New England winters are harsh and unpredictable. It could be sunny one day and a complete nor’easter the next. The one who’s hit the hardest during these couple of months? Your vehicle. Between the salt, grit, snow, sleet, hail, and ice, your car faces a lot of terrain and other issues. There is one way to prepare your car for what lies ahead – snow tires.
I know I know. Snow tires can be expensive and they just sit in your garage for a majority of the year. But, they could actually save your life!
All about the rubber!
Standard tires or summer tires are not designed to deal with the slush and snow that winter brings. Summer tires are manufactured to work at warmer temperatures. The tires are made from a compound of stronger rubber. The warm temperature helps the tires grip the road. But as the temperature drops, the tires get harder and therefore lo
se their grip on the road. Winter tires are made out of a softer rubber, so even when the temperatures drop to the negatives combined with the friction, they will continue to grip the road and create the friction needed during those drops.
It’s in the tread!
Winter tires have more grooves in the tread than summer tires. This helps the winter tires get water from the contact areas, to produce the much needed friction to keep the tire within contact of the road. Summer tires, in winter, get gunked up from the snow, ice, and slush and become extremely slippery. Less contact on the road, means less control of your vehicle. Winter tires also decrease braking times!
Unfortunately, winter tires don’t work too great in warm weather. It makes the rubber TOO soft and ruin MPG, makes handling less responsive, and the sidewalls lose stiffness.
Having two sets of tires also reduces wear on each set of tires making them last longer. What’s better than the tires lasting longer and also making sure you are prepared at the right time of year with the right equipment?
Winter tires aren’t miracle makers, but they will help you survive these harsh winters in New England and get you out of sticky situations. Snow tires on 2WD vehicle function way better than a 4WD vehicle with summer tires.
Should you invest in a set of winter tires?
If you want to have the most control over your vehicle during the winter, then I would say go for it. I, myself, have two sets of tires. I just put them on over Thanksgiving for fear of a storm. What happened this weekend? Small ounce of snow where people were losing control all over the place. Throw some snow tires on and get ahead of the masses.