Among those of us who live in the northern latitudes, many will choose to get winter tires to help maintain our grip on snow- and ice-covered roads throughout the colder months. But are these tires really better than your standard all-season or summer tires?
Winter tires are going to typically be more expensive than all-season tires and they will probably be equal to or more expensive than summer tires. The reason for this is that summer tires, much like their winter counterparts, are specially designed with high-performance materials to maintain maximum grip in certain weather.
Regardless of what type of tire you choose or what season it is, cheap tires are available if you know how to look in the right places. Below, we’ll talk about winter tires as compared to all-season tires and dive into their pros and cons.
All-Season Tires For Everyday Drivers
Let’s be honest–for most Americans who live in a reasonably sized city or a suburb of a major city, all-season tires are going to work just fine. This is simply a consequence of living in a high-traffic area where the roads are well maintained and the streets are plowed if any snowfall accumulates.
For drivers in environments such as these, the most important thing they can do is be sure their tires are properly inflated and make sure the tires are professionally rotated and balanced every few months. Properly inflating your tires not only extends their life, it also decreases gas use as there is less rubber making contact with the road and less engine power required to spin the tire.
As far as rotating and balancing goes, many people choose to do this whenever they get an oil change. Failing to properly rotate and balance your tires can lead to the tread wearing away unevenly–this can cause a tire to wear out faster, ruin a tire’s grip, and in certain cases, void the tire’s warranty. It’s important to get your tires rotated and balanced by a certified mechanic as often as possible.
Winter Tires For When it Matters Most
On the other hand, for those of us living in regions where snowfall is frequent and temperatures can be extreme in the winter months, specialty winter tires should be seriously considered.
This necessity increases the farther out from a populated area you live or work. In rural areas, snow plows may come seldomly or not at all, and in demanding environments such as these, you’re probably on your own when it comes to road safety in inclement weather.
The same goes for those who live in hilly or mountainous environments, where even a small accumulation of snow can make going uphill or downhill a treacherous affair for the unprepared. In the worst of conditions, even those with four-wheel drive may find they have four wheels spinning and sliding instead of two.
Winter tires are meant to maintain grip in snow and slush, and many winter tires come with studs that increase the grip offered by the tires, which helps you claw your way across the snow rather than having your tires slide every time you step on the gas. This additional grip is absolutely essential for getting where you need to go safely, as it will also increase the effectiveness of braking and maneuvering.
Should I Get Budget-Friendly Winter Tires?
If you are just a casual driver who occasionally goes into the mountains during winter and wants a pair of snow tires, a budget-friendly winter tire is going to be cheaper than a quality set of all-season tires. And because you won’t be using them constantly, a budget tire may be more appropriate for limited use.
If you’re wondering whether cheap tires make more noise, in most cases, they don’t—the noise coming from your tires has more to do with the road surface than your tires. At the end of the day, it’s all about your personal needs, budget, and preferences in the environments you drive in the most!
Wondering whether summer tires are cheaper than all-season tires? We’ve got you covered–check out our latest post!