South Trail Kia
Posted on November 18, 2021
Modern vehicles feature all kinds of advanced safety technologies, such as computer-controlled emergency braking, radar-guided adaptive cruise control, and camera-driven lane keeping assist. But one of the most fundamental aspects of driving safety is using the right tires in the right condition. Without correctly functioning tires, even the most advanced active systems won't keep you safely on the road.
This is even more true in the colder months when ice and snow can reduce grip and make driving much more difficult. Switching to tires that can handle the conditions is vital before the temperature dips dangerously low, but should you use all-season tires or specialist winter tires? Here's what you need to know.
As the name suggests, all-season tires are designed to provide a safe level of grip in most typical conditions, and also to offer a smooth ride for most of the year. They can handle wet or dry surfaces in the kinds of temperatures seen most of the year round, but will sacrifice some of their performance once the temperature gets particularly high or low.
If you live in a moderate climate where you don't need ultimate handling in summer, and you'll be mostly driving on gritted and plowed streets in winter, all-season tires will likely be good enough all year round.
However, if you live in a location where the winters are usually freezing for weeks or months on end, and you often need to be driving across packed ice or through freshly fallen snow, then winter tires become an essential. Here's how they differ from regular or all-season tires.
The Rubber:- With regular summer or all-season tires, the rubber quickly stiffens as the temperature drops, providing less grip and traction. Winter tires are made using a rubber compound that starts off a little stiffer, but stays more or less the same even in extreme low temperatures.
Different Treads:- Winter tires have wider and deeper treads to reduce the snow building up within them and impairing traction. The treads are also pointed in different directions and angles to shift snow and slush more efficiently out from under the wheels.
Spikier Texture:- Lastly, winter tires are also covered with thousands of microscopic spikes and slits to create countless extra edges that bite into the snow. This gives the tires much better traction, especially on harder packed ice.
However, the downside is that winter tires cease to work efficiently at anything above around 7°C, so you'll need to swap them out come the spring thaw. This means keeping two sets of tires, one for summer and one for winter, but that's a small price to pay for safety in the colder months.
Ready to switch to the tires that give you the best safety and performance in all conditions? Visit the tires shop and service centre at South Trail Kia and our expert technicians will help you choose the right winter tires or all-season tires for your Kia SUV, sedan, hatchback, or passenger van.