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All Your Questions about Snow Tires Answered

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snow tire questions answeredWe’re not jumping the gun here. When those unpredicted snow storms hit (and the weatherman is wrong), it’s helpful to know how you’re going to get out of your driveway and through the foot of snow. That’s when it’s important to know everything there is to know about snow tires—or at least to have all your questions about snow tires answered so you can make an informed decision about what’s best for your car this winter.

What is the difference between all-season and winter tires?

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. All-season tires deliver okay performance no matter what the condition.

For drivers looking for extra traction, research your snow tire options. Snow tires are specially designed to handle all the snow that our Wisconsin winters dump on the roads. 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.

Do I need snow tires even when I have traction control?

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. Really the best remedy for getting through the snow this winter is snow tires. They give you the security and traction you need to take on that forecasted polar vortex—and all the snow that comes with it.

When should I put snow tires on and take them off?

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.

That’s why it’s best to put snow tires on your car when the temperature drops consistently below 45, and to use that same temperature guide when deciding when to remove your snow tires. When the temperatures start hitting the upper 40’s or low 50’s on a regular basis, it’s time to take the snow tires off—but try not to make the switch too soon. You don’t want to get stuck in a spring snow storm on all-season tires when you bought a set of snow tires for safety and increased traction.

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.

How much do snow tires cost?

The cost of your snow tires depends on the size of tires you need; you can find your recommended tire size in your manufacturer’s manual. Some cars also have the recommended tire size on a label in the driver’s side door frame. To find out the cost of snow tires, shop our online tire store or contact us to find out your snow tire options and cost.

Winter Driving Tips

winterize_watertownWhether you want it or not, Wisconsin winters bring snow, arctic cold and winter driving—a challenge for even the most experienced driver. Don’t just tackle those roads head-on. A preventive maintenance check-up for your car, and a short crash course on winter driving, is the most effective way to get through the roughest Wisconsin winter roads:

Have your vehicle checked before you brave through the snow. Even if your vehicle is well maintained, chances are your vehicle needs an inexpensive tune-up to get through our Wisconsin wintery roads.

Know the thickness of your brakes and tires. These are two of the most important systems in your car for winter driving. Extra traction and thick pads are vital when driving during the most challenging winter storms.

Always carry a cell phone and emergency kit. Be prepared for an emergency breakdown or to dig out. Never leave home without a cell phone, emergency kit, shovel, window scraper and winter gear.

Allow for extra traveling time. Slow and steady wins the race in snow.  Go as fast as conditions allow.

Double your normal stopping distance. Take your normal stopping distance and double it.  You’ll need extra space to stop when the roads are wet and slippery.

Never stop on a hill or on a sharp curve. Stopping in a blind spot for other motorists is a sure way to ask for trouble. If your vehicle can’t make it up a hill, take a detour so you can take a flatter route to your destination.

Don’t mash the gas. Avoid sudden accelerations as much as possible so you don’t fishtail or slide into the path of oncoming traffic or into the ditch.

If you want extra traction when navigating on the snowy roads, purchase snow tires for your vehicle. 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. The snow is here, so don’t delay. Make an appointment to get five vital parts of your vehicle checked so you can survive our Wisconsin winter roads.