If you live in the area of North America known as the Snow Belt, then a good set of winter tires are an indispensable weapon in your annual battle with the elements. Drivers living outside the belt who sometimes encounter snow, or are skiers should also consider moving up to winter tires from all-season tires, especially if the all-seasons have more than a couple of years of wear on them. All-season tires are designed to handle acceptably under a large variety of conditions, which is by nature a compromise. In other words, Jack of All Trades, Master of None. A typical Super High Perfomance tire with treads designed to hold the road at 200 degrees F will become hard and brittle at temperatures below freezing, and turn into Super Low Perfomance tires! Only winter tires are designed for optimal perfomance in sub-zero conditions.
Using winter tires will lengthen the life of your summer tires since they'll be sitting in storage for part of the year. That makes these snow-beaters an economically sensible purchase. Not only that, but having a set of winter wheels will protect your summer wheels finish from the hearsh environment of raod salt, ice, grime and slush existing on winter roads.
For stopping power on icy streets and acceleration in slushy spots, winter tires are a must. That means you won't get stuck in the snow, slip and slide on an icy hill, or end up in the ditch of some curvy backroad.
Don't neglect checking the air pressure in your winter tires. Since the air in a tire contracts as temperatures drop, for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit drop in the outside temperature, your tires will lose 1 psi in pressure. Your car's handling, traction and fuel efficiency will be adversely affected by this, so pay attention during the fall months as the weather changes. It is recommended to check your tires with a digital pressure gauge for better precision.
Another tip- make sure to keep the valve caps on. Valves with caps to protect them will freeze up, and when moisture collects in the valve, they will slowly leak air from your winter tires.
David Demetre lives in the snowbelt, is an author and the webmaster at http://www.Carrom.us , a premier source of Custom Car Floor Mats