Winter tires give drivers the extra traction, braking and handling they need to confidently drive on snow and ice. With specialized rubber compounds and tread designs, winter tires are better able to handle adverse weather conditions.
The tread of a winter tire remains flexible to prevent snow buildup and help with traction on ice. However, is installing two snow tires versus a full set of four a good idea? This answer is no and here are some reasons why a set of four snow tires is the only way to go.
Don’t Mix and Match Snow Tires
The technology tire manufactures are using on their winter tires is as advanced as ever, but no amount of technology will overcome a car owner’s decision to install two winter tires instead of four.
Regardless of advanced safety features that a vehicle may have, traction comes from tires gripping the road. If a car or truck has two different types of tires then the vehicle won’t react the same way when braking. Snow and ice will only make the problem worse by causing the vehicle to become unbalanced, which greatly increases the risk for spinning out.
Even cars with all-wheel drive, anti-lock brakes (ABS), traction control or even a combination of these features can’t overcome these tendencies.
It is also important to know that ABS brakes and traction control don’t improve traction. The ABS feature prevents brakes from locking up and simply limits your cars braking to the traction level of your tires. Both anti-lock brakes and traction control only help prevent drivers from over braking or overpowering the available traction of their tires.
A study conducted by the Quebec Ministry of Transport showed that winter tires improve braking up to 25 percent over all-season tires and improves collision avoidance by 38 percent. Installing a set of four matched winter tires on a vehicle is the only way to ensure that a vehicle gets these benefits.
Don't Guess What Tires are Right for your Vehicle
When replacing tires, always consult the owner's manual from the vehicle manufacturer to determine the best tires for your car. It is also important to note, always match tires and never mix with different performance or speed ratings. Different tire brands and/or sizes will have different traction levels and impact cornering capabilities and other safety attributes.
Automobile manufacturers such as Ford, Chrysler, GM, Toyota and BMW also include a placard label with the vehicle's tire information, which is normally located on the vehicle door edge, door post, glove box or fuel door.
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