When driving conditions change, so should your tires. Most vehicles come equipped with all-season tires, which are designed to be used in all seasons and weather conditions.
When driving in snow regions, it may be wise to remove the all-season tires and invest in tires specifically designed for greater traction in snow, sleet and icy conditions. Snow tires are the most common solution for driving in snow regions. They are designed to provide maximum traction in snow. The aggressive tread design provides traction when the condition of the road surface has unfavorable traction characteristics (snow, sleet, ice or mud).
Snow chains are a set of chains that are attached to each other and fit around the tire to improve traction on snow, sleet and ice. Show chains provide good traction, but they are hard on the roads. Before investing in snow chains, check to be sure they are legal where you plan to use them. Many states allow them to only be used during certain times of the year or when officials deem that the conditions warrant their use. Some states have laws against the use of snow chains.
Studded Snow Tires
Studded snow tires have the same basic design as regular snow tires, but incorporate a series of studs (small, metal spikes protruding from the tire’s tread) for added traction on snow, sleet or ice-covered surfaces. Similar to snow chains, the studs provide good traction but are hard on the roads. Check to be sure they are legal where you plan to use them. Many states allow studded snow tires to only be used during certain times of the year or when officials deem that the conditions warrant their use. Some states have laws against the use of studded snow tires.
- When purchasing snow tires, be sure they are labeled M/S (mud and snow). This will help ensure that you are in compliance with any local or state regulations that may require the use of snow tires. Most all-season tires are marked M/S.
- If snow chains are used, be sure they properly fit the tires and are in good condition.
- Check your tire pressure more often in cold weather. This will help avoid under inflation, which can hamper traction. Whether your vehicle has front or rear wheel drive, maximum traction and proper handling of the vehicle can only be achieved when snow tires are installed on all four wheels.
- If you decide to use only two snow tires, be sure to put them on the drive wheels of the vehicle. Drive wheels refer to the front wheels for front-wheel-drive vehicles and the rear wheels for rear-wheel-drive vehicles.