Winter driving takes a certain amount of skill not required during the other seasons. Winter weather is variable and braking and turning can become out of control all too quickly. One major advantage is if your vehicle is equipped with winter tires. Snow tires have been shown to aid in maneuverability in winter conditions of snow, ice, sleet, and rain.
Tires for Winter Conditions
All season tires are really not equipped to handle the roads when winter hits. Studies show that with temperatures below 45F, winter tires improve handling and braking. This is because the tires are specifically designed to hold traction in colder weather.
Sometimes people think that tires rated M+S (mud and snow) are the same as snow tires. These tires are designed for slick conditions but are not necessarily appropriate for packed snow or on ice. It is best to have a tire that is specifically branded for winter driving and that are constructed of the appropriate compound that works best in those conditions.
Tires rated summer and all season are manufactured from a stiff rubber compound. This allows the tire to keep its shape on hot pavement. Snow tires are made of hydrophilic rubber that remains softer and more pliable during winter weather. That means the tires will produce more traction. Snow tires also have larger grooves between the tread and the tread itself have irregular but sharp edges. The combination of wide grooves and tread edges will move through the snow and stay in closer contact with the road by scooping the snow and slush away. As the tire maintains velocity or speed, it throws the snow aside for better traction than all season tires.
If you are considering putting snow tires on only the front or only the back, realize that this will create a significant difference in traction for the two axles. This will result in less steering control. Driving with mismatched tires or using the wrong size will also give you poorer handling.
Invest in Winter Tires
As you choose to invest in snow tires, you may be wondering if it is a good idea to purchase rims as well. In order to decide, find out what the cost is to change the tires twice a year if they are not on rims and then figure on five years, or ten changes. If the extra cost of changing the tires is more than the purchase price of rims, then buy rims. If not, don’t buy the rims, but plan to spend extra time at the shop when the tires are being swapped because it will take more time to remount tires off and on the rim.
There is certainly peril in winter driving no matter what type of tires you have. If you want to find the best deal on winter tires in Ottawa, come to Ultimate Automotive. We have a wide selection and will answer any additional questions you have. We are experts in tires and can offer you the best price around.