What You Need to Know about Tires to Keep Yourself Safe this Winter

December 7th, 2018 by

Subarus are the vehicles of choice for many Colorado drivers because of their great handling in winter weather. But even a Subaru needs the extra edge that special winter/snow tires provide. For the same reason you don’t hire a heart doctor to do a knee replacement, don’t expect regular or “all-season” tires to keep you as safe in cold, wintery weather as winter/snow tires.

The venerable consumer testing organization, Consumer Reports, puts it very succinctly:

It’s time to end the annual debate about whether to install winter/snow tires on your car. If you live in an area where snow is a constant throughout winter, having dedicated winter/snow tires can improve your safety, according to a number of studies and surveys, as well Consumer Reports’ own tests.

The fact is, all tires are not created equal. There’s a substantial difference between the tires your vehicle came equipped with and winter or snow tires.

  • Temperature makes a difference. The rubber in winter/snow tires is formulated especially for cold. It’s more flexible so it grips the road better, providing the traction your need, even if you’re not on snow or ice.
  • Tread design matters. There’s a reason the tread on your tires looks the way it does. Manufacturers design special tread patterns to perform optimally in various weather environments. For winter/snow tires, the tread pattern is designed to be wider and deeper so it will give you the best traction, especially important when you’re driving on wet, snowy and icy roads.
  • The right tires could save your life – or at least a lot of money. YouTube videos of cars sliding on ice may be funny when they happen to others, but you don’t want a starring role in one. The fact is that winter/snow tires can cut your stopping distance on snow by as much as 30 feet, and that is often enough to save you from rear-ending the vehicle in front of you, or T-boning a vehicle because you couldn’t stop before the intersection.

 

A Michelin survey of U.S. drivers found that 67 percent of those responding thought that their all-season tires were adequate and 53 percent thought that they didn’t need winter/snow tires if they had an all-wheel or four-wheel-drive vehicle. Consumer Reports’ testing revealed that to be wrong-headed thinking.

Enhance Your Winter Confidence

One other thing the CR study showed: most drivers “avoid, limit, or change plans because they don’t want to drive in wintry weather.” However, “Most drivers using winter/sow tires are more confident driving in snow and less concerned about other drivers and the loss of traction.”

The tire experts at Shortline Subaru can help you find just the right winter/snow tires for your Subie. Give us a call and set up an appointment before the next big storm…or before you head to the mountains for some fun in the snow.

Posted in Automotive