Winter snows have already started in the Chicago area and careful driving is more important than ever.
Do your tires stand up to the challenge?
Most drivers today use all-season tires, which do give a smoother, quieter ride than winter
tires, also called snow tires. But if you do a lot of driving in heavy snow and ice, a winter tire may be a better choice for you.
Winter tires are manufactured to specifically for cold driving conditions below 45 degrees. Their tread is made to grip the road better with more grooves than all-season tires. The tread is shaped to channel snow, ice and slush away from the tire, giving you more traction and making your vehicle less likely to slide. You’ll also be able to stop better when you put on the brakes.
Winter tire treads are designed to operate when the temperature drops below 45 degrees. Winter tires also help cars with ABS brakes to grip the road better because ABS brakes do not improve traction.
It’s important to have all four winter tires at the same time so you don’t lose traction. If you do choose to use the all-season tires already on your car this winter instead, make sure you have sufficient tread. You can do this by placing a quarter upside down into your tire tread. If you can see the top of Washington’s head, you don’t have enough tread to keep you from sliding in winter weather conditions. It’s time to replace worn tires because tires need plenty of tread to grip the road - at least 4/32 of an inch.
If you do install winter tires, however, don’t forget to have your mechanic switch them out with your all-season tires in the spring.