Most cars come fitted with all-season tyres, but that name is actually a little misleading. All-season tyres are meant to work in all seasons, as long as those seasons are relatively mild. That means you might want to consider swapping out your all-season tyres for special winter tyres if you're living in a part of the country that tends to experience harsher winter conditions.
Here are just three signs you might want to switch you car's all-season tyres for winter tyres.
1. You Expect Temperatures to Dip Below Freezing
All-season car tyres can cope with light cold snaps perfectly fine, but you should really think about having winter tyres fitted if temperatures are going to fall below freezing and then stay there for extended periods. This all comes down to the way tyres are made. Tyres designed for summer or year-round use are made from a relatively hard compound that stays soft in mild temperatures to provide plenty of grip on the road below. Winter tyres are made from a different compound that provides a better grip through freezing temperatures. If it's going to be really cold, winter tyres will help you maintain traction.
2. You Expect to Drive Over Snow
If you'll be punching through snowbanks or driving through feet of the white stuff, you should already know that special tyres are a good idea. However, winter tyres should also be considered necessary if you're only crossing light snow. They have a different tread that works well on low-traction surfaces like ice and snow. In fact, the thread actually gathers snow – that might sound odd, but nothing grips snow better than more snow, so winter tyres simply take advantage of that fact. They even have fine grooves cut into each tread block to provide superior grip.
3. You Expect to Drive Through Deep Puddles
Winter can bring lots of rain as well as snow. Even if rain is all you get, you should invest in some winter tyres to ensure it's safe to cover roads that hold lots of standing water. Winter tyres have deep thread grooves that are excellent at displacing water when you need to drive through it. That provides superior traction across wet surfaces, and it's particularly important if you expect to go through deep puddles. There's always a chance of aquaplaning, which means the tyre planes across the water rather than gripping the road below, but using winter tyres helps lower the risk.