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.

The Ultimate Vehicle Maintenance Checklist

Proper maintenance of your vehicle not only helps to get the most mileage out of it, but it is also one of the most effective ways to avoid a dreaded breakdown on the side of the road. While the maintenance requirements for your specific vehicle may vary, you should be aware of the most common tasks that are required for the majority of cars and trucks on the roads. Read through this list and make sure to take your car in for a tune-up if you notice that it is in need of professional maintenance.

Check the Oil and Coolant Levels

The fluids in your car play an essential role in temperature regulation and help to lubricate moving parts. Begin by checking the oil and coolant levels regularly to make sure that the proper amount of fluids is in the engine to keep everything running smoothly. While you can expect some fluid loss over time, you should be concerned if you notice a drastically low level, since this could indicate a leak in your system. Make sure to mention this when you take your car in for its regular oil change and tune up.

Get the Brakes Inspected

The brakes on your car are subjected to tremendous pressure every time you tap the pedal. While high-quality brake pads and rotors can last for many miles, you must schedule regular brake inspections to make sure that they are in top condition. Between servicing, keep an eye out for warning signs of wear such as squeals when you brake or a pedal that has more give than it normally would.

Assess the Safety Features

At some point, almost every driver has noticed someone driving with a taillight out, and failing lights put you at risk for an accident. Face your car toward a solid wall such as the garage door, and turn on the headlights to see if you can detect them working. You can also recruit a partner to watch as you tap the brake lights and use the turn signals to make sure that they are working properly.

Give the Tires a Lookover

The tires on your car help to maintain traction on slippery surfaces, and they must be properly inflated to keep your car steering properly. Check the tire pressure every time that you stop for gas, and inspect the entire set at least once a month. Keep in mind that your spare tire should be included in this inspection so that it is always ready in case of an emergency.

Find Out About Long-Term Maintenance Needs

While oil changes and tire inflations occur often enough that you should not forget them, there are other maintenance needs that happen after a certain number of months or miles pass by. When you take your car into the auto service center, ask about what maintenance tasks are coming up so that you can plan accordingly. For example, four-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicles have a transfer case that requires the fluid to be filled and replaced periodically.

Although car maintenance might not be your favorite thing to do, it is critical to stay on top of the tasks that keep your vehicle running and protect your safety on the road. When you are strapped on time, just bring your vehicle in for a professional check up so that you never have to worry about an essential task going undone.