Snow Tires, Chains, Or All-Weather Tires: Which Should You Use?
With winter already here, you should be thinking about your tires. After all, it is your tires that help your vehicle stay on the road. If the tread is too worn or they lose their grip, your vehicle can end up in a ditch, rolling down a slippery slope, or in the middle of a car pile-up on the freeway.
The big question here is, what kind of tires should your vehicle have this time of year? There are snow tires, all-weather/all-season tires, and standard tires with snow chains. If you are not sure which, the following information will help you guide your decision and put your vehicle on the safest path with the right tires.
Snow tires are made of a special kind of rubber that does not freeze up hard and become brittle in the cold weather. This means that no matter how cold it gets, the tires will still conform to the surface of the road or any snow- and ice-covered surface. It also means that they will not suddenly bust and rupture, sending your vehicle all over the road. Snow tires have excellent grip because of their deep treads, grabbing into the slushiest and crunchiest of snows. If you live where the snow gets really deep and the cold winds regularly cause dips in temperature below zero, snow tires are the way to go.
All weather tires are designed for people who do not want to change all four of their tires every time the seasons and road conditions change. They are the "convenience" tire that can manage the ice and snow of winter and the high flood waters of spring. For extra traction, you can add snow chains to these tires in winter. (Snow chains on snow tires is redundant and will not do much extra for snow tires. However, on all-weather tires, snow chains enhance the tires' ability to manage the ice and snow.)
Snow chains are literally chains. Typically, you place them flat on the ground directly in front of the all-weather tires on your vehicle. Then you pull over the chains until the tires are about mid-way over the tops of the chains. Then the ends of the chains are wrapped upward and around the tires until the ends meet, hook together, and hook onto the tires' rims. The chains completely prevent your vehicle from sliding on ice. If there are thick sheets of ice or black ice on the roads, the tire chains will keep you from skidding and sliding all over.
To learn more about these tire choices, talk to a professional like those at Evans Tire & Service Centers.