How To Buy Winter Tires

January 9, 2012 by staff 

How To Buy Winter TiresHow To Buy Winter Tires, If you live in a place with harsh winters, then you know how hard it is to drive in extreme winter conditions. Cold, ice, slush, freezing rain and snow all make the roads more dangerous. You are going to need winter tires for your vehicle. Regular all-season tires lose performance on wet or icy surfaces. Winter tires are made with a different rubber compound and have complex tread patterns that improve traction, braking and control.

Realize that you are going to need to buy four tires. Some people try to fit just their front tires with winter tires. This is actually more dangerous than just leaving the all-season tires on your vehicle, because it can cause you to spin out. All four tires should be the same brand, size, model, speed-rated, load index, tread pattern and type.

Look for a symbol on the sidewall of the tires that consists of a snowflake on mountains. Tires with this symbol have passed the stringent Severe Winter Traction Standard. All-season or all-weather tires are marked with M+S (which stands for mud and snow) and are not acceptable for use in extreme winter conditions.

Determine what size tire you will need. The most common mistake is buying tires that are too small for the vehicle. Check your car’s owner manual, or look up your car by make and model in a database. Most places that sell winter tires will have one of these computers.

Check the tread depth. If you are planning in driving in snow and slush, then the tire tread depth needs to be 6/32 inch or more.

Install the tires, or pay someone else to do it. Most stores that sell tires also perform labor, so you have them installed right when you purchase them.

Tips & Warnings
To reap the full benefit of having winter tires, you need to make sure they are properly inflated at all times. Air pressure can be checked with an air gauge, and should be done at least once a week in the winter.

Some towns and cities have outlawed studded tires. You should check your local ordinances before investing in these kinds of tires.

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