You wouldn’t wear flip-flops in a blizzard, but have you considered what your car is wearing outside? As temperatures continue getting colder and the months of snow, ice and rain are just around the corner, you may be asking yourself an important question (and if you’re not, you probably should be): snow tires or all-season? There are certainly pros and cons to each, so be sure you’re choosing the tire safest for your car and driving needs.
It certainly sounds appealing: one set of tires that can handle any conditions the Pennsylvania climate throws your way (or drops in front of your car). All-season tires are built to give you good performance in any weather — not outstanding performance in any weather. All-season tires typically feature moderate tread depths, which offer some traction during the winter months. According to Consumer Reports, the average ice braking stopping distance was 36 feet on all-season tires, but just 30 feet on snow tires.
If you’re not planning to drive long distances in the snow, all-season may work just fine for you.
“We still sell more all-season tires than we do winter tires this time of year,” said Belinda Warner of Coen Tire in Washington. “It is a matter of how good you want to move around in the snow. Remember that a lot of snow tires are better on ice than all-season.”
If better handling and shorter stopping distances are important to you this winter, you might consider forgoing the all-season tires for a snow or winter tire. You can tell a winter tire by its three-peak mountain snowflake symbol on the sidewall. This means the tire is built for snow and “all terrain,” including ice, rain, sleet, frost or any other slippery creation Mother Nature throws out.
“If you have to drive in the winter, it’s a good idea to have a winter tire,” Warner said. “Winter tires have two to three times better traction than an all-season tire.”
If it’s been a while since you’ve purchased snow tires, you might be surprised how well those of today handle. Winter tires of the past performed poorly on dry roads or in the rain. Now, according to Edmunds, quality winter tires “give up almost nothing to original equipment all-season tires in emergency performance on dry roads or in the rain.”
Keep your tires working for you
Regardless of which tire you choose for the winter months, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the best performance possible — and preserving the life of the tire. The colder the temperature, the more likely your tires are losing pressure. According to Consumer Reports, tire air pressure typically drops 1 psi for each 10-degree drop in air temperature.
“Tire pressure is critical this time of year — as is proper tire rotation,” Warner said. Be sure to always walk around your vehicle to get a good look at your tires before driving.”
To find out which tire is right for your car this winter, visit Coen Tire.
A journalism graduate from Brigham Young University, Kristen has experience writing in a variety of fields, including art and culture, health and fitness and financial and real estate services. Kristen has written for USA Today, SFGate and the Knot.
This article is brought to you by Coen Tire, LLC.
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