Understanding Automotive Brake Parts and Services

Use Small Winter Tires To Stay On The Road This Winter

Throughout winter, roads will be slick with snow and ice. While oversized wheels may look good throughout the rest of the year, it's a good idea to replace large custom tires with smaller winter tires during the cold months of the year. Not only will putting winter tires on your car protect your expensive custom tires from sand and salt, as you can store your nicer wheels for the winter, but putting winter tires on your car will also help you stay on the road this winter.

Winter Tires Give You Traction in Snow and Ice

While all-season tires are designed to funnel water away from the tires, winter tires aren't just made for handling rain. Their treads on winter tires are engineered so that the tires remain in contact with the road when the pavement is covered in snow and ice. Thus, winter tires will give you better control when the roads are unplowed. 

Winter Tires Give You Traction in Cold Temperatures

Although they're often called snow tires because of the traction they provide in snow, winter tires aren't just made for snow and ice. They'll give your car a better grip on the road anytime the temperature falls below 40°F. As Edmunds details, the rubber used in all-season tires becomes stiff at this temperature. The rubber used in winter tires, in contrast, remains pliable at low temperatures and allows the tires to flex with minute changes in the road's surface.

Thus, winter tires will provide you with better control even if you don't live in a snowy area. If the temperature falls below 40°F during winter where you live, you should consider replacing your car's current tires with winter ones -- especially if you have custom ones.

Small Tires Cut Through Winter Slush

When selecting winter tires, you should look for the smallest size that's appropriate for your car. You can find what size tires are compatible with your vehicle by looking up the information in the owner's manual. The possible tire sizes will likely be listed as a series of letters and numbers, such as "P205/55/R15." Each letter and number has a specific meaning:

  • P indicates P-metric, which are used in passenger cars
  • the first number lists the width of the tire in millimeters (205 is 205 millimeters)
  • the second number is the tire's aspect ratio (55 means the height is 55 percent of the width)
  • R is short for radial
  • the final number is the tire's diameter in inches (15 is 15 inches)

These numbers can be found on the sidewalls of new tires, making it easy to find tires that will fit your car when shopping for them.

Purchasing the smallest tire that fits your car will help your car cut through winter slush. Tires that have small widths and diameters don't have as much surface area on the road as those that have larger widths and diameters. Counterintuitively, this actually provides better traction on slippery roads. Because your car has less tire to support it, the weight of the car bears down more on each tire. The increased force will help the tire cut through snow and ice that is on the road.

If you currently have big custom wheels on your car, downsizing to a smaller winter tire will significantly increase how much force is bearing down on each tire. When you encounter snow and ice, you'll notice the difference in how your car handles the slush.

If you have over-sized wheels on your car, take them off for the winter. Put on smaller winter tires, so you can stay on the road when driving through snow and ice, and when the temperature goes below 40°F. To purchase new tires for your car, check out a site like http://www.colliergoodyear.com.