It’s the time of year to start looking at winter tires. Ask anyone who owns a set and they’ll tell you they make world of difference when driving on the Northern Michigan slippery roads. So, what makes a “snow tire” any different from other tires? First the deep tread is specially designed to dig into the snow and ice and the rubber compounds they are manufactured with are specifically designed to remain flexible in cold weather so they can maintain a solid grip on the road. Other tires have a tendency to get stiff in the cold weather, which leads to sliding and not even the all-season tires are able to handle snow and ice as well as snow tires can.
Can you save money and still reap the benefits by putting two snow tires on your vehicle?
No, you should always use a full set of 4 snow tires.
Putting snow tires on only two of your wheels can cause major issues with traction and make it difficult to keep your vehicle under control in slippery conditions. The reason is that unlike older snow tires that just had a different tread pattern and depth; modern snow tires are manufactured from different compounds that remain softer in cold weather providing significantly more traction.
If you put snow tires on only the front 2 wheels of your front wheel drive vehicle your rear wheels will have less traction than the front making your rear brakes less effective and causing your rear end to have a tendency to slide out in-front of you when your braking during a turn.
If you put snow tires on the back wheels of your rear wheel drive vehicle, the snow tires will help you accelerate in slipper conditions, but your braking and steering ability will be severely handicapped.
Can you use your snow tires year round?
If you want get the most use out of your snow tires, it’s a good idea to have them removed before the warm weather arrives. Your snow tires are designed to stay softer in the cold weather, but that means that when the temperatures rise you will have overly soft tires that run hot. This results in poor handling and premature wear.
Have more questions about snow tires?
Stop by our Traverse City garage (located just south of downtown, off of Cass Rd.) and visit with an ASE Certified Technician. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have.