Deep snow reduces friction to a fraction of dry road conditions. In order to create enough
friction to drive the wheels, snow tires are formulated with rubber compounds that remain
softer in colder temperatures. Convention summer driving tires will get very hard as the
temperature drops, further reducing the gripping ability of the tire.
In addition, snow tires have larger blocks of tread with deeper channels between them that actually use the snow against itself to grip the road surface. These blocks will often have small separations or “sipes”
that enable it to flex more and thus grip the snow and ice like fingers. Most rubber is also compounded with silica (very fine sand) that adds additional grip on ice. You can feel a tremendous difference using tires produced specifically for snow and ice conditions.
Technology in snow tire production has come so far that you rarely hear of “studded” snow tires any more and many run as smooth on dry pavement as high performance tires. However, some of these advantages become liabilities on dry pavement in hot weather. Snow tires will be very soft and wear very quickly in hot temperatures. If you are going to hold on to your car more than a couple of years, it would pay you to consider having two sets of wheels, one fitted with snow tires and one fitted with summer tires. We can store your off-season set for a nominal fee and this program will insure you keep going down the road as economically as possible.