Before winter comes around in the Northwoods, everyone is already gearing up to be ready when it hits. So should you with a set of snow tires for your daily driven vehicle in the winter. There is a myth that getting a set of tires and wheels for the winter can be expensive and not worth it if you have "All-Season" tires, in reality, it is one of the smartest things you can do when it comes to safety in the winter.
A good set of wheels and tires can run anywhere from $800 to $3000 depending on your vehicle. When looking for a set of winter wheels and tires,
you do not need an expensive set of rims as the salt and road grime in the winter would wear on them much faster than in the summer. Normal after market wheels can run anywhere from $100-$200 a piece. Once you're wheels are picked out you can pick up a set of tires for roughly the same price as the wheel you will be mounting it on. This may seem like a lot of money to spend for something you will only use in the winter, but you will ONLY use them during the winter. During the summer you will put your original wheels back on your vehicle and store your winter set until the next season. By doing this you will save the stock rims, or your nice aftermarket rims, from getting eaten up by the salt during the winter. This will also allow your summer tires to last longer as you will only be using them during the summer; your winter tires will also last quite a few years as you will only be running them during the winter. In the end, as an example, the cost of buying an extra set of wheels and replacing tires every 6 years, would be the same as replacing tires every 3 years, if you ran the tires year round.
When winter comes in the Northwoods, you want to be prepared for anything that hits. Safety is everyones number one concern during winter travels and that is one reason to run snow tires during the winter. Snow tires are designed to allow snow to be thrown out and off the tire treads so it does not build up and cause a loss of traction and control. Another design in the snow tires is called "Siping". Siping is small grooves cut in the tire which allow it to grip icy surfaces better than conventional tread patterns. Big open tread patterns are terrible for snow as it gets stuck in the tread and the large flat lugs in the tread pattern slip on the snow and ice and make for a slippery and unsafe drive.
- Can't I just run All-season tires? Yes and no. All-season tires are meant for light snow only. All-season are not designed to work great with one type of road condition, they are optimized to give you adequate performance throughout all weather conditions.
- Can I run snow tires year round? Yes you can, but the warm summer roads and dry roads will eat the tires at a very fast rate and most times will not be safe for winter driving by the next season.
- Can I run snow tires on just my drive tires? Putting just two tires on the drive wheels is a bad idea. The increased traction on two tires combined with the other two tires with less traction will cause the vehicle to be unsafe while accelerating as well as extremely dangerous under braking.