You’ve had your car serviced in anticipation of winter, and you’ve got your emergency kit safely stowed in the trunk, so you’re ready to hit the road, right? If you’re counting on all-season tires to get you where you’re going, you may not be as ready as you think. In areas where ice, snow, and cold temperatures are a constant in winter, it’s a much better bet to switch to winter tires.
A recent survey commissioned by Michelin and focusing on the United States found that only two in five Americans who live in colder climates use winter tires. The reasons for this varied: some felt that all-season tires were enough during the winter, while others believed that having an all-wheel-drive vehicle meant they didn’t need winter tires. The people without winter tires voiced their primary concerns about driving in wintry weather as having to do with someone else losing control or getting stuck, while those who favor winter tires were more confident driving in bad conditions, and less concerned about other drivers.
What makes winter tires more effective? Winter tires have a flexible rubber compound and a tread that’s designed to be used on snow, slush, and in cold weather. These tires help increase traction during acceleration, make stopping distances shorter, and increase directional stability. The deep slits in the tire treads of winter tires help prevent hydroplaning, and the traction is between 25 and 50 percent higher than that of all-season tires. Additionally, while all-season tires can get hard when it’s cold outside, winter tires maintain their flexibility, which makes them function more effectively.
With all of that said, Do we really need snow tires? Well… Let’s just say WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND IT.
Ready to install your winter tires? Here are a few things to remember:
1. Always install the entire set at once. Having all four tires put on the car at once helps your car remain controlled and balanced in bad weather while installing only two creates a traction mismatch that can negatively affect handling.
2. Maintain the right tire pressure. Keeping your tires at the right pressure improves traction and durability, and makes handling easier.
3. Check your inflation at the beginning of the season. When the air begins to get cool, the air inside your tires can contract.
4. Make sure the valve caps are on. Leaving them off can create a moisture freeze inside the valve, and that will allow air to escape.
5. Look for the sign of the snowflake. Tires that meet safety standards for snow have a snowflake symbol on the sidewall, which helps distinguish them from other tires.
6. Drive safely. Even with winter tires, the safety of your vehicle in winter is up to you. Drive in a controlled manner, being especially careful on ice, snow, and slush.
7. VISIT COMPLETE AUTO MAINTENANCE CENTERS TO TOP OFF YOUR FLUIDS, GET NEW WINDSHIELD WIPER BLADES TO MAKE SURE YOUR CAR IS WINTER WORTHY.
Thanks to Jerry’s Toyota for this invaluable news.