The main disadvantage of dedicated winter tires is the need to both change into the tires before the winter season, as well as changing out after the winter season. This can be quite complicated since knowing when to change in or out of the winter tires can be quite tricky. Many areas in the United States don’t have clear changes of weather between seasons with possible early snowfall that melts away quickly, with the same holding true in the spring where you might you might have a temporary warm up followed by freezing temperatures and snow fall. In addition, there are laws forbidding the use of winter tires outside of certain dates and even laws against studded tires all together in certain States. It is recommended to switch out of winter tires (studded or non-studded) when temperatures stay consistently above 32 degrees Fahrenheit and the same hold through for changing into winter tires in the fall once the temperature stays consistently below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Winter tires are usually made of rubber compounds that remain flexible and soft even in very cold winter temperatures however when the temperatures are above 45 degrees Fahrenheit, they start to they get hotter and hotter and eventually start to chemically degrade. This chemical degradation can actually cause the outside of the tire to become somewhat greasy and even decrease the gripping of the road, making it difficult to brake and increasing stopping distance. The rubber on all-season tires on the other hand is made to withstand heat. All-season tires have special rubber compounds that stays flexible yet firm to handle warmer temperatures so not to wear down as fast while providing proper traction in a variety of driving conditions from spring through fall.
If switching into all-season tires after the winter season you should be aware that they perform better with temperatures above 32 degrees Fahrenheit whereas winter tires with their softer rubber compounds are made to be used in temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit
It is also important to keep in mind the manufacturer’s recommended tire dimensions when buying a new set of tires. This means that if you are switching out of a 265/75R16 winter tires then you should change into 265/75R16 all-season tires.
If the weather where you live is too unpredictable and there is often a chance of temporary warming followed by true winter weather, you might want to consider equipping your car with all-weather tires eliminating the need entirely for winter tires. This is because the all-weather tires also hold the “Three Peak Mountain Snowflake” emblem signifying their approved use in severe winter conditions. Did you know that in severe winter conditions even when owning an SUV, tires with this “Three Peak Mountain Snowflake” emblem are recommended? This is because an SUV does not automatically handle better in winter conditions. In fact, the only benefit of an SUV is that the 4-wheel drive allows for better traction.
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