Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Is it worth getting snow tires?

If you live in an area with lots of snow, winter tires can prevent accidents and save your life

Snow tires, also known as winter tires, are specifically designed to enhance traction and safety in cold weather conditions, particularly on icy and snowy roads. However, the question remains: are snow tires truly worth the investment? In this article, we will delve into the benefits and considerations of getting snow tires to help you make an informed decision.

Winter tires provide more traction in snow and on ice

Winter tires are designed with a unique tread pattern and rubber compound that provides better grip on cold, slippery surfaces. The tread features deeper grooves and sipes that help channel snow and slush away from the tire’s surface, allowing for better contact with the road.

Snow-on-snow tread design helps stop you faster

Winter tire tread designs incorporate wider gaps between the tread blocks to grab and hold more snow than a comparable all-season tire. Since snow-on-snow contact creates far more traction than rubber-on-snow, winter tires provide better (and faster) acceleration and stop faster than all-season tires.

Studies show that winter tires can stop decrease stopping distance by up to 33%

Tirerack.com conducted real-world tests showing winter tires improve acceleration on snow, over all-season tires, by as much as 33% (and that’s with an AWD vehicle). Plus, winter tires improved stopping distance by a whopping 30-feet. That’s enough of a safety margin to avoid an accident, meaning the winter tires can actually pay for themselves by preventing winter accidents.

Winter tires also improve stopping distances on ice

The same tests show that winter tires help you stop 44% faster (18-ft) on ice too. That’s due to the tire’s sipping and rubber compound that literally squeegees water off the ice

Winter tires can help you avoid an accident

Avoiding a single accident or curb kiss can more than pay for a set of snow tires

A set of winter tires and wheels costs around $1,000. If you drive 15,000 miles per year and use the winter tires from December through April, you’ll only put on about 4,000 miles per season. So they’ll last ten years (theoretically). If they prevent just one curb kiss in ten years or one $1,000 accident deductible, they’ve paid for themselves. And that doesn’t even count in the cost of insurance premium increases due to an “at fault” accident.

image showing the stopping power of winter tires compared to all season tires

Click on the video to see TireRack.com’s test results

A slide into a curb can easily cost $2,000

Modern vehicles have much lighter suspension components. Sliding into a curb can bent the control arm, strut, and tie rod. In extreme cases, that kind of hit can also bend the steering knuckle. That kind of damage can run around $2,000, meaning you’ll have to file an insurance claim and pay the deductible. In most cases, winter tires could have helped you avoid that accident.

For all these reasons, snow tires are a good investment

Winter tires outperform all-season tires

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Posted on by Rick Muscoplat


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