Choosing the Right Winter Tire

By: teahupoo
When you are making decisions about your car or motorcycle, one of the first things to choose is the correct tire for your driving conditions. While this decision is important year round, it is of extreme importance during the winter months when weather turns cold and snow and ice can be very common. Having the wrong tire in these situations can be a question of life and death. But thankfully choosing the right tire is not difficult, if you follow certain steps.

The first step in choosing the correct winter tire is to see what sort of tire, that is, what size and types of tires, your car's manufacturer has recommended for your car. You can find this information in the owner's manual that came with your car. Then head to your local tire dealer and purchase snow or mud tires appropriate to your car and have them installed. Tires like these, ones without metal studs manufactured into them, help your vehicle handle slick winter roads and can be used on public highways.

If you live in an area with an extreme climate, where tires with metal studs are allowed during the height of the winter months, you will likely have to purchase two sets of tires. The first set, as outlined above, that has no metal studs, and a second set, which does have metal studs, for the iciest parts of the year. Later in the winter season, you will likely have to change your tires back to the rubber tires, since in most areas metal stud tires are only allowed during the coldest months. Check your local regulations in any case, since metal stud tires are banned in 10 states.

Remember to ensure that all of the tires you have installed at the same time are all of the same measurements. That is to say, that each one is of the same size, tread, and type. Having tires of different type, size, or tread can result in a loss of traction on slippery winter roads.

Never equip your car with tires that are too big for it. Tires that are too large than those recommended in the manufacturer's guidebook may damage your car's fenders or suspension, or just make it handle miserably.

The difference between snow tires and regular tires is in the tread. Snow tires are made with wide spaces between their treads, giving them something like cleats to grab into snow with and maintain traction, whereas all season tires are made with narrower treads. Narrower treads can proved a quieter ride, but they cannot ride well on the snow.

If you don't want to install snow tires, or you do not live in an area that merits them all the time, you might want to consider tire chains. Chains can greatly enhance the traction of tires. As always, ensure that the chain is properly fitted to your car's tires, since improperly fitted chains will not work properly, damaging your car or malfunctioning.
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