Are your tires good enough to perform in winter driving conditions? Contrary to what you may have been told, not all tires are the same. This is especially true for winter snow tires and all-season tires most vehicles come equipped with. Winter tires are specially designed to provide you a safe and hassle free driving experience in the snow covered winter days giving your vehicle a better grip on ice and snow.
Winter tires are making a big comeback in sales and popularity with an increase of about 7.5% last year. It has a lot to do with the factory tires that come with all new vehicles. They are made with the summer months in mind but in harsh winter conditions those soft, gummy tires are utterly useless to the driver. Here is a breakdown of you can go about buying a new set of winter snow tires:
- Know that if you plan on buying new winter snow tires, you need to buy all four and not just one or two so you'll need some money to buy them. Many people looking to save a few bucks try to purchase only winter tires for their front wheels which is not a smart thing to do. Two different sets of tires on your car can be dangerous leading to spin outs and other vehicle control issues. All four winters tires better be all the same brand, size, model, speed-rated, load index, tread pattern and type, as well.
- The best snow tires are the ones with a snowflake on mountains symbol found on the sidewall of the tire. This symbol shows that those tires have been approved and met all the toughest Severe Winter Traction Standard regulations. For example, some tires are marked with an M+S which stands for mud and snow. While these tires are still all-weather tires, they are still not considered to acceptable for use in extreme winter conditions.
- You'll need to know the size of tire you'll need for your vehicle. The last thing you want to do is purchase and mount a set of four tires only to find they are too small. The size can either be found on the side of the tire itself or inside your car's owner manual. Most tire shops also keep a database of tire sizes to match each individual vehicle make and model.
- Know the tread depth of your tires now and the depth you want. If your daily driving route involves a whole lot of snow and slush, I recommend a tire depth of about 6/32 inch or more.
- Now the only you have left to do is get your tires mounted. If you have the tools to do it yourself, you'll save a few bucks but you're better off just paying a tire shop or garage to do it for you. Many places that sell you the tires will do the mount and install for you for a small extra charge.
- Once you have your new winter tires mounted up to your vehicle, the only thing you need to do is be sure that they are properly inflated at all times. During the cold winter months, you should check it at least once a week.