It may be a little early to talk snow, but it’s never too early to start thinking about readying your car for winter. Snow tires are one of the most obvious ways to do so; that’s why it’s an ideal time to research your snow tire options before the first snow storm hits and you need snow tires.
When should I put on snow tires?
Snow tires should not be mounted too soon before the first snow fall; snow tires are made of a soft rubber compound that can wear off on warm pavement. Contact your local tire store about putting on snow tires when the temperature routinely hits 40 degrees (or near freezing) or there is news of upcoming snow.
Why snow tires?
Snow tires have a unique tread that is designed and manufactured for optimal handling on wet and slippery roads. With a softer compound, snow tires can handle better than all-season tires since they are constructed specifically for winter roads and conditions. Snow tires are not a replacement for the traction control found on many vehicles (or visa versa); instead snow tires are another way to assist drivers who routinely venture out on wintery roads.
If you don’t want to deal with mounting and dismounting your tires every season, look into purchasing a second set of rims specifically for your snow tires. With a second set of rims, you don’t have to go through the hassle of being without a vehicle while your mechanic remounts tires.
What should I look for in a set of snow tires?
Purchasing snow tires is similar to buying a set of all-season tires. There are three primary factors to use when buying snow tires: 1) tire size 2) your expectations for your next set of tires and 3) driving style.
Once you’ve determined the size you need, do your research (or trust someone who knows your vehicle and can recommend tires) when buying snow tires, and be honest with yourself about your driving style. If you have to venture out in the worst winter conditions, select a set of tires with a proven record on winter roads. Choose a set of snow tires with improved handling and traction; again the exact set is going to depend on your driving style (don’t be afraid to ask your mechanic or local tire store for recommendations).
When should I take off snow tires?
Wait until the threat of snow has passed. When the temperatures start hitting the upper 40’s or low 50’s on a regular basis, it’s time to take those 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.