Do I Need Snow Tires?

Do I need snow tires when I have all-season tires? If you live in an area where temperatures regularly drop below 45 F and frequently experience snowy or icy weather, you need snow tires. Snow tires, more commonly called winter tires, offer improved performance and safety at low temperatures. Winter tires are not just for convenience – they prevent accidents. What makes winter tires different?

Why All-Season Tires Aren’t Ideal for Winter Driving

Manufacturers formulate rubber compounds in tires for performance at specific temperature ranges. All-season tires and summer tires are primarily designed to withstand heat from pavement without quickly wearing down. However, these tires stiffen in cold temperatures, reducing traction and making them more prone to skidding or sliding in winter – even when there’s no ice or snow on the road. For this reason, our tire experts consider them ‘three-season tires’ in cold climates.

Winter tires, on the other hand, feature different rubber compounds that remain supple in temperatures below 50F. Their unique tread characteristics improve traction and water handling in slushy, snowy, icy road conditions. Winter tires are essential to safety in Yakima Valley. If it’s cold enough outside to see your breath, it’s time to bring your vehicle to our Yakima auto repair shop for winter tires.

Benefits of Snow Tires

Winter tires are designed to help you meet the challenges of winter driving. Unlike all-season tires, they won’t get hard and brittle or crack under 50 F. Flexibility in low temperatures ensures much-needed traction in icy, snowy conditions. Winter tires also feature deeper treads with more slots that allow them to dig into snow and channel water and slush to prevent hydroplaning. Tiny slits on the edges, called sipes, grip snow, which likes to stick to itself, helping tires hold the road. These combined features provide better traction and more control when accelerating, stopping, and cornering on frigid roads.

What to Look for in a Snow Tire

When shopping for snow tires at our local car service center, look for the Alpine symbol – a six-sided snowflake within a three-peaked mountain - stamped into the sidewall. Winter tires bearing this symbol have been tested and proven for winter driving performance. We strongly recommend purchasing four tires, as replacing only two will negatively impact handling. We sell winter tires from top brands, including:

  • Michelin
  • Goodyear
  • Dunlop
  • Continental
  • Cooper
  • Bridgestone
  • Pirelli
  • Nokian

Your manufacturer may recommend specific winter tire models. Check your owner’s manual for details or talk to our tire installation specialists to find the best snow tires for your vehicle and area driving conditions.

Schedule Winter Tire Replacement

Find the snow tires you need for winter driving in Yakima, Selah, Naches, Union Gap, West Valley, and East Valley at RJ’s Tire Pros & Auto Experts. Contact us at 509-453-8170 to schedule a tire service appointment today.

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