When Should You Buy Snow Tires?

Winter is right around the corner! Many have started shopping for their winter wardrobe. If you are among those who are already preparing their seasonal essentials, don’t forget to check on your winter tires as you haul out your snow shovels and roof rakes.

Yes, you need winter tires.

Make sure your car is well-equipped to handle adverse road conditions during winter. Even if you are using all-season tires, you’d want to replace them with snow tires during the cold winter months. You see, all-season tires aren’t really for every season.

While all-season tires have good traction in wet conditions, it is still not at par with the traction winter tires have on snowy and icy roads. Moreover, all-season tires perform best at temperatures from 45 to over 100 degrees. At temperatures below 45 degrees, they stiffen and start to lose traction.

On the other hand, winter tires are made with special rubber compounds that can withstand temperatures below the 40s. Even when the temperature goes below freezing, they will not harden or lose traction.

If you will be driving in areas where temperatures will be consistently below 40 degrees, get a set of snow tires. Snow tires ensure good traction, better ice control, and reliable braking power even in extreme weather conditions.

So, when is the best time to buy snow tires?

Most manufacturers start piling up their stocks before winter kicks in. Stocks for snow tires are usually higher right around the fall season, which is also the time when their prices are relatively low. So, the best time to buy new snow tires would be around October and November. During this time, you can also take advantage of rebates and sales offered by tire manufacturers and sellers.

Don’t be in a hurry to switch tires, though. Wait until the air temperature falls to 45 degrees or lower before you switch from summer or all-season tires to winter tires. Put off switching if you still expect 80-degree days because high temps can ruin snow tires.

Then again, you don’t have to wait for the snow to fall either. Even if there is no ice on the roads yet, you can change to winter tires if the temperature is consistently low. As a general rule, switch when early mornings and evenings are below 45 degrees while average daytime temps are below 60 degrees.

How do I choose snow tires?

Now that you know that you need winter tires for the cold season, the next step is to figure out which ones to buy. Not all winter tires are the same. Some are better on ice than on snow. There are also tires built specifically for use in severe conditions. When choosing your snow tires, consider how and where you’ll be using them.

Check for traction standards.

The U.S. DOT sets minimum traction standards for winter tires. All-weather tires marked with M and S are designed for use in muddy conditions or light snow. For use in more severe weather conditions and colder climates, look for the mountain and snow symbol stamped on the tire sidewall. This indicates that it is a winter tire with specialized traction.

Look at the sipes.

Winter tires have tiny slits called sipes. As the car moves, the tire treads fill up with snow or water. They improve traction and create a better grip on wet, snowy, or icy surfaces.

Buy from reliable brands and sellers.

Don’t gamble on safety. Cheaper isn’t always better when it comes to car wheels. Be wary of tires sold at outrageously low prices by nondescript sellers. Buy your winter tires only from reliable companies like OEM Wheels Direct to get high-quality tires at competitive prices.

Take care of your snow tires.

High-quality snow tires are an investment. You’d want to take care of them, so they last you a couple of years. Don’t keep them on your car all year long. Switch to summer or all-season tires once the temperature goes beyond 60 degrees. Store them properly and check the tread for wear before using them again. When maintained with care, your snow tires can last you up to four winters.

Changing your tire size can be confusing at the best of times, especially if you’re on the lookout for a new car or looking to change your tire size on your existing vehicle.