So, your tires have started to wear out and it is probably time to replace them. What type of tires should you get? While it is usually pretty safe to go with the original equipment tires – the model, brand, and size that was fitted to your vehicle when it was new, but maybe you want to switch up some things.
You have got a lot of options, but unless you have an off-road vehicle, your decision will probably come down to these three choices: all-season, summer or winter tires. Each type have their own pros and cons, so make sure you understand what each can or can’t do, so you can decide which type is perfect for you.
These are usually markets as performance tires. The summer type works best in warmer weather (temperatures over 45-degrees). Summer tires are made from a soft rubber compound are often fitted with a big tread block to create the maximum contact with the road when in warmer weather. As a result, summer tires have much more grip in both dry and wet conditions and provide great braking and cornering capabilities.
However, when temperatures start dropping, that soft rubber compound starts hardening, and the traction suffers greatly. Not only that, but cold temperatures may cause serious chipping of the tread compound rubber or tread block edge to crack. Since these failures are usually treated by tire companies as a result of improper tire use, they are rarely covered by warranty, meaning you will have to pay for it.
More importantly, when there is ice or snow present or roads summer tires simply have a hard time gripping. Your cornering performance will be greatly impaired, and the stopping distances can be lengthened considerably. Simply put, summer tires are not made for temperatures below 45 degrees.
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You should start considering throwing a set of winter tires on your vehicle when the temperatures drop below 45 degrees. Winter tires are made with much deep tread patterns when compared to summer ones and they also have a lot of thin cuts across the tread called sipes. This deep tread can help flush out any excess slush, while the ridges and sipes will help to pack snow between the tread blocks, which will allow for a good snow-on-snow traction.
Sipes also help by providing a better biting edge to keep things in order when driving on icy surfaces. Winter tires are made from rubber that is made to provide more grip on the dry and cold pavement. Even if you do not experience any snow driving during the winters, winter tires are still your best option when the temperatures drop below 45 degrees.
Just make sure that you put in a full set of winter tires because mixing up snow tires with summer or all-season tires can result in many different levels of tractions, which can be a recipe for disaster.
There is also the option for winter tires with metal studs, however, these can be pretty loud and even damaging to your local roads.