Which Tire is Best for My Vehicle?
In North Idaho, your choice of tires can make a world of difference in the winter. In Coeur d’Alene alone there were more than 25 snow-related car accidents and slide offs reported police in the first 24 hours after the first snow of January 2012. Keeping you and your family safe on snowy roads is important, and one of the most vital components of safety, after good driving habits, is your choice of winter tires. There are four basic types winter tires: all season tires, snow tires, siped tires, and studded tires.
All season tires are a compromise for many different road conditions you can expect to face during both summer and winter. They are designed to provide extended mileage and durability under any weather conditions. Because all season tires are expected to get more mileage, they use a denser rubber compound than snow tires. The dense rubber allows you to get many more miles on all season tires than are possible on winter tires. The tread on all seasons is less aggressive than most winter tires, for a more comfortable, smoother ride.
Snow tires are made of a softer rubber compound with micro pores to provide better grip in snow and ice. These tires include deeper tread with special grooves to improve traction, drain water, and expel snow, reducing the risk of sliding or hydroplaning. They also feature small-tread areas on the main tread of the tire, increasing traction on slick roads. In 2009 Susan McGinnis of CPS did a winter accident avoidance test on “The Early Show”. Driving one SUV with snow tires and one without, she described the difference as “amazing.” The SUV with snow tires performed much better on curves and stopping times than the one with regular all season tires.
Siping is a method for giving all season or snow tires a better grip to the winter road surface. Siping creates hundreds of small slits in the tire’s tread to help cut through water and slush so the tire makes better contact with the road. Using a laser or heated knife, a tire professional burns tiny lines through the tread. The lines are shallow and will not harm a new or fairly new tire. Siping is a low-cost way to get better winter traction on your all season tires without harming their summer performance. In fact, siping increases the flexibility of the tire’s surface giving it better ability to respond to uneven road surfaces.
Studded tires are winter tires with small metal studs in the tread designed to increase friction between icy roads and the soft rubber of snow tires. The noisiest of all winter tire options – studs offer great advantages for winter driving conditions. Studs bite into ice and packed snow, improving traction. This makes handling and braking on ice easier, reducing the risk of a slide off or accident. Studded tires are often considered the next best traction alternative to chains for extreme winter road conditions, however handling can be more difficult on dry pavement with studded tires because there is less rubber in contact with the road.
In the Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls area driving conditions vary widely during the winter, as do the routes you take to get where you need to go. Your choice of tires will be dictated by your driving habits and the road conditions you expect to face. Fortunately there are many options available for winter traction from the economical all season and siped tires to specially engineered snow and studded tires.
Silverlake Automotive offers you a variety of tire options for your car, truck, or SUV. Not sure which type of tire is right for your situation? Give us a call or stop in and see us – we would be thrilled to discuss the tire options that are available to you.