Picking out snow tires

If your car doesn't want to move well in the snow, it may not be the car you're driving.

It could, however, have a lot to do with the tires, including the type of tires they are, and the tread they have.

As the miles on your car adds up, the traction on your vehicle's tires will add up.

"Every tire needs 3 basic criteria to do a good job at what it's designed for, " said Woody Rogers, Public Information Specialist for Tire Rack, "It needs an appropriate tread pattern, it needs the right tread compound, and it needs proper tread depth for the conditions it's going to be driven in."

Most new tires, including the all-season tires that may be on your vehicle, start with tread depth measurement. That may not seem like a lot, but when you look at a brand new tire, the grooves look deep enough to grab snow and gain traction. When you see the tread depth become shallow, you will notice the lack of grip when driving.

"For snow, you should consider changing your tires when the tread depth gets down to about six thirty-seconds of remaining tread depth," said Rogers, "Below that, the tire does not have enough tread depth to take a good bite out of the snow; it can only nibble at it, and that's how you can get stuck if you're trying to drive through deeper snow."

In most states, tires are considered worn at two thirty-seconds of tread depth. The best way to see if your tires are worn is to stick a penny upside down in one of the main grooves. If you can see the top of Lincoln's head, it's time for new tires.

"The best solution is to have winter tires for your vehicle for the winter time and summer or all season tires for the rest of the year," he said.

"Most cars on the road today come with and are driving around on the all season tire, and that's really a lot like this cross training shoe. It's kind of reasonable at a lot of things, but not really good at one thing," said Rogers, "Sure you could walk around in some light snow or slush or a shoveled sidewalk or maybe a plowed parking lot, but you wouldn't want to go sledding with the kids or in deep snow with this."


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