5 Reasons You Should Be Using Winter Tires

Winter Tires on Snow

Ohio has its share of harsh winter weather, and the resulting icy roads are a safety risk to drivers. Switching your tires out from all-season or summer tires to a winter set will keep you safe and reduce your risk of accidents resulting from sliding or skidding.

Why You Should Swap Your All-Season Tires for Winter Tires

All-season, or all-weather, tires are designed to adapt to road conditions in both the hotter and colder months. For many areas with mild winters, all-season tires are perfectly appropriate and safe for year-round use. They have a flexible surface that can create traction on roads that are dry or slick with rain or ice.

However, all-season tires aren’t designed for areas with prolonged winters or consistent snowfall. When the temperature drops below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, the ability of all-season tires to grip the road is greatly reduced, raising the risk of skidding, sliding or failure to stop. 

Winter tires are designed to respond to icy roads with increased traction and responsiveness. Available in both studded and studless varieties, winter tires are softer than all-season tires, with compounds in the rubber that keep them flexible below 45 degrees. The grooves are deeper and have more irregular edges to provide better grip. 

There are many benefits to investing in winter tires, including:

1. Winter Tires Reduce the Risk of Accidents

Ohio drivers are particularly vulnerable to winter car crashes. consistently ranking as the state with the most winter driving fatalities; also, 17% of all vehicle crashes occur in snowy conditions.

Not only will winter tires give you better handling on icy roads, but the increased confidence in your vehicle can help you drive more safely and minimize feelings of nervousness.

2. Winter Tires Save You Money

While it may seem counterintuitive, purchasing winter tires can save you a lot of money in the long run. One set of winter tires will last you four to six seasons and help your car perform at peak performance during that time.

When you drive on all-season tires during the winter, your car has to work harder, which prematurely wears down engine parts. Your gas performance will also improve with winter tires, meaning you won’t have to fill your tank as often. 

Plus, depending on your car insurance, you may be on the hook for up to $2,500 in deductible costs if you’re involved in an accident, not to mention any medical costs on top of that. The average cost of winter tires is $1,000 or under  — much less than the worst-case scenario of a car crash.

3. Winter Tires Have Better Stopping Performance

According to AAA, it can take your car up to 10 times longer to stop on snowy roads. The soft, flexible nature of winter tires means you won’t have to worry about skidding on ice if there’s a sudden need to stop. Studded winter tires provide even more traction in areas that have a lot of snow.

4. Winter Tires Have Improved Handling

All-season tires are made to respond quickly to your driving. While this is a benefit on dry roads, it’s actually a safety hazard when roads are icy, snowy or wet. The quick response can result in skidding or spinning out. Winter tires, on the other hand, are soft and squishy. 

The grippiness gives you improved handling on icy roads, keeping you in control of your vehicle.

5. Winter Tires Extend the Life of Your All-Season Tires

When you drive on all-season tires in the winter, the harsh conditions cause severe wear and tear and uneven tread. The tires will be susceptible to balding, bubbling and deflating. Over time, you’ll pay more replacing all-season tires than if you stored them and used winter tires instead. By swapping the tires, you’ll extend their lives and get more for your money.

Trust Us: Winter Tires are Worth It

While changing out your tires seasonally seems like a pain, the fact is that it’s the most responsible way to keep you and other drivers safe while driving on hazardous roads. Not only will using winter tires save you money by reducing wear and tear and improving gas mileage, but the improved traction and handling will reduce the risk of an accident. 

If changing out your tires feels like a hassle, one way to make the process easier is to purchase wheels with the same diameter and bolt pattern as your current wheels. Simply mount your winter tires on these wheels and store them when they’re not in use. An expert technician will be able to swap the wheels out quickly and often inexpensively when compared to remounting. 

When the weather warms, just clean off any accumulated dirt and debris, and store the tires in a cool, dark and dry space. If your tires don’t have rims, they should be stored upright in a plastic bag. If they are on rims, you should stack them.

Why Tire Maintenance Matters

Like your car’s engine or brake system, tire maintenance is an important part of making sure your car lasts. By staying on top of your tires’ care, you’ll stay safe and save money.

Regularly check the tire pressure using the PSI specification on the car door, rather than on the tire itself. This method will give you the most accurate pressure for your specific make and model of vehicle. Avoid over- or under-inflating as this increases your risk of blowouts and can cause abnormal wear on your tires, shortening their lifespan.

To promote even tread wear, have your tires rotated at every oil change. Many auto repair shops provide tire rotation as a free addition to an oil change, so do your research before scheduling your next appointment. The tread depth should be measured regularly. Use a tread measure to inspect your tires, and get them replaced as soon as the treads are below a safe depth. Winter tires have deeper treads, so make sure you’re using the maintenance guide from your car’s manufacturer for the most accurate measurements.

By taking the time to change out your tires and maintain them, you’re investing in your safety — as well as the safety of others on the road. If you have any questions or concerns about the right kind of winter tires for your vehicle, contact a trusted auto repair shop today.

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