Snow Tires: When And If They Should Be Put On

Lacy LangleyLife

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Snow tires are great if you happen to live in a cold climate that sees a lot of snow and ice.

They help with braking on slippery surfaces and keeping a grip on the road when driving in wintery weather, but when are you supposed to switch over to snow tires from regular tires?

Carolyn Goard, communications manager with the TRAC, which represents Canadian tire manufacturers and importers, says that you should put them on about two weeks before snow is expected.

Regular tires tend to harden in cold weather, making it harder for them to keep a grip on the road. Snow tires, made especially for all kinds of cold weather conditions, stay softer when the weather gets brutal.

“There is nothing wrong with getting a head start and putting them on in, say, October,” Goard says. “Many people are pro-active about getting their winter tires on a bit earlier so that they are prepared when the first big snow comes.”

However, she also cautioned against putting on the snow tires too early in the season, as it can cause unnecessary wear.

“If your vehicle is wearing winter tires in the summer, or year-round, they are going to wear out a heck of a lot quicker because they are not manufactured to be used during the months other than the winter months,” Goard said.

Also, apparently snow tires don't perform as well as all-season tires when the weather isn't cold. In tests by Consumer Reports, snow tires took an average of almost 23 feet further to stop from 60 mph on a dry track. On a wet track, it took snow tires over 40 feet further to stop.

If you don't live in an area that gets a ton of snow and wintery weather, it's best to check with a local tire dealer for a recommendation on whether or not to use snow tires.

Drive safely this winter!

Lacy Langley
Lacy is a writer from Texas. She likes spending time in the home office, homeschooling her kids, playing the didgeridoo, caring for her chickens (Thelma and Louise), Rolos, Christmas, and Labyrinth.