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Archive for December, 2012

Winter Tires

As winter approaches and the weather cools, the topic of winter tires becomes more pressing for denizens of the more rugged areas of Arizona.  Whether you have driven in winter conditions for decades or have only just begun to face down the challenge, Chapman Payson can give you the advice you need to select winter tires.

According to Edmunds, the first essential step to selecting the right tires is to appreciate the distinction between “snow tires” and “winter tires.”  “Snow tires” is a bit of a misnomer, as contemporary winter tires are designed to handle all sorts of winter weather – rain, sleet, snow, ice, salt, and extreme low temperatures.  If you believe that winter tires are only necessary for driving in snow, you may find yourself unpleasantly surprised the next time that you drive in sub-freezing temperatures.

All-season tires, although much improved in recent years, are composed of rubber compounds which simply are not designed to perform in extreme low temperatures.  Winter tires, on the other hand, are built to remain soft and provide traction in the cold.  Even if you do not often drive in snow, winter tires may be necessary to ensure safe driving through the winter months.

Winter tires also offer more aggressive tread patterns than standard tires.  Because many areas with colder climates also experience high levels of winter precipitation – rain, sleet, snow, and resulting mud and ice – winter tires are designed to force moisture away from the treads to prevent hydroplaning.  Deeper treads also provide more traction in muddy conditions in addition to retaining more grip on ice.

Some winter tires even include built-in or installable studs for use on more precarious roadways and off-road tasks.  Studded tires are no longer as prevalent in the winter tire market as they once were, largely because of improvements in rubber compounds, but they may be the right choice if your winter driving includes steep inclines, off-road ventures, or the use of roads which are not always clear.

Winter tires provide safety and reliability that all-season tires and tire chains cannot match.  For your winter tire needs, your local Payson Auto Center’s knowledgeable staff can provide all the information required to make an informed decision.