A common question that is asked during the holidays is whether or not there is a need for winter specific tires.
When the weather starts to turn for the worse, with snow and slush, freezing rain, and maybe even black ice.
When driving in California in the wintertime, your tires should be the most important safety feature on your car. The right ones can get you to your destination safely. The wrong ones can have you end up in a ditch during the next storm.
So how do you figure out what’s best for your vehicle? Here are five things to know about winter tires:
1. Winter tires really are different than regular tires.
Winter tires have deeper tread, along with sipping (slits in the tread blocks). This increases the number of edges that touch the road, resulting in better traction and handling.
2. If your area regularly drops below 45 degrees, you probably need winter tires.
Winter tires don’t just perform better in snow and ice. They are better for cold weather in general. So if you get some chilly days where you live, consider a set – a full set. Installing just two winter tires can cause handling problems.
3. There are two main categories.
Studless snow and ice tires are designed for extreme conditions. They are better in deep snow than performance winter tires, which are for light snow and ice. Studded tires give you great traction on ice but also damage roads.
4. You still need to check the pressure.
If your tires are under inflated, they are at risk of failing. In winter, if they’re overinflated, your traction will be significantly reduced.
5. You still need to check the tread, too.
An inexpensive tool found at auto-parts stores can be used for this, or you can use a penny. Stick the coin into the groove of the tire, with Lincoln’s head down. If some of his hair hidden then you’re in the clear. If you can see Abe’s hair then it’s time for new tires. Right now!
We here at Mitchell & Mitchell know that nobody wants to spend too much time thinking about tires. The good news is you don’t have to. Just a little bit of preparation, along with some routine maintenance, will keep you driving safely in California all winter long.