Can You Use Winter Tires All Year? - Ford Inside News Community
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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 12:54 PM Thread Starter
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Can You Use Winter Tires All Year?

You might want to drive all year long on winter tires to save money, time or both, but that you shouldn’t do it.

First, let’s look at what makes winter tires good in the snow. Unlike summer or all-season tires, winter tires can stay soft and flexible in cold weather. Additionally winter tires have different tread patterns and sipes that allow them to bite into snow and ice to get additional traction.

These two features allow winter tires to be effective on icy roads. The softer tire compound allows the tires to grip when temperatures drop below 44 degrees Fahrenheit or seven degrees Celsius.

“The compounds [in winter tires] are oriented to work at lower temperatures,” said Yokohama representative Phillip Diogenes. This is in contrast to all-season or summer tires, which become hard and lose almost all of their grip.

But in warmer weather, winter tires become too soft, which significantly impacts handling and performance. Instead of having a crisp feeling turn-in, like you would with a summer or all-season tire in ideal temperatures, a winter tire would feel slow to respond when used in warm weather.

Diogenes also pointed out that all the treads and grooves that are found on a winter tire would cause the tire to feel “squirmy” and unstable in warm and dry weather.

“They will feel a bit “greasy” on the road with less adhesion.” he said. That affects safety and can cause longer braking distances.

Finally, choosing to use winter tires all year long will cause the tires to wear out irregularly. Not only will the tires degrade unevenly, but they will also cause additional noise as they wear.

Is there any potential advantage to driving on winter tires all year long? “They do deal with larger amounts of water effectively too which of course is encountered all year long like rain,” said Diogenes, but that could be said about a few all-season and summer tires too.
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