At AA Muffler & Brakes, we carry a great selection of winter tires and offer professional tire repair services. During the winter season, we get a lot of questions about winter tires so we’ve taken the time to answer some Winter Tire FAQs.
What’s the difference between winter and all-season tires?
All-season tires are designed to endure all sorts of dry, wet, and lightly snowy road conditions, whereas Winter tires are designed specifically for harsh winter conditions such as freezing temperatures, ice, and slush. The tread on all-season tires is different from winter tires as well. The compound used in all-season tires can harden in lower temperatures, resulting in reduced tire traction on the road. On the other hand, winter tires are made of a special rubber compound that stays pliable in the cold. This gives them better grip, even in extreme winter conditions.
Do I really need to get winter tires?
There are many variables that affect whether or not you need winter tires. A good rule of thumb is to look at the climate where you live. If the winter temperatures regularly drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, you should definitely invest in a set of four winter tires. Or, if you live in an area that cycles through all four seasons, like we do here in Michigan, a good set of all-season tires will suffice.
But, I have all-wheel/four-wheel drive! Surely that means I’ll be fine without winter tires.
Unfortunately, no. You still need winter tires, even with all- or four-wheel drive. AWD and 4WD does improve your vehicle’s traction by powering all four wheels when you accelerate, but that won’t help you brake in snowy conditions. Winter tires improve your vehicle’s traction in the snow or ice whether you’re accelerating, turning, or braking.
Alright, fine. Maybe I do need winter tires, but I don’t actually need to get four of them, right?
Sorry, wrong again. Whether you have four-wheel, rear-wheel, or all-wheel drive, winter tires should always be installed in sets of four. Having two different types of tires can mess with how your car handles in extreme weather, and it will result in uneven tire wear.
Can I use winter tires all year?
We wouldn’t recommend it. Remember that softer, rubber compound we said winter tires were made with? Well, although that compound provides better traction in the cold, when used during warmer weather it can actually wear out faster than all-season tires. So, using your winter tires all year will end up costing you more than simply switching between two sets. Think about your shoes. Technically, you can wear sneakers all year long, but it’s better for you to wear sandals during the summer heat and boots during the winter cold.
If you haven’t gotten your winter tires yet, or you have any more questions about winter vs all-season tires, stop by our Brighton store! AA Muffler & Brakes carries a great selection of winter, summer, and all-season tires from all the major brands. And every tire purchase comes with free tire mounting, balancing, valve stems, and disposal! What are you waiting for? Call or stop in today.