Are Snow Tires Necessary for the Winter?

Did you know that every year, 24% of the weather-related automobile accidents occur on snowy roads? So, if you live in an area with heavy snowfall, you need to drive carefully and have snow tires, which improve friction and provide better control, ensuring that you and the passengers in your are safe on icy roads. Tires play an important role in ensuring your safety, which means that you need to carefully choose tires specifically made for driving in certain climatic and geographical conditions, says an article on Certified Auto Mall Towing & Recovery. Your normal all-season tire may provide better grip and a quality ride in the summer, but they generally fail to do so in winter.

Snow Tire Technology

Snow tires or winter tires are manufactured from soft rubber, which remains flexible even when temperature drops below zero. Snow tires are also made with treaded patterns and wider grooves to increase the friction on slippery roads, says an article on US News & World Report. These treaded designs make it easier for water to drain and help reduce hydroplaning. Snow tires usually offer 25% to 50% more traction than regular, all-season tires.

Most manufacturers also use silica to make winter tires, since it makes the rubber soft and flexible, and reduces its hardening in low temperatures. Maintaining appropriate air pressure is very important for better traction, durability and efficient handling. It is important that you check the pressure, since air contracts with a decrease in temperature. Remember, to keep the valve caps tightly shut, since moisture can freeze inside, if left open.

How to Identify a Snow Tire

Distinguishing snow tires from all-season ones isn’t rocket science. Snow tires aren’t studded, instead they have treaded patterns to provide more traction. While metal studs provide better traction in soft snow, it offers no help in hard ice. Additionally, snow tires will always have a mountain and snowflake icon on the side walls. This mark will help you to set apart snow tires from general all-season ones.

If you drive frequently on snow-covered roads, it is best to have all four snow tires for balanced traction, says an article on Consumer Reports. However, if you rarely use your vehicle in freezing weather, you can choose to have high quality all-season tires. Before you buy snow tires, however, make sure to conduct thorough research and compare the features of various tires available in the market.

How the Cold Weather Might Affect Your Car

Winter is upon us and it could be a nightmare if you need to drive on frozen roads. Snow fall and freezing temperatures can affect your vehicle in several ways. Here’s list of the vehicle components that might get affected by extreme cold weather.

The battery

Extreme cold temperatures can drain your car battery completely. A normal battery can last for about 2 to 3 years, but cold weather has the ability to kill your battery much sooner. Keeping your car in a garage will ensure good health for the battery. Giving proper attention to battery care and maintenance will also ensure long life for your vehicle’s battery, while making sure that your car starts every time you turn on the ignition, says an article by Certified Auto Mall Towing & Recovery.

Fuel and other fluids

Studies have shown that your car’s engine takes longer to reach its maximum fuel efficiency in cold weather, which affects the fuel economy, says an article by Acccuweather. It takes more time to heat up, especially in the mornings. Generally, when the temperature drops, the fluid thickens, which makes it harder for the various car fluids to flow smoothly, reducing the speed and efficiency of your vehicle. So, check all the fluids in your vehicle, including oil, power steering, transmission fluids, antifreeze, etc., on a regular basis in winter.

Tires

Tires contract in the cold, which reduces their traction. Tire pressure also gets affected when the temperature changes. Tire pressure can affect the durability, reliability and friction of your tires, making it harder to drive in snowy conditions, says an article on The Telegraph. So, if you live in a cold region, choose winter tires or snow tires over all-season ones, since the former have treaded patterns that increase friction. If you don’t know how to identify a winter tire, just look for a mountain and snow flake icon on the side walls of the tire. Make sure you check the monitor light for tire pressure, before you go for a drive.

Spark plugs

A clogged filter, defective spark plugs or bad ignition component can cause your car not to start. As the temperature drops, it will be harder for you to start your engine and will directly affect its reliability. Make sure you have high quality spark plugs to bear extreme weather conditions.

Along with checking your car components, make sure you are driving slow and choosing the shortest and safest route while on icy roads.