It’s the season for snow – is your car ready? Check your fluids, change your wipers, and make sure your tires are up to snuff. If your snow tires aren’t installed, install them yourself or contact a professional immediately.
There is a common misconception that all-season tires are ideal for winter use. The truth is, there is a huge performance difference between the two tires. All-season tires are intended to be decent in dry, wet, or slightly snowy conditions. When it comes to heavy snow, however, true snow tires are the only way to go.
In the midwest, it’s common for vehicle owners to have two complete sets of tires for their cars. All-season tires are used during spring, summer, and fall. Snow tires are installed for use throughout the winter. Many organizations recommend purchasing a complete set of winter tires if you drive on snow more than twice per year.
If you’re looking for winter tires and not sure what to look for, here are four important tips to buying winter tires.
1. Use Four Matching Tires – Many tests have shown that using just two winter tires is far less than optimal. Having mis-matched tires can make you skid off the road.
2. Purchase Dedicated Winter Rims – Instead of removing your summer tires and mounting winter tires each year, simply buy a set of rims dedicated to winter tires. You can find new and used wheels for relatively inexpensive prices. Having a separate set of rims will make it easier to change your winter tires by yourself, while eliminating the expense of having them balanced every year.
3. Winter Tire Grading – Tires that meet or surpass the industry standard for winter safety are marked with a picture of a peaked mountain and/or snowflake. Look on the sidewall of the tire for these symbols.
4. Compatible With Vehicle – Make sure the tires you’re purchasing will be compatible with your vehicle. Ask a professional or do your own research before purchasing.
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