It’s time to get prepared for the snow, ice and other winter conditions. But have you equipped your vehicle with winter tires?
When it comes to winter driving, having the right tires on your vehicle is essential. Something I didn’t really understand until recently. Last fall, Jerry and I had a conversation about buying winter tires for my car and I just didn’t see what all of the hype was about. I mean, what’s the point in spending extra money on a set of tires we will only use for a couple of months? Aren’t all tires pretty much the same?
It turns out I was wrong. Not because my argument was invalid, but because winter tires can make a huge difference when it comes to keeping your family safe on the road. And since I am a visual learner, I didn’t realize how wrong I was until I actually experienced the difference between all-season tires and Michelin winter tires. I was fortunate enough to visit Notre Dame University to drive full-size sedans equipped with AWD on the Compton Family Ice Arena. Trust me, it doesn’t get any scarier (or real) than driving on actual ice!
Let’s break it down:
All-Season tires are designed to provide balanced dry, wet, and light/moderate snow traction performance levels for year round usage. Unlike winter tires, all-season tires are not designed to provide advanced levels of winter traction in cold weather (below 45F degrees F.) All-season tires are marked with the RMA symbol M+S.
Winter tires are specially designed for optimized traction on snow, slush and ice in addition to wet and dry roads in severe cold weather environment. That means when temperatures are consistently below freezing and/or there is substantial winter precipitation. Winter tires are not recommended for year-round usage. Winter tires are marked with the RMA symbol 3PMSF in addition to M+S indicating suitable usage for severe winter conditions.
Is there really a performance difference between all-season and winter tires?
Take a look for yourself!
As a busy Mom who lives on the go, knowing that my car is equipped with winter tires means I’m no longer at the mercy of Mother Nature, and have better control of my car. Even as frugal as I am, it now makes sense to me to purchase winter tires for my vehicles. While there is an upfront cost of purchasing the tires, having them mounted and then balanced, it’s clear that I can’t afford not to.
Think about it this way: Our collision deductible at it’s lowest is $500, which is pretty close to the cost of a new set of Michelin winter tires. I would rather invest that money into the tires that I can continue to use for quite some time rather than pay my deductible because I couldn’t stop in time and smacked right into the back of someone. Plus, let’s not forget about the time that’s lost when driving on all-season tires. Being late for work because you were sliding all around the road will probably equal a loss in wages. No bueno! This doesn’t even factor a collision where someone (God forbid) gets hurt and requires medical attention.
Even if you have traction control or four-wheel drive on your vehicle, these features can offer a false sense of security in winter conditions. Traction control/ABS are designed for vehicle stability, power transition, and controlled braking under dry conditions. They don’t optimize traction or grip during icey conditions.
If you’re ready for a stress-free winter, it just might be time to reevaluate your car’s tires. Tire Rack has over 35 years of experience and can help you find the tires you need to make your car winter ready. They have nine distribution centers across the country and off next day delivery to 95% of the population.
In addition, they have collected data from nearly 130,000 consumer surveys, representing over 2.3 billion miles of real-world tire data and 480+ different models of tires, the largest known database of such information anywhere. It’s pretty safe to say they are a trusted source for all things tire related.
Being prepared in the winter is important. Don’t let your tire decisions leave you out in the cold this winter!