Do you need snow tires?

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winterize_watertownJust this morning, we heard DJs on the radio talking about last year’s polar vortex and the winter forecast, bringing back memories of cold days and snow-covered roads. If you’re also reliving those fond memories, now is an ideal time to look into snow tires before the blizzard warnings hit the airwaves.

Not sure if you need it? Not everyone does. For some Wisconsinites who don’t have to venture out during snow, or head south for the winter, snow tires are not a necessity. However, if you’re among the thousands of Wisconsinites who HAVE to get to work or school, or you want the freedom to venture out into the snow whenever you want (like when the skiing or snowmobiling conditions are prime), snow tires have clear cut advantages for winter drivers:

  • Increased traction when you need it the most. We’ve all gotten stuck, or driven by cars in the ditch, because of lost traction. Winter road conditions are icy, wet and cold, and snow tires are specially designed to handle it. Constructed with a softer compound and tread pattern designed specifically for getting through winter precipitation, snow tires can dig down and find traction on even the roughest roads. Though it might be tempting to leave those snow tires on year round, those same advantages during winter can be a huge disadvantage during the warmer and drier times of the year. You’ll find the tires wear faster, create more noise and do not perform as well during spring and summer months.
  • All-season tires are designed for every weather condition, and not just winter. Tires are the epitome of give and take. All-season tires, the most common tires on our cars, are designed for rain, heat, cold and snow. They give you a good all-around tire for those conditions, but the “take” is that they are not specially equipped for winter. They can’t be when they also need to be built to take on 100 degree asphalt as well.
  • You can’t always stay home when the snow comes. Being tough Midwesterners that we are, our Wisconsin schools and businesses don’t close for a few inches of snow. Inevitably, we are all on the road when an unpredictable snow storm hits. If you are a doctor or emergency worker, you don’t have a choice; you have to brave the conditions. That’s when a set of snow tires becomes an invaluable investment. Those tires give us traction, and a feeling of security, as we tough it out through those unavoidable winter conditions.
  • They’re just—well, better—for winter driving. Softer compounds and tread patterns designed specifically for winter weather—you can’t ask for anything more when you need to get through the snow. If you want to enjoy all these advantages of winter tires without the hassle of unmounting and mounting tires to your rims, invest in another set of rims. You can put your all-season tires one set of rims, and your winter tires on another, making the winter swap faster and easier.

Traction control is not a replacement for snow tires; traction control adjusts the speed of your tires to conditions, but does not give your vehicle more traction to get through the snow. The best remedy for getting through the snow this winter is snow tires. Don’t delay, order your snow tires before the blizzards hit. They give you the security and traction you need to take on that forecasted polar vortex—and all the snow that comes with it.

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