Choosing the Right Tires for Winter

Posted on: October 27th, 2017 by Accurate Auto Body Denver No Comments

choosing winter tires

Choosing Winter Tires

The closer we get to November, the higher the likelihood that winter could hit at any moment. It’s that strange time of year in Colorado where it could be fall with a hint of summer one day, and the next day can bring 4+ inches of snow. If you haven’t yet, it’s time to get those winter tires back out and see if they are ready for another year or if it’s time to go shopping. If you’re in the market for new winter tires but aren’t sure what to pay attention to, here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to choosing winter tires. And, we can tell you, as an auto body repair specialist, we see countless repairs that could have been prevented if the vehicle had good winter or snow tires.

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Will All-Season Tires Do the Trick?

Nope, sorry. I know, it’s hard to believe. Why call a tire all-season if it can’t live up to its name, right? But there are countless driving tests where it’s apparent that all-season doesn’t include the hazards of the road in true winter conditions. There’s a number of reasons for this, but perhaps one of the most important is this – all-season and winter tires are made from different material. While all-season tires are made of a stiffer rubber compound that helps the tire retain its shape while driving on hot pavement, winter tires are generally made of a water-loving compound that stays softer and more pliable in winter conditions and allows you the traction you need on snow and ice.

What About M + S Rated Tires?

According to Les Schwab, some all-season tires have an M + S rating on them, meaning they are tested for mud and snow, but they warn against using these tires in places that experience ice and snow regularly throughout winter. Here’s the thing about M + S tires – they are equipped to provide better traction in wet conditions, but when things start to get slick they still don’t provide the grab you need to keep you safe and sound on the road. If you’re determined to use an all-season tire year round, look for the mountain snowflake symbol. If that’s present, it means the tire has actually been tested and proven to perform in slicker conditions.

What the Heck Is Siping?

When you start searching around for information on winter tires, you’ll see the word “siping” pop up a lot. Most snow tires are already siped, which just means that there are small patterned slits on the lugs that create extra edges for better grip on slick roads. Additional siping can be done on used or new tires for a fee, but this is generally unnecessary unless you are regularly traveling on very slick roads and want the added safety.

There are plenty of other things to consider when winter rolls around – like whether or not chains are necessary and when they might be (hint: if you’re planning on skiing and snowboarding in the mountains this winter we definitely recommend them), studs, and so much more. Ask your tire salesperson what they might recommend or talk with your regular technician to determine what the best choices are for you to get ready for the winter months.

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