When to Buy Winter Tires


Many drivers wonder if they need winter tires. If you live in an area where you have snow and ice all winter you should have top quality winter tires. If the temperature in your area is regularly below 45 degrees in winter then winter tires are a good idea.

Winter tires have special rubber compounds that keep them pliable in the cold temperatures so you will have a better grip and better braking. Winter tires will work in snow, ice and slush as well as dry roads. It does not matter if your car has all wheel or four wheel drive you still need winter tires if you live in a cold winter climate.

All season tires are designed for areas with light snow and higher winter temperatures. They work well on light snow as well as wet and dry roads. However, the all season tires can harden at low temperatures so you will have less traction.

When you install winter tires it is best to install four winter tires. Having the four winter tires will give you the most stability and best handling.


Buying winter tires will be a little expensive. Expect to pay between $125 and $250 per tire. You only want to install the top quality winter tires on your vehicle. Consider tires by Michelin, Bridgestone or Continental as examples.

Winter tires should be replaced when the tread depth on the tire reaches 5/32 – inch. Winter tires start at a depth of 11/32-inch. Once the tread depth has gone to 5/32 or 6/32- inch it has lost the ability to perform well on icy or snow covered roads. The tires will still look like they have plenty of tread, but they will not have the ability to perform as they should.

You do not want to use the winter tires on a year round basis. Winter tires will wear out faster than the all season tires when used during the warmer months. It is cheaper to switch between two sets of tires rather than replacing winter tires more frequently because they were used during warmer weather. The winter tires have a softer rubber compound that does not hold up well in warmer temperatures.

If you live and drive in an area with harsh winters then winter tires can make your driving much easier and safer. You will experience much better handling, traction and braking when your car is equipped with winter tires.

Do not make the mistake of thinking winter tires are the same as the snow tires from past years. Winter tires are a big improvement over the old fashioned snow tires.