Winter Tires: Do You Really Need Them?

Living in Michigan, we’re all too familiar with cold temperatures, heavy snowfall, and black ice. Roads become extremely unpredictable during winter months. When it comes to driving in these conditions, having the right tire matters. Cold temperatures and unforeseeable weather can be best met by tires that are specially made to perform in these conditions.

What Makes Winter Tires Different?

Winter tires are designed to maintain better traction and control while driving in extreme winter weather. Differences in rubber, tread depth, and biting edges make winter tires unique.

Tread compounds

The rubber compounds of winter tires are designed to stay soft and flexible in temperatures near or below freezing. The flexibility enables the tires to conform to the road and maintain a better grip while driving.

Tread depth and pattern

Winter tires have a deeper tread depth and more grooves than all-season tires. A larger number of channels are present in the design, providing more edges to bite into snow and ice. The deeper tread reduces snow buildup and allows for better traction in extreme conditions.

Biting edges

An increased number of biting edges and high sipe densities—tiny slits in the tread—allow the tires to dig deep into snow and grip ice more tightly.

Why are they So important?

As we mentioned before, winter tires are specifically made to tackle harsh winter weather in ways that all-season tires cannot. As the temperature drops the rubber compounds of all-season tires harden, making it difficult to grip the pavement. Shallow treads on standard tires make it hard to find traction due to snow buildup and their inability to channel snow and ice.

Having the right tire and weather-appropriate driving behavior can significantly increase driving safety. In addition to enhancing road safety and mobility, winter tires allow vehicles to perform better all together.

What if I have AWD/4WD?

Unfortunately, all-wheel and four-wheel drive can only improve your vehicle’s traction by powering all four wheels when you accelerate. Braking in snowy conditions is a different story. Winter tires help improve your vehicle’s traction in the snow or ice whether you’re accelerating, turning, or braking.  

If you have additional questions about all-season tires vs. winter tires, give us a call! AA Muffler & Brakes stocks major-brand tires for any season at guaranteed low prices. Contact our team for more information.