Do I Need Winter Tires?

Snow TiresIf you live anywhere near Akron, Cleveland or Lorain, then you know how challenging the winter weather can be. With snow storms that just won’t stop, lake effect blizzards and ice buildup, you might be content to simply stay in your house until the first melt. If you do decide to go out, you might be wondering: Would snow tires help?

Snow tires are specifically designed for those people who live in climates that deal with snow and ice. Auto shops believe that there are some significant benefits to switching over to snow tires for the winter months. Snow tires are not the same as your typical all-season tires. Auto mechanics will generally tell you that tires made for traveling on snow and ice are made from a different type of rubber product – one that maintains its ability to conform to road surfaces even at freezing temperatures. This is something that an all-season tire simply won’t do. All-season tires are designed to be used above forty degrees, so their rubber does become less flexible in colder weather.

The different materials, in addition to several other factors, make snow tires a good choice for those who live in very snowy climates. Snow tires have been created to actually push water away from the tire. Car maintenance specialists say that the small slits you see in the tread pattern actually open and close as the tire rotates around to the ground, pushing the snow and slush away from the road, which allows for safer travel. Auto shops may also offer you a snow tire option that actually includes ice cleats that are built in. Ideal for climates where ice storms are a regular part of the weather pattern, these cleats help tires to maintain their traction despite slippery surfaces.

There are a couple of things to know about adding snow tires to your car for the winter.

• First, car care centers caution that snow tires should only be used in cold weather and not all year long. Because of the composition of the tire, warmer weather can cause snow tires to wear down much more quickly.

• Secondly, when you have your snow tires installed, don’t forget to ask about a wheel alignment. Car mechanics will suggest a wheel alignment to make sure the tires are completely vertical, which will give you the best contact with slippery roads.

• Finally, make sure to install snow tires on all four wheels. Only installing snow tires on the front or the back can cause spin-outs and accidents.

Are snow tires a good idea for you? They are if you live in an area that suffers from inclement weather. If you need more information, contact your local Rad Air today!