Winter Tire Driving Safety Below 45 Degrees: The Importance of Winter Tires

February 20th, 2015 by

Several sources point to the importance of winter tires for all vehicles. According to JTSU, winter tires improve braking, cornering, and handling. In fact, traction is improved by as much as 25 to 50 percent over all-season tires. Tire safety below 45 degrees is important because it is at this temperature and below that all-season tires “begin to harden and lose traction,” according to JTSU. Here’s a look at how winter tire safety is improved at temperatures below 45 degrees if you are riding on winter tires.

Winter Tire Safety Below 45 Degrees

Winter Tire Install

Winter tires are designed specifically to provide ultimate traction control in snowy and icy conditions, according to JTSU. Winter tires flex and “bite” the road, which helps to maximize grip. Improved traction is achieved by mixing tire compounds with a number of different features. These features improve winter tire safety and have the following benefits:

  • Soft, Stud-Tread Fibers These fibers bite, or grip, the road. All-season tires do not have a stud thread, additional features that help with grip, or channels that drain snow/slush .
  • Special Compounds in Snow Tires These special compounds will retain flexibility at temperatures below 45 degrees, while the compounds in all-season tires become stiff at low temperatures.
  • Prevention of Hydroplaning “Silica-based, micro-pore compounds” help prevent hydroplaning, which is the loss of traction due to water buildup between the road and the tire. The winter tire’s grooves, which run parallel to the tire, run straight and are wider to help reduce water buildup. Lateral slots, which run perpendicular to the tire, help remove water as well. These slots do not run across the entire tire.
  • Metal Studs Most winter tires are studless, according to Consumer Reports, and instead of having studs these tires have the tread compounds that make the tires flexible in cold temperatures. Some tires allow metal studs to be inserted into a pre-molded hole. According to Tire Rack, some states prohibit the use of metal studs because they damage the roads.
  • Multi-Angle Siping Siping is the “practice of cutting extra slits into tire treads,” Consumer Reports says. Winter tires come with siping across the tread. The siping helps with ice braking and snow traction, especially while cornering. All-season tires have siping, but not to the same extent that winter tires do.

In all, winter tires are worth the investment. The tires can perform better in snow and icy conditions due to soft, stud-tread fibers and special compounds that allow the tire to remain pliable at low temperatures. The tread and grooves on snow tires also help prevent hydroplaning and provide better traction and braking control.

Call Fisher Auto in Boulder, Colo., at 303-245-6414 with your questions about winter tire safety below 45 degrees. Check out our specials to see if we are offering special pricing on tires. Fisher Auto can also put on your winter tires and swap them out in the summer for $60. The service is free if you purchased your tires at Fisher Auto!