Everything You Need to Know About Snow Tires
Snow tires how do I know if I need them?
As you can imagine, we hear a lot of questions about tires. The most popular one is, “Do I even need winter tires?” This can be a tough question to answer because so many variables are involved; here’s a good rule of thumb: If you are able to stay home or use public transportation during inclement weather you may be okay with all season tires, if you have less flexibility in your travel schedule, winter/snow tires are the right choice. Snow tires do more than help you drive along. They improve traction whether you’re accelerating, turning, or braking. All-season tires are built to handle a variety of road conditions – dry roads, wet roads, and in many cases, the light snow like what we get here in Jamaica Plain, Brookline, Roslindale, any and all the surrounding Boston neighborhoods, leads us to having the choice between all-season and snow tires.
How are winter tires different from all-season tires?
Snow tires, whether studless or studded, are made to maintain better traction in extreme cold, and on icy, snowy, or slushy roads. The rubber is able to remain softer during cold temperatures which make them more flexible, allowing the tire to conform to the road better in extremely cold conditions. This feature, along with deeper tread depths and specialized tread designs, and biting edges for traction on ice are what make snow/winter tires ideal for inclement winter weather and extreme cold driving conditions. All-season tires can’t be as singled-minded, their tread pattern seeks to serve both dry-weather grip and snowstorm bite, so we see medium-size tread blocks that provide some lateral stiffness along with an increased number of biting edges, an intermediate rubber compound with a wider temperature range is often employed. Because all-season tires are the default tire on many new cars today, they have to somehow simultaneously minimize noise levels, maximize tread life and promote fuel economy with low rolling resistance. In short, all-season tires are asked to do everything, making them a good not great choice, more a convenience.
Do I really need to buy four winter tires, or can I get away with just two?
Winter tires should only be installed in sets of four, regardless of whether your vehicle is front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive. Using two different types of tires can give your vehicle a “split personality” where the front and rear are not working together. For the best handling, control, and safety in tough, cold-weather conditions, we strongly recommend using four winter tires. The newer cars with traction control and anti-lock brakes make this a very important point.
Can I use my winter tires all year round?
This is a great question that often gets overlooked. Morrison’s Auto Rite, along with the automotive industry, wouldn’t recommend it. When used in warm weather, the softer rubber compound of snow tires can wear out faster than the compound used in all-season tires. If you used your winter tires year-round, it would end up costing you more than switching between two sets of tires because significant wear can occur in one offseason? A better choice to help minimize the expense would be purchase rims when buying the snow tires, this will reduce the yearly expense of switch between snow tires and regular tires, the upfront expense will save you for years to come. So if you live in J.P., Roslindale, Newton, Brookline, Hyde Park, Roxbury or any of the neighboring communities follow the link to set an appointment.