At Dunn Tire, we want to help you get maximum performance from your vehicles while saving you money and time. In our region, temperatures can fluctuate from 95 °F in the summer to -20 °F in winter. That's quite a range for vehicles to be prepared for. One of the best ways to ensure your automobile is equipped for these dramatic changes in climate is seasonal tires.
By utilizing two sets of tires: all-season (or even summer tires) and winter tires, motorists can better prepare for anticipated road conditions.
In our region, all-season tires are a good option from spring through fall. These tires offer versatile performance and are designed to function adequately in a variety of conditions including summer temperatures, dry or wet roads and light winter driving. All-season tires are intended to offer a combination of benefits from summer and winter tires. While these may be sufficient in mild climates, motorists in the Northeast can benefit from winter tires (or snow tires) which are better suited for extreme winter driving conditions.
Winter tires have specific features which make them unique: rubber compound, tread depth and patterns, and biting edges.
In cold temperatures, all-season tires become rigid, less pliable and therefore less effective in gripping the surface. Pliability is an essential feature in winter tires. Winter tires are made from softer rubber compounds that retain their flexibility in cold weather, allowing the tire to better conform to the surface of the road.
Additionally, deeper tread depths reduce snow buildup and provide better traction in the snow. Winter tire tread patterns are designed to channel snow and slush and expel water. Winter tires also contain an increased number of biting edges and high sipe densities. Essentially this means there are lots of tiny slits in the tread that help to provide traction on ice.
When is it Time to Install Winter Tires?
The best time to install winter tires is based on outdoor temperature. Once the average daily temperature is consistently below 45 degrees Fahrenheit (or 7 degrees Celsius), it's time to switch. In temperatures of 45 degrees or less, winter tires will increase vehicle stability regardless of road conditions. Since all-season and performance tires tend to get hard/rigid in cold temperatures – they provide less traction.
It's always best to replace all four tires with winter tires because differences in traction and wear, can negatively affect a car's handling. The Tire Industry Association states "in order to maintain performance and stability, winter/snow tires must be installed on all four wheel positions on front-wheel drive vehicles."
When is it Time to Install All-Season Tires?
It's best to wait until temperatures are consistently above 45°F before trading winter tires for all-seasons. Winter tires are made of a softer rubber that does not hold up well on hot pavement. On very warm spring days, the rubber can become quite soft – which can cause your winter tires to wear out much faster. Softer tires also create more drag and friction, requiring more power to move the vehicle, therefore decreasing fuel efficiency.
Generally in the northeast, early April is a good time to take the winter tires off and get the all-seasons back on. This is typically when the chances of severe winter weather begin to diminish.
If Dunn Tire is storing your tires, we recommend you call ahead so the store can ensure your tires are out of storage and at the store waiting for you. If you have any questions about winter tires or the best time to install your all-season tires, please contact us.