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Replacing 2 or 4 winter tires?

winter tires on car

Without a doubt, winter driving conditions are among the most challenging and dangerous that you will face. Freezing temperatures, snow, slush, sleet, and ice all make for a treacherous commute that puts even the most seasoned driver’s skill to the test. All too many motorists find themselves in need of legal representation, like these Redlands car accident lawyers, after a run-in with winter’s worst. 

One way to help ensure your safety each winter is to swap out your summer or all-season tires for a set of winter ones, but do you need to replace all four? If you’re deciding on replacing 2 or 4 winter tires, here’s what you need to know to get the best traction and grip for safe winter travels.

The Importance of Winter Tires

Most people would probably tell you that you need a good set of winter tires because they have more tread for better traction, even giving them the name snow tires. However, perhaps arguably more important to safe winter driving is that winter tires are made of softer rubber compounds that remain flexible and better grip the road. 

All-season tires harden in temperatures below 40F, making driving dangerous even if roads are clear. It’s a little-known fact that sends plenty of motorists to the office of this Folsom personal injury attorney, whether the diver knows it was the cause or not. 

Winter tires also give you an advantage because they have specific superior tread patterns that are designed for increased traction and grip on slush, snow, and ice. When the temperature drops, all-season tires perform about half as good as winter tires in the same conditions, regardless of whether you’re driving on pavement, snow, or ice. 

Can I Get Away With Just Two Winter Tires?

It’s a common misconception that you can get away with just two winter tires. Some drivers think they can safely get away with only putting winter tires either on the front or the back wheels, depending on whether or not their car is front or rear-wheel drive. However, this is not only extremely dangerous but can end up costing you more money in the long run.

Another idea is to place the winter tires on the driver’s side and, in theory, that should help you move along, but the problem is that your steering and stopping ability will be greatly compromised by the imbalance in handling. Not replacing all four tires greatly increases your chance of oversteering, sliding, and fish-tailing. The safest move is to always use all four winter tires.

Should I Use Winter Tires All Year Round?

All-season tires weren’t designed to be used in winter, just like winter tires weren’t designed for all year-round use. Because winter tires are made from softer pliable rubber made for driving in colder conditions, they are too soft to provide adequate driving performance when the temperatures rise. They’ll wear out faster and end up costing you more money to replace in the long run.

When Should I Swap Out My All-Season Tires for Winter Tires?

It’s always a good idea to swap out your all-season tires for a full set of winter tires before the cold weather hits. Many places can run out of winter tires, especially once the snow starts falling. You can beat the rush and make sure you get the perfect set for your vehicle by being proactive and changing your tires when the temperatures drop during the autumn months.

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winter tires on car

Replacing 2 or 4 winter tires?