. Vehicles with rear-wheel drive especially need snow tires because of their ability to easily lose traction in bad winter weather. Even 4x4, all-wheel, and 4-wheel drive vehicles can benefit greatly from snow tire technology.

There is one important fact to note, no matter what kind of tires you have on your vehicle, the best way to help yourself and everyone else stay safe on the road is to drive cautiously, especially when Mother Nature is making driving conditions worse. If you have any questions as to whether or not snow tires are necessary, consult the most reliable sources for information about your vehicle; the owner's manual or an automaker-certified technician at your local dealership.

Switching to Snow Tires

Switching to snow tires will give you several technological advantages when it comes to safe driving. Snow tires are built with more flexible compounds and often have tread sipes-small slits in the treads-as compared to all-season tires. The added sipes help provide better winter traction. Additionally, there are snow tires that have metal studs within the tread patterns to enhance handling, acceleration, and braking capability in snowy conditions.

Snow tires are also recommended for transport vehicles or vehicles used for work. This includes vans, SUVs, crossovers, and light and heavy trucks that are used for daily driving or commercial purposes. Snow tires help decrease the chance of an accident or getting stuck in heavy snow. You'll be able to keep your vehicle running, which means you'll be able to keep your business running.

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