Do You Really Need Snow Tires?
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Do You Really Need Snow Tires?

If you live or drive in an area where there is snow, you need to install snow tires on all four wheels vehicle. Snow tires are designed to provide the extra grip needed for traction and maneuverability in snow and on ice.

If I had a dollar for every time I have been asked the question, Do I really need to buy a set of snow tires for my car, I would be able to buy a new set of the best snow tires available for my Jeep Cherokee. Many people around town know me as being the go to guy for information on all things automotive. I guess that comes from having been in the automotive repair business and from having built and raced my own stock cards back in the day when one man could afford to build and race stock cars without having big money sponsors behind him. Lately, every one is asking do I need snow tires? Are not “All-Season, All-Weather tires good enough? My quick answer ia always, it all depends on what kind of driving you do during the snow months. My quick answer never fails to turn into an extended discussion on the differences between All-Weather/All-Season tires and real Snow tires.

Snow tires increases your driving safety.

The bottom line is that if you live and drive in snow country, you really need to invest in a set of quality snow tires. If you live or make frequent trips to rural areas,snow tires are mandatory, but even if you live in the suburbs or the city you should have snow tires on your car. For an all-wheel drive vehicle, you need to have snow tires installed on all four wheels.

For a front-wheel drive vehicle, you need to put snow tires on four wheels.

It is not a prudent idea to put them just on the front wheels of a front wheel drive vehicle because the rear wheels will have less traction and therefore no where to go. To put snow tires on the front wheels only will make your front wheel drive vehicle more likely to spin out.

For a rear wheel drive vehicle, you need to install snow tires on all four wheels. If you were to simply put snow tires on the rear wheels of a rear drive vehicle, the front wheels which provides all the steering control will not be able to grip the road as well as the rear snow tire and the car will simply plow straight ahead no matter how much you turn the steering wheel.

For the best performance and the greatest safety, always put snow tires on all four wheels of your vehicle, no matter whether it is an AWD, front-wheel drive, or rear-wheel drive vehicle.

It is all about the tire design!

Snow Tires, which are also known as Winter Tires, unlike All-Season tires, are made of a softer rubber compound that holds its flexibility even in the coldest weather. Because of this softer rubber compound, snow tires are able to conform to the road's surface better than all-Season tires. Besides the softer rubber compound, winter-tires have a special tread designed to cut deeply into the snow and ice for increased traction and control.

The modern automobile is loaded with safety devices, like anti-lock brakes, electronic stability controls, and all-wheel-drive, but none of these life saving features can do the job that they were designed to do if the tires lose their grip on the road.

My final word on the subject.

In the end I tell everyone the same thing, “Yes, you do need snow tires. Snow tires save lives and the life you save may be your own or that of a loved one.”

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Comments (11)

Well explained. We just bought an all-wheel drive vehicle and will need to purchase snow tires.

You also need to drive smart and drive safe. Too many people think they can drive the same and it is simply not so...

Good advice. I don't have snow tires, but I don't drive much and seldom HAVE to be anywhere at any specific time. Even in northern Colorado, there are warm and dry days and I do my driving then.

This question came up locally here in Canada recently, and the answer was the same. Yes, in Canada, they recommend 'snow tires' for winter, not 'all-season.' A point as made about our Canadian winters although so far here in Toronto, -that's not a valid point as we have not had any appreciable snow except for a short-lived squall the other day which melted the following day. I read about a proposal to mandate 'snow tires' for drivers in Canada. Probably wise for further north & west, -but so far this these past few winters it seems a waste. I have all-season albeit, with a fairly aggressive tread and during this slushy squall morning it seemed that everyone except me was sliding and spinning-out. I had no difficulties getting to where I needed to be...

I have grown up in Michigan where it snows like crazy. Then I moved to many different northern states and I have never purchased snow tires in 30 years. I think I only got stuck just few times in my life. I always believed that if your careful, don't slam on your brakes, take it out of drive into neutral to help slow down when you come to stop signs you should be good. However, the information you have provided will help so many people. Thanks for sharing.

Good discussion with your very appreciated wisdom.thank you.

In this case, I don't need a snow tire as unfortunately, it never snows here. Interesting Article by the way, Voted Up!

I do not need snow tires here in Orlando.

We do not have snow here. But this is truly interesting to read.

we don't have a choice here, there is a cut off date to get them and if you don't have them you get a fine

certainly not..