If you're planning to install winter tires, you might ask yourself, “are winter tires worth the money?” The short answer is it depends. If you live in an area that experiences extreme winter conditions, it's worth investing in winter tires. However, if your winter isn't that that come all-season, tires might be enough.
The winter season impacts our driving experience in many ways. Many drivers get nervous whenever they hear a big storm coming soon because of all the car accidents we see or get involved in during the winter season.
Automotive companies design many safety features to help improve winter's driving experience, and one of the best features is the winter tires. However, we all know that winter tires are great options for providing extra traction to the road when driving on snowy roads. However, did you know that there are some additional benefits that you can get from the winter tires even if you're driving on wet, icy or even dry roads? That's what The Canadian traffic engineering Research Foundation discovered in a very recent study.
Let's take a closer look at all these details and see how important winter tires are and whether you should consider them or not. Once you read this article, you'll be able to answer the question are winter tires worth the money?
What are the different types of tires?
Before we dive into the details about “are winter tires worth the money,” let's step back and get an idea about the different types of tires that you might encounter in the automotive market:
1. All-season tires
As the name suggests, these tires are designed to handle you're driving during the entire year. With these sirens, you don't have to worry about replacing them before winter or summer starts. However, they might not be the best if you're dealing with harsh or extreme winter or summer.
2. Touring tires
Touring tires are specific types of all-season tires, but they have extra benefits to provide a more comfortable ride.
3. Performance tires
Performance layers are great options if you're driving in wet weather frequently. They are designed in a specific way that grips to the road regardless of its condition.
4. Summer tires
As the name suggests, summer tires are designed from specific material to handle extremely hot temperatures without any concerns about cracks or damages due to extremely hot roads.
5. Winter tires
Winter tires are similar to summer tires, but they are designed for handling extreme cold conditions in the winter season. They are great for snowy roads and icy, let's, at even Dry cold roads.
Are winter tires worth the money? A summary of the Canadian traffic injury Research Foundation study
If you are planning to install winter tires, you need to consider all the benefits of installing these tires. We all know that these stories are a little bit more expensive than the regular tires, and that's why some thoughts should be put in place before making a final decision.
While you already know that winter tires will provide it with better traction on snowy roads, let's take a closer look at what the Canadian traffic injuries Research Foundation found in terms of additional benefits that you can achieve from installing winter tires:
1. Braking distance
One of the first and biggest differences between winter tires and all-season tires is the braking distance. The Canadian traffic injury Research Foundation published a recent result showing 30% shorter distance when braking using winter tires versus all-season tires.
According to the chief technical officer of the Pirelli tired North America, Ian Coke, “It has a tread pattern with certain winter elements in terms of the design and summer elements as well. [All-season tires] use a formulation of compounds designed to operate optimally up to summer-type temperatures and operate optimally.”
2. Impact of low temperature on compounds
Hardness is another feature that one should consider when comparing all-season versus winter tires. According to the study, it seems like the all-season tires were hardened much faster than the winter tires once the temperature dropped below 44 degrees Fahrenheit.
Coke Also added, “I’m not saying freezing, but they will start to harden, become rigid. When the compounds become rigid, when the tread block becomes rigid, what you will find is you lose traction, you will also lose wet grip and braking.”
3. Design and structure
Winter tires and all-season tires are designed differently to provide you with the benefits that they should. The main features in the biggest design difference have to do with the rubber compound, structure, and tread pattern.
Winter tires come with a more flexible rubber that allows them to track much better to the road in extreme winter conditions. Also, the tub design has more braking capabilities on snowy roads and in all types of roads, including icy, slushy, or even dry roads. Furthermore, the power is totally different in winter tires than in all-season tires. For example, you'll see smaller grooves and different rigid cuts with different designs at the corners in winter tires.
Coke highlighted this, saying, “a winter tire has lots of sipes, small grooves cut into the tread blocks that allow the blocks to move but also stay rigid when the tire is rounding a corner. That increases traction and braking.”
Can I use winter tires in summer?
After hearing about the different benefits of winter tires, one might wonder whether he should use the winter tires during the summer season because it provides better characteristics in snowy roads and dry roads.
The short answer to this is no. Automotive experts never recommend using winter tires during the summer season because the winter tires' design and characteristics might not be the best during the summer season. You might get less traction and worse performance when using winter tires when it's extremely hot. “They are certainly not designed to operate in Florida in mid-August,” Coke said. “When compounds run very, very hot, they actually could give you great grip, but you are consuming them at a dramatic rate.”
Then, when should you put winter tires?
Since you can't put winter tires all year round, you need to understand when to install these tires. Typically, experts recommend putting the winter tires between mid-November and mid-March and sometimes early April.
How often should I replace winter tires?
The frequency of replacing winter tires and the lifespan depends heavily on the warranty and your driving habit. Typically, winter tires are expected to last up to 5000 miles, but if you're not following certain instructions when driving your vehicle with these tires, you might get a shorter lifespan.
The Canadian study also highlighted this, and Coke mentioned, “You should be looking to get two seasons out of a winter tire and should get at least two seasons out of a summer tire, if not more. So overall, you are probably not spending more. You are just splitting it between winter and the rest of the year.”
Is there a difference in the level of inflation for winter tires versus all-season tires?
The tire inflation for your vehicle should be specified based on your car, and you can find this information on a specific sticker connected to your driver’s door. However, you must consider the temperature when inflating your tire.
Did you know that whenever the temperature drops below 10 degrees Fahrenheit, the air inside the tire gets reduced by one to two pounds? Therefore, you should maintain the proper tire inflation and consider this change in air expansion between the summer and winter seasons.
Coke highlighted amazing details related to inflating the winter tires. “If you don’t have the correct pressure in each tire, you are presenting a different tire footprint to the surface of the road,” Coke said. “You are not going to get the braking and steering performance” the tires and vehicle were engineered to handle. “This can mean instability that could mean longer braking distances. You are not running in optimal condition.”
How much do winter tires cost?
According to recent statistics as of 2021-2022, if you're planning to install four winter tires, the set should cost somewhere between $800 and $1000. But, of course, the price depends heavily on the new vehicles type and the design you're looking for, along with the specific type of winter tire, because not all winter signs are the same.
We advise that you go through the list of available winter tires in the market and understand the main pros and cons of each one before investing a penny because, as you might already know, investing in winter tires is not cheap, and a good number of thoughts should be put before making a final decision.
Best winter tires: 2021-2022 review
If you're convinced about installing new winter tires, as we highlighted before, you should research each type's main pros and cons because not sold brands are the same. There are plenty of available online reviews for the best winter tires as of 2021-2022. Let's take a closer look at the topics that you should consider for your next purchase:
- Goodyear wintercommand
- Nordman 7 SUV
- Pirelli Ice Zero FR
- Yokohama iceguard GO75
- Bridgestone Blizzak DM V-2
- Continental vikingcontact 7
- Michelin X-ICE Snow
- Toyo Observe gsi-6
- Bridgestone Blizzak WS90
- Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 SUV
- Nokian Hakkapeliitta 10 SUV
What to look for when choosing winter tires?
As you might notice come plenty of different brands and different kinds of winter tires. Therefore, it can be a little bit overwhelming for inexperienced drivers to choose the best winter tires. Therefore, when shopping for your next winter tires, consider the following characteristics:
Winter tires are expected to provide you with the best traction on the road. However, not all winter tires will have the same traction. Therefore, we advise that you research the selected winter tires and see what customers think about their attraction. We want to ensure that they provide you with good traction to handle snowy, icy, and wet surfaces.
2. Winter tires type
We've discussed before that there are different types of winter tires. Some of them are studded while others are not. Depending on your state, you might not be able to use these tires in public driveways. Therefore, you should consider your state's regulations and also your winter security to see if it's worth studded winter tires or not.
Not all winter tires are designed from the same material. Therefore, you'll need to read thoroughly about the material used to design your winter tires of choice.
Certain winter tires are marked with specific certification, indicating that the tires were tested and are very durable to handle severe conditions. However, buying a winter tire with certification will cost you additional money, and before you go with a certified winter tire, you want to consider your budget and goals.
Winter tires come with different warranty types, and every type adds up to the total cost. Therefore, before making your final decision, consider how much you're willing to pay for a warranty and how much you're expecting in terms of winter tire damages.
What to do with winter tires after the winter season is over?
Since you put a huge investment in buying winter tires, you must consider what to do with these tires after the winter season is over. Therefore, we would like to provide you with the following pro tips to have your winter tires serve you if possible:
- Choose a dry, cool place for saving your winter tires
- Prevent debris or contaminants from building up and degrading the winter tires by wrapping them with polythene paper
- You might want to hang the snow tires on top of each other, especially if they have rims
- Do not use the winter tires all year round because they're not designed for this purpose, and this might shorten their lifetime
Are winter tires worth the money? Final thoughts
As you might already see in this article, there are tons of benefits that you can achieve from installing winter tires. However, the price is not low, and before you make a final decision about installing winter tires, you should weigh in the main pros and cons and see whether it's worth the money or not.
The other thing is to think about is your vehicle's overall condition. For example, if your car has major mechanical problems, it may not be worth your investment to install these tires. Instead, you should consider selling this car and using its value to buy a better vehicle that probably has the better set of tires.
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