Why You Should Be Thinking About Winter Tires
You may want to consider a new set or prepare for a long, tough winter drive.
If you're planning on getting through the winter on your car's all-season tires, how much tread do they have left? If the tires have less than 4/32 tread depth left, you should consider a new set or prepare for a tough winter drive. Remember that with a two-ton vehicle, it is just four hand-sized contact patches that touch the road, provide the grip needed for accelerating, braking, and handling. That's not much keep you and your passengers safe, especially in the cold, with a glaze of ice. (See our tire buying advice and winter tire ratings.)
If you want winter tires, don't wait — the retail season is in full swing right now. You might find yourself out of luck if you procrastinate until the first snow fall. Tire manufacturers have already built all the winter tires for this season, so when supplies run out, that's it.
Here are some tips to guide you through the process:
All-season tires: Based on our testing, all-season tires provide good all-around traction to handle dry, wet, and wintry conditions, but they tend not to be a master of any one condition. All-season tires are a good choice for modest winter conditions or when you can wait until the roads are plowed.
Winter tires: These tires are specially made for use in freezing temperatures and on snow and ice. Winter tires have a mountain and snowflake symbol on the sidewall indicating they meet challenging snow traction criteria. But like all-season tires, there is some compromise to consider, with so-so dry and wet grip and fast wear for many models. Consider winter tires if you have to drive in severe winter conditions.
Summer tires: If your car has summer tires on it, consider all-season or winter tires for cooler weather. These tires typically lose dry and wet grip below 45-degrees F and act like hockey pucks on snow and ice.
Bottom line: Consider your winter tire needs now to be sure you can get the tires you want and have the luxury to shop around for the lowest price before the snow starts falling.