For years, drivers have been asking themselves and the automotive service experts they trust, “Can you use winter tires all year?”
The answer depends on many factors, such as temperature, tread grip, road conditions, and where you drive. Want a more straightforward answer based on your unique driving circumstances and how your vehicle is equipped? Let’s explore some key factors which distinguish all-season tires vs winter tires.
Do You Need to Change Your Tires?
If you rarely use your car and only need it for groceries, going to work, and visiting friends and family in urban locations, swapping out your tires every winter may not be worth it. Aside from the cost, it also takes time and effort to do so, which is better used for more important tasks. All-season tires could be an excellent alternative. However, swapping your tires out is usually your best bet if you use your car regularly, especially when you love taking trips to remote or colder locations.
Most manufacturers recommend winter tires when it is colder than 45°F, or about 7°C. All-season tires effectively navigate wet or dry roads when the conditions are warmer than those stated above. Yet when the temperature falls under 45, the tread compound in these tires stiffens, and the rubber loses its grip on the road when driving with all season tires in snow. In contrast, winter tire tread compound stays soft even in frigid temperatures.
2. Tire Tread Patterns
Winter tires have deep, jagged treads to grip the road, even in snowy, slushy, and most icy conditions. All-season tires have shallower tread grooves and don’t grip the road as aggressively. Even if you purchase a vehicle with all-wheel drive, extreme cold and slick road surfaces can be treacherous and leave drivers spinning and sliding.
States like Texas allow tire chains in extremely icy and snowy road conditions. Yet they are generally destructive to roads, highways, and vehicles, for that matter. The duration of winter storms in your area, average snowfalls, and a driver’s ability to stay off the roads when roads are treacherous often play into winter tire buying decisions.
3. Driver Skill and Experience
Do you have experience handling all-season tires on snow and ice? Your abilities (relative to the above factors) may determine whether all-season tires can meet your needs between December and March. Defensive winter driving courses are widely available. They are often fun in controlled environments and can help you appreciate how effective winter tires are at increasing your vehicle’s grip on the road.
Investing in these courses can give you a better sense of whether you should adopt seasonal replacements of your all-season tires with winter ones. No driver should feel ashamed of installing winter tires. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of care.
A driver of any experience level can benefit from the added traction of winter tires. Drivers should check their car insurance policy to see if they can reduce their rates by installing winter tires. Novice drivers are often better off being proactive about winter tire installation, even if snow and ice accumulation is typical of the weather in their region.
4. The Best Tires for All Seasons
The best tires for your vehicle are those that help you drive safely all year round. Would significant snowfall or ice storm put your safety at risk during your commute to work? What about your employees or family’s safety, whoever is driving your SUV, car, or truck? If driving is unavoidable in these conditions, isn’t a prudent investment in winter tires worthwhile?
Schedule an appointment with the Chapparal Ford service department. Let’s discuss the best tire options for your vehicle and your lifestyle. We use factory-recommended premium tires that meet high Ford standards. We are confident they will meet yours, too.