With winter right around the corner, you, like many, may be wondering, “Do I really need to equip my car with winter tires?” This is a common question this time of the year. As tire shop owners in the snowy state of New Jersey, it’s certainly a question we hear quite often from our customers. In today’s blog, we would like to help you answer this question, as well as some other questions you may have regarding the winter and your car tires.

Whether you are a resident of Kearny, New Jersey, or just passing through, stop by our tire shop and let us help you with all of your tire needs. From tire repair to picking out new tires, we take pride in helping our customers stay safe. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

Aren’t Regular Tires Good Enough?

The answer to this question depends on a few factors—namely where you live, where you plan to do most your driving, and the condition and type of your current tires. A good rule of thumb that many tire shops adhere to is that if you live in an area where winter temperatures drop below 45 degrees regularly, you should invest in a set of winter tires. If your average temperature hovers above this number, a good set of all-season tires will likely cover you year-round.

But What If I Have All-season Tires?

All-season tires are great, but as many tire experts will tell you, they should be called, “all but one-season” tires. This season, of course, being winter. Although all-season tires have many of the traits you want from your tires—they perform well on dry and wet conditions; they aren’t noisy; they provide good fuel economy—they are not to be relied upon once the weather gets nasty. All-season tires don’t have the tread design or technology to help your car perform optimally in inclement weather.

What Makes Snow Tires So Special?

Snow tires are built to perform at low temperatures and in ice, slush, and snow. They are cut deeper and have specially designed tread for cold and icy conditions. Whereas all-season tires will harden in low temperatures, winter tires use special rubber compounds that keep the tire pliable in the cold, allowing them to better grip the road and improve your ability to brake and handle.

Do I Need Winter Tires If I Have A Four-Wheel Drive Vehicle?

Some people assume that because they have an all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicle, they don’t need winter tires. This, however, is not true. Although AWD will help improve your ability to get going in the snow—because power is being sent to all four wheels—it doesn’t help to stop and steer the car. Tires designed specifically for winter help improve traction when accelerating, turning, and braking.

When Should I Get Snow Tires Put On?

The answer to this question is a bit of a balancing act. You don’t want to add them too early and use them in dry, warm conditions that will accelerate their wear and tear. You also don’t want to wait until the last minute before a big blizzard hits when there’s a line out the door of the tire shop. The best solution is to use your judgment and consult with your tire professionals.  

Can I Use Winter Tires All Year?

If you want to get the most life possible out of your tires, we would not recommend using them all-year round. When used in warm, dry weather, winter tires can become soft and wear quickly. The amount of wear caused by improperly using winter tires out of season can be so great that it can actually cost you more than switching between two sets. This is also to say, if you invest in snow tires, protect your investment and only add them when the weather is cold and take them off when the last storm has passed.

Is There A Downside To Snow Tires?

Like with most decisions, there are advantages and disadvantages to equipping your car with winter tires. One of the most obvious downsides is the cost. Buying, installing, and then removing winter tires will cost you. Additionally, some snow tires, especially studded tires, will reduce your fuel economy in comparison to all-season tires. This being said, we believe that the increased level of safety and performance that you get when adding snow tires far outweighs these disadvantages—especially when you live in a place like New Jersey where the cold weather and snow is a winter guarantee.

When trying to decide whether winter tires are right for you, keep this information in mind. If you would like to consult with tire professionals, don’t hesitate to contact Road Runner Tire Shop, LLC. We specialize in all your car and truck tire needs, and we even offer roadside assistance. Schedule your appointment today!