Are Snow Tires Really Worth It?

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Nothing’s worse than driving on a snowy road and white-knuckling your way home from work. With the wrong tires, this drive can feel like it lasts centuries. It’s unsafe, stressful, and it can be fixed.

In this guide, learn all about snow tires, who they’re perfect for, and how they can help you.

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What are Snow Tires?

Snow tires, also called winter tires, are a spare set of tires for your car. As the name suggests, they’re made specifically for driving in snowy conditions.

The actual difference comes down to the tread and design of the tire. They are made for climates that see sub-40 degree temperatures, and they are made for superior grip.

You simply can’t compare them to all-season tires when it comes to grip. You’ll notice the tread is thicker and has a stranger pattern to it. This is the result of some geniuses in a lab running a ton of tests on the tires.

Snow tires go on just like any other tire, and they’ll feel about the same when you drive on them.

Snow Tires vs All-Season Tires

Your everyday tires are called “all-season tires”. Though the name makes it sound like they’ll perform in winter, they won’t. Experts claim that brand new all-season tires perform as well as half-worn winter tires do during a snowy season.

When are Snow Tires Perfect?

Have you ever been driving on a road with a light dusting of snow, any ice, or heavy snow? Even worse, a combination of slush, snow, and ice? This is where winter tires shine.

Any time the roads are slick and icy, your winter tires will keep you on track. They will reduce the amount of spinning your car does. They also help you maintain a straight line without fishtailing.

The problem with slick roads is they ruin your car’s performance. Hitting a snowy patch of asphalt can cause your car to lose grip on one or two tires. The remaining tires will have comparatively more grip, causing your car to veer in one direction.

If you try to correct your car when it veers, you can wind up in a lot of trouble.

Snow also increases your stopping distance. If you know what distance you typically need to come to a complete stop, snow will change that figure. With poor tires, you might slide or skid to a stop. Either your car will stop under its own power, or a building, car, or tree in front of you will stop your car.

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The Cost of Snow Tires

There’s no denying that snow tires are a little pricey. They might run you more than a thousand bucks for a full set depending on the make, model, and tire size of your car. However, let’s compare that to the alternative – spinning out into a ditch.

The insurance costs of getting a new car are far more expensive than a set of high-quality snow tires. For that reason, we always suggest grabbing a set of snow tires for when the cold months arrive.

Who Snow Tires are Perfect For?

Anyone who lives in a climate that has a cold season can benefit from snow tires. If you live in the upper half of America, then they’re a must-have.

Also, if you do a lot of traveling then you should consider a set of snow tires for your work vehicle.

Are Snow Tires Really Worth it?

If you couldn’t pick up on the hint yet – yes, snow tires are completely worth it. They can save you from having an accident, save you a ton of money, and even save your life.

The big thing worth mentioning is that snow tires are really easy to put on. If you have a car lift, you can swap over all of your tires in 5 minutes. If you don’t, then maybe half an hour.

Snow tires go on just like regular tires. They can be stored in a garage until you need them and they can be reused from year to year (after inspecting them).

Really, there are no reasons to NOT have snow tires.

Can You Just Install 2 Snow Tires?

No. Please don’t even try. Some people think they can save money by just swapping two tires for snow tires since their car is only driven by two wheels. This is the equivalent of one of your legs growing five feet longer overnight.

Your car will have a disparity in grip, causing your car to ride strangely. Moreover, you’re still just as likely to spin out if you hit a snowy or icy patch of road.

Your car’s performance will suffer dramatically, and it will be borderline undrivable. Don’t ever try to just replace two tires. Replace all four for the best results.

Conclusion

Avoid winding up in a ditch this winter – swap to winter tires. Snow tires are worth it for anyone that lives in a climate that gets under 40 degrees during their cold season. When you have winter tires, your winter driving experience feels completely different. Stay safe this winter.

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Ernest Martynyuk

An automotive enthusiast who's been tinkering with vehicles since I was 15-years old. Repairing automotive electronics has been my main job for over a decade now and have a passion for everything technical regarding cars.

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