The rubber used in winter tires has reached the molecular core of tire engineering. Most manufacturers also use silica in the composite materials of winter tires because it helps the rubber maintain flexibility when the temperature drops to near zero or even below zero.
The tread of winter tires is designed with a deeper pattern to gain traction in the snow. The pattern has more grooves, and the pattern has more cut-off places, which are called sipes. The pattern blocks are relatively small, so there are more edges to bite into the ice and snow. All of this is to increase traction.
Winter tires usually have wider grooves and more than four-season tires. More grooves mean more edges, which can catch snow on the road. Wider grooves also suggest removing snow and slush faster instead of filling the grooves with snow, thereby reducing traction.
Who needs winter tires?
Live in a place that is not very cold in winter, for example. There will not be a few inches of snow throughout the winter, a warm sweater outside is enough to keep out the cold, and you may not need winter tires. Four-season tires will provide you with enough traction and braking power.
However, live in an area that often encounters snow or icing. Winter tires will provide you with better traction and safety for daily driving. Tire manufacturers often use 45 degrees Fahrenheit as a benchmark. If your winter average is below this level, then snow tires may help. Experts suggest that if you install winter tires, it is best to install a set of four winter tires to reduce the possibility of skidding when turning.
Although winter tires are designed for cold temperatures, there is no big problem if the four-season tires are not replaced when the weather gets warmer. However, this is not necessarily good. Since winter tires use a softer rubber compound than standard tires, using them on dry roads every day in warm climates will accelerate their tear. On warm and dry roads, they do not provide the best traction.
Of course, if you have winter and summer tires for use in different seasons, you must store an extra set that is not in use.
Many people think that if they have all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, they don’t need winter tires. Experts warn that these systems work best with the tires on the car. Although all four wheels can provide power, it increases the car’s capacity in lousy weather. Still, this ability can only be exerted on the right tires.