Metro Motor

How Winter Tires Bring Modern Technology to Driving

What type of technology do you use? Do you prefer an 8-track tape or an iPod? When it comes to winter tires, many Washington DC auto owners are still back in the day when 8-track was the best way to listen to the Bee Gees.

“Snow Tires”

Twenty years ago, winter tires differed from highway tires only in their tread design. Back then they were called snow tires and they had big, knobby lugs that were designed to give good traction in deep snow. They had the same rubber compound as regular tires and they weren’t very good on ice, packed snow or wet roads. They were not even very good on dry roads. They really helped in deep or loose snow, but they did a poor job the rest of the time. They were loud and rode hard. Washington DC drivers couldn’t wait to get them off in the spring.

All-Season Tires

Then all-season tires started to appear in Washington DC tire shops. All-season tires are really a compromise between summer and winter performance. They have acceptable hot weather ride and tread life, and can get Washington DC auto owners through mild winter road conditions OK. But there are some really good reasons to consider winter tires.

Modern “Winter Tires”

Modern winter tires do a terrific job in a wide range of winter conditions. First of all, below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, regular tires become hard and inflexible. That means they don’t provide the road grip needed. In addition, they are specifically designed to more effectively move snow and water. That’s the key to traction on ice, packed snow and wet roads. They use a micro-pore compound that allows the tire to bite into ice and snow. They also use wider grooves that run around the circumference of the tread to expel snow from the tire better. The lugs and grooves on winter tires have a special shape that throws the packed snow out of the tread as the tire turns. The tread is then open when it comes back in contact with the road and can provide good traction.

Winter tires offer 25% to 50% more traction than all-season tires. And when it comes to stopping power, all-season tires take 42% longer to stop than winter tires. Sometimes that’s the difference between getting home safely and spending the night in a snow bank.

Who Needs Winter Tires?

Tire manufactures instruct their dealers to install winter tires on the rear wheels whenever they put winter tires on the front end of any vehicle. It’s a major safety concern.

Drivers are strongly recommended to install winter tires on all four wheels on rear wheel drive vehicles. The front tires do most of the steering and braking work – it only makes sense that you provide the front end with the best traction you can.Four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicles need winter tires on front and back wheels to maintain equal traction and control.

Many modern cars have traction control and anti-lock brakes so drivers may think that they don’t need winter tires. But you need traction to accelerate, steer and stop. The tires provide the traction so that the traction control and anti-lock brakes have something to work with.

So when the Washington DC temperatures drop below 45 degrees, you may be wondering, “is there a tire shop near me?” That’s when you can look to your Metro Motor tire professional to help you find the right winter tire for your vehicle and driving needs.

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