Winter Tire Myths

Posted on: 19 November 2015

In most parts of the country, winter means colder temperatures and snowfall. In order to navigate through this type of weather safely, you need the right type of tire. Snow tires, sometimes referred to as winter tires, are the ideal solution. Unfortunately, some people's lack of knowledge as it pertains to this tire style leads to a number of misconceptions. Here are just some of myths you want to avoid.

A Full Set Isn't Necessary

Some drivers are under the impression that you don't need a full set of winter tires to stay safe on the road. The thought is that you only need to install these tires on the drive axle. This opposite is true. Winter tires are designed to offer greater grip control in conditions like snow. Having an imbalance in this area can actually decrease your ability to safely handle your vehicle.

Take a front wheel drive vehicle driving in snowy conditions that only has snow tires installed on the front axle. Say this vehicle is attempting to make a turn. The front tires will have superior grip control; however, the rear tires won't. This imbalance can actually cause the rear tires to spin out of control, which is a serious safety concern. Make sure you are investing in winter tires for your entire vehicle.

I Can Keep The Tires On All Year

Don't make the mistake of assuming you can use your winter tires all year long. One of the primary factors that gives winter tires their superior control is their tread compound. Compared to traditional tires, winter tires have a much softer tread compound, which allows them to grip the snow. In normal driving conditions, this can be unsafe, particularly during the summer.

The thin rubber compound is more susceptible to heat which can cause small ball-like shapes to form under the wheel as part of a process known as marbling. This type of damage can weaken some of the tires' gripping control and make braking more difficult. As the marbling gets worse, it will also start to reduce the level of traction the tires have, making driving in conditions like rain a very dangerous experience. Only use winter tires in season.

Having your tires professionally installed at a place like Lee Tire can help you avoid most problems. Tire installation specialists don't just install tires, but they can also assist with the selection process to ensure you are getting the right option for your needs.