Winter Is Here in Colorado
Do you need winter tires?
It’s the time of year in Colorado when many drivers are wondering if they need to invest in a set of winter tires or if all-season tires are enough to stay safe on the roads this winter.
Choosing the tires that are right for you doesn’t have to be complicated.
All-season tires are made to handle a wide range of weather conditions.
All-season tires are suitable for use on dry roads, wet roads, and even in some light snow. The idea behind all-season tires is that you can use them all year throughout many weather conditions.
All-season tires are made of a harder rubber compound that helps to promote longer tread lifespan. All-season tires also have a tighter tread design and moderate tread depth.
Winter tires, also referred to as snow tires are made out of a different rubber compound than other tires. The rubber on winter tires is able to stay more pliable even in colder temperatures. Winter tires also have a different tread design that allows them to maintain better traction when braking, steering, and accelerating during winter weather conditions.
Winter tires allow your car to have a better grip on the road when starting and stopping in icy or snowy conditions. Winter tires typically offer better performance in these conditions than all-season tires.
Studable vs. Studless Models
Winter tires come in two models.
Studable Winter Tires
Studable models of winter tires allow you to apply studs to the tire.This allows for extra traction in snow and ice, as the studs claw onto the ice on the road. Tire studs, however, can be much nosier and cause damage to roads and driveways.
Studless Winter Tires
Studless models do not give you the option to apply studs to the tire. Studless winter tires will typically have more slits in the tread of the tire to create more edges that can grip the road.
Can You Drive With Winter Tires All Year?
You might be thinking… if I have to put on my winter tires every year, why can’t I just keep my winter tires on year round?
Winter tires are designed to be used in cold, wet conditions, and will typically wear out faster in other seasons when the pavement is warm and dry. The same softer, more pliable rubber that gives you more traction in winter weather conditions will wear down much faster in warm weather. You will also experience a decrease in driving performance if you use winter tires all year. Since the rubber stays more pliable you will be unable to make quick maneuvers as easily.
It is not recommended that you use winter tires all year round. In the long run, it will cost you more money replacing tires than it will to change them out for the appropriate season.
Do I Need Winter Tires or All-Season Tires?
Colorado offers a huge variety of seasonal weather conditions.
It can be tricky to know if you need winter tires or if all-season tires are right for you.
All-season tires are able to perform well in a wider variety of weather conditions and can provide some traction in light snow conditions. However, all-season tires are not the best choice for extreme winter driving conditions. Experts suggest that if you are regularly driving in conditions below 40 degrees, and the roads are icy, slushy or snowy then you should invest in winter tires. Here in Colorado, if you live in the mountains, or travel through the mountains a lot during the winter season then winter tires are a must for safety.
Tips for Winter Tires
If you are planning to invest in winter tires, there are a few tips that will help you get the most out of your purchase.
- Make sure you buy four tires. Skimping and only putting tires on one end of your car can result in dangerous handling.
- Swap to winter tires around Thanksgiving, and back to all-season tires around Easter.
- Store off-season tires in a dry, cool area that is out of the sun.
- Wrap your off-season tires in black plastic bags to reduce rubber oxidation.