How Do You Know if You Need Snow Tires?

Each winter, many vehicle owners wonder if they need to put snow tires on their car or truck. It’s not a “one answer fits all” kind of question.

The answer depends on what part of the country you live in. The pros at Ford Bedford can help you determine if you need to switch out your tires before the bad weather hits. Let’s run down some of the basics of tires to help you better understand the differences between all-weather (all-season) and winter tires.

ALL SEASON TIRES

  • Come as standard equipment on most passenger vehicles
  • Suitable for most moderate weather conditions – summer or winter
  • They take the best features of summer tires and winter tires to create a “combo” that will perform well under most conditions
  • They have low rolling resistance – this translates into better fuel economy
  • Provide a quieter and smoother ride than snow tires do
  • Better tread wear which means they don’t have to be replaced as often as some other tires
  • Provide better road handling
  • Rubber used in all season tires hardens during cold weather – this creates issues with handling and performance in icy conditions

SNOW OR WINTER TIRES

  • Designed for severe weather driving
  • Specialized tread patterns with edges for better grip on icy roads
  • Manufactured with different rubber composition than summer and all-season tires, which is able to stay soft with very cold temperatures and allows for better grip and handling on the road
  • Not good for warm weather use due to the softer rubber which causes premature wear and tear which results in having to replace tires sooner rather than later

WHO NEEDS SNOW TIRES?

For anyone living in an area that has relatively mild winters with low snowfall amounts, all season tires will perform well. Those living in areas that experience harsher conditions with large snowfall amounts and severe icing conditions would do better with a winter tire.

Snow tires are specifically designed to handle those trickier winter driving conditions by minimizing spin-outs and providing better traction in deeper snow.

It bears mentioning that when switching out between tires for seasonal reasons, all four tires should be replaced at the same time. If the vehicle is equipped with AWD (all-wheel drive), it is extremely important to keep all tires the same size and preferably the same manufacturer and model. There are problems that can occur in AWD vehicles, particularly with the drivetrain, if different size and model tires are installed.

All of this can seem very confusing and complicated for some vehicle owners. The experts at Ford Bedford can help with navigating through all this information and assist with determining if winter tires are suitable for your vehicle and situation. We can professionally install new tires and ensure proper mounting and balancing which allows for better handling and tread wear.

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