During the winter, snow and freezing temperatures affect your vehicle's handling on the road. 


Anyone who lives in New England, where the weather is dominated by ice and snow for months out of the year, should consider winter tires, or more commonly called snow tires. In addition, anyone who drives a two-wheel or rear-wheel drive vehicle is more susceptible to slipping due to the unbalanced power of the tires. Four-wheel drive vehicles perform better than two-wheel drive, but it is recommended that both types of vehicles use a set of winter tires.


Winter tires make all the difference for balanced, controlled, and safe handling. Tires are the only four points of contact with the road and the more they touch the road in snow, ice, slush, and rain, the better the traction. Of vehicle owners who don't own winter tires, 74% feel their all-season tires are good enough.* 


While you probably do have good tires, not all tires are designed to handle all weather conditions. The bottom line is that you need better grip and handling in bad weather. 


What is different about winter tires

Winter tires differentiate from other tires in two ways:


   Winter tread compound In colder temperatures, all-season tires stiffen, reducing grip on the road. The rubber compounds and other components that make up winter tires keep them flexible in temperatures below 45°F (7°C). Tire flexibility allows for better vehicle handling and stopping.

   Winter tread pattern Especially when roads are slick, tires without specifically designed winter tread patterns can simply slide when the brakes are applied. Winter tires have deep grooves and small slits called sipes that cut through snow and ice, keeping more of the tire in contact with the road.These specially designed tread patterns allow water to easily escape from under the tire, instead of potentially slipping and gliding over it when using all-weather tires. 


When do I need winter tires?

As soon as you see a layer of snow on the ground is when you should put on snow tires.


3 types of winter tires

Depending on what type of car you have can depend on what type of winter tires you need. For the most part, you will either rely on studded or non-studded winter tires, but there is also another type for performance vehicles properly titled "performance winter tires."


Performance Winter Tires
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Performance winter tires allow enhanced vehicle responsiveness on snowy and icy roads for sport or performance vehicles. This type does not generate as much traction as others due to the fact that they are for higher speed vehicles, but they are more practical than all-season tires.


Studded Winter Tires

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These types of tires literally have metal studs that protrude from the tread of the tire and are designed to dig into the ice and snow to gain traction. Studded tires are great for the winter months, but are likewise not recommended to be used on bare asphalt during non-winter months.


Non-studded Winter Tires

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Non-studded tires have become the modern and practical alternative to studded tires. Instead of relying on metal studs that can eat at the asphalt and ruin your tires, non-studded tires rely on a rubber compound that allows the rubber to stay soft and flexible in cold weather to maintain traction on snowy and icy surfaces. 


For maximum safety and road handling this winter, consider using a set of snow tires on your car or truck. Contact Lev Kia at 877-351-1051 to determine what type of tire is best for your vehicle. 


*2011 Dealer Tire Survey